New ground plans

By Paddock Pundit
Last updated : 26 February 2018

Carlisle Utd in fresh talks with two landowners about possible new stadium

Brunton Park: United's current home

Carlisle United say they are in fresh talks with two different landowners about the possibility of a new stadium.

The Blues have stressed it is "very early days", but are set to meet the two unnamed parties about sites in the Carlisle area.

One, said chief executive Nigel Clibbens, relates to one of the host of sites identified in the original feasibility study as part of Project Blue Yonder, which was announced in 2011.

The other is a new approach.

Clibbens said: "We've had an approach from a landowner who saw that we've been talking about this [the stadium issue] and was interested to have a talk with us.

"It is on the agenda to catch up with them.

"We've [also] been revisiting what we looked at in the project before it was aborted, where the options were. We’ve dusted those files down.

"There is progress being made but it's a long-term thing and it's very early days."

United have been exploring the possibility of leaving Brunton Park since the early part of this decade.

An initial proposal to move to a new stadium at Kingmoor Park failed to get off the ground.

More recently, an idea for a ground on the city's Viaduct Estate was also unsuccessful.

On the current talks, Clibbens added: "We've had an approach from one [landowner] - to say 'we've got an area you might be interested in, can we have a talk about what your requirements might be?' - and we've approached another.

"It's how they fit in with other developments and the longer-term view of sport in this city."

Asked if he could identify either, Clibbens replied: "No, they're very tentative. The principle is, as soon as there's something concrete, we'll talk about it.

"In the past the club might, with best intentions, have sought to give information a bit too early, and that’s set the hares racing and raised expectations. 

"We've got to learn from that. Until we've got something concrete, we're not going to start waving flags."

Clibbens said United had also held talks with the Environment Agency about the long-term risks to their current stadium, which has twice suffered devastating flooding since 2005.

The director said he hoped the club could also make the most of government plans to invest in the community side of regional sport.

"In recent weeks the FA, and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, have announced a big project about community sport across the whole regions for the next 10 years," he said.

"Some huge investment is going to be put into community sport, and we feel that offers a great opportunity for Carlisle United to be part of that.

"At an EFL meeting last week there was a presentation by a consultant involved in looking at sites and appraisals, and they're keen to get professional football clubs along.

"You are looking at late 2019 to 2020 before they get up north to where we are, but it's coming.

"We feel we've got a lot to offer. There are big wins to be made in community sport with everybody partnering up to deliver first-class facilities for this city."

Clibbens cited Barnet as an example of a community club who recently gained new facilities which are still growing. "They are a different organisation in terms of size, location and social challenges, but the theory still holds."

Clibbens said fans would be consulted if any concrete plan emerges.

He also said the city council were supportive of the club's broad intentions.

"We met the council very early in January to discuss things. As you'd expect they're very supportive," Clibbens added.

"They want to see the club successful. They see how other cities with other teams bring benefits to the community, so they share that view.

"They've got challenges of their own, too. In essence, as well as a community club, we're a private business.

"It's good that they're on board. They understand the issues we've got with the flood, risks and benefits the club can bring to the city. I'm sure at the time we need their support it will be there."

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