STADIUM HAS TO `WASH ITS FACE FINANCIALLY'
The local community will be getting no free use at the new Salford City Stadium, it was disclosed last night. Following a presentation on the new stadium at the East Salford Community Committee it was asked whether free hours would be put aside for local kids to use the grass and artificial pitches, as happens at the Sports Village in Lower Kersal.
Paul Walker, Salford Council's Strategic Director of Regeneration, replied that the stadium "is being run as a business and has to wash its face financially". He added that "there's no revenue support from the Council for the stadium and there will be charges for all activities which will be priced alongside those used by Salford Community Leisure."
The Stadium is backed by £26million of public money – a £4million grant from North West Development Agency, plus a £22million loan from Salford Council, which has set the Stadium up as a joint venture company with Peel Holdings. Salford Council has also given land worth £6.7million towards the project.
Meanwhile, the joint venture company has re-named the `Salford City Stadium', dropping the word `Community' from its title – as Salford Council did with Salford Community Radio following its funding of that project…
"It's more snappy" explained Paul Walker, adding that "hopefully what the Council gets back is a stadium fit for the 21st Century and a vital piece of infrastructure for residents and tourists…It will put Salford on the map."
Pricing to hire or use the Stadium isn't being announced until next month, but the Salford City Stadium website has now gone live (www.salfordcitystadium.com) and reveals an emphasis on corporate attractions rather than community use.
While the `Community' section has a mere two paragraphs stating that the Stadium "is set to become the heart of the local community", there are seven categories for `Hospitality' offering "a truly bespoke service to all of our clients…twelve stunning hospitality boxes…a passion for fine dining and exceptional service standards throughout… All of our guests have the option to travel to our venue in pure luxury. A private helicopter charter service is available for both corporate and private clients of the stadium."
Paul Walker promised to look at potential free use of the facilities by the community but admitted "it would be difficult".
For previous Salford Star article on the Salford City Stadium, including an interview with Salford Council leader John Merry click here…