£2m Pow Beck sports scheme back on cards
Last updated at 11:45, Thursday, 18 October 2012
A NEW Pow Beck scheme to develop rugby, soccer and other sports facilities at Whitehaven could still go ahead – despite the £2.6million cutbacks which threaten leisure facilities in Copeland.
But although £4.5 million of nuclear money (through Britain’s Energy Coast) is still earmarked for a community sports stadium a new alternative scheme is likely to cost around £2 million.
The stadium project – independent of council services – has remained a Britain’s Energy Coast regeneration priority. And while no council investment was to be made, some £1.2million of taxpayers money has been wasted in preliminary planning work.
Copeland Council virtually washed its hands of the project following the collapse of the Whitehaven Miners’ land access deal leaving Whitehaven rugby league and Whitehaven football clubs as the lead stadium partners.
The Nuclear Management Partners’ funding of £4.4 million is ‘ring fenced’ for the stadium subject to Britain’s Energy Coast approval.
But BEC revealed yesterday that it was waiting to receive an alternative project for enhancing the Pow Beck rugby league and football facilities.
No details are available yet but The Whitehaven News believes it will be on a much reduced scale and costing about £3 million less than the £5.5 million estimated for a brand new community sports stadium before the collapse of the Whitehaven Miners’ land deal.
Another £1 million was being sought from the Copeland Community Fund.
The land access setback cast serious doubts over any stadium development but chairman of Britain’s Energy Coast Brian Wilson said: “We remain supportive of an alternative scheme and I understand an initial project proposal from the new lead organisations Whitehaven RLFC and Whitehaven AFC will be submitted to us soon.
“Once it is received an application will be developed so that we are able to consider it through our usual process and of course in the context.
“BEC has remained consistent in our support of the Pow Beck development. While we have never been the lead agency in the project we gave Copeland Borough Council a grant of £553,000 towards development costs of the original scheme which did not progress due to access difficulties.”
As a result of the BEC grant, Copeland Council was able to make the following payments: White Young Green, engineers to the partners £493,274; Faithful and Gould, architects to the partners £5,040; Baines Wilson, legal advisers to the partners £65,074; Eversheds, legal advisers to the council £8,503; HFT Gough, legal advisers to the Miners £14,180; CB Richard Ellis, surveyors to the Miners £9,292; JBA Consulting, engineers to the Miners £5,000; Knight, Kavanagh & Page, financial forecast advisers to the partners £5,000; Dixon Webb £552; Hurd Rolland £8,750.
On top of these sums an estimated of £142,230 was paid to Bob Collins Management Ltd for his work on Pow Beck alone although over a number of years Mr Collins has been paid for work on other council projects as a consultant.
An additional £300,000 to pay for a Pow Beck feasibility study came out of a previous grant of £500,000 from British Nuclear Fuels towards the overall project. Other development costs have been incurred adding up to the loss of £1.2 million of taxpayers’ money.
First published at 11:10, Thursday, 18 October 2012
Published by http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk
Have your say
I can see Baileys point of view and others who think the sports complex (or whatever it will be called next week) would be of benefit, putting my other hat on of course. But let's just think about this. Has anyone gone out and really canvassed the opionion of the population about what they want? I don't recall ever been asked.Promoting sports and a healthy lifestyle is one thing but what percentage of the population would use it. Evidence suggests that even following the surge from the Olympics that only 0.5% of the population will take up a sport and that will only last a maximum of 4 weeks. Time has a way of making people forget.My point really is about choice. If I was given the chance to vote for the hospital rebuild or sports complex I would vote for the former. But of course we haven't. We assume the officials we voted in will do what is right for the population. And I'm the King of China and the pink elephant I spotted outside my garden this afternoon has promised to clean the drains more than once a year.....sorry that was my local councillor taking his Jag out for a run.
Boots has it right. If only 0.7 of the population attend what is a professional, money making, sport then the money could be better spent on amateur sports or encouraging the wider population to exercise. It seems to be forgotten that Copeland is not just run down Whitehaven.
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