AGECROFT STADIUM PROJECT: OCTOBER 2018 UPDATE
18 October 2018
The club’s board wishes to provide an update on the progress of the Agecroft Stadium Project, following a meeting with Moorside Rangers, Salford City Council and Manchester Mayor Andy Burham.
On Monday 14th October, club Chairman Andy Mazey and Operations Director Steve Wild, alongside Darren Kay and John Baines from community partners Moorside Rangers AFC, met with the Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, as well as Salford City Council Chief Executive, Jim Taylor.
The subject under discussion was the two clubs’ joint stadium project for the Agecroft site.
The Lions’ contingent outlined the recent progress of the club and the need to unlock its potential – both from professional rugby league club and community contribution perspectives – by achieving a home venue within the M27 post code boundaries. A sixteen-page supporting document, titled “Swinton Lions RLFC – Our vision, management, sustainability, community and future”, had been previously supplied to the Manchester Mayor and Salford Council CEO.
A phased approach to the Agecroft development is considered to have the most realistic chance of success, and this process was discussed in detail with Andy Burnham and Jim Taylor.
- Phase One – Upgrade the existing changing and basic facilities to meet Moorside Rangers’ immediate requirements.
- Phase Two – Lay 4G synthetic pitch, erect floodlights, fully enclose the site, erect new changing block with bar, corporate area, seating etc (on pitch side 1). At this point the site becomes a viable training venue for the Lions, and home venue for the Academy team.
- Phase Three – Introduce standing & seating areas (to pitch sides 2, 3 & 4) to bring the ground up to RFL Championship minimum standards (750 seats and a 3,000 capacity). Moorside Rangers incidentally hold ambitions to play in the North West Counties League, a semi-pro division within the professional football pyramid.
Moorside Rangers have been leading on the submission of funding applications to the Football Foundation to meet phases one and two, but have experienced recent technical difficulties.
Andy Burnham revealed that he had excellent knowledge of the mechanisms of the Football Foundation because he had been instrumental in setting up the organisation.
The Mayor confirmed he would assist wherever possible, and stated that a multiple sports approach (including football and rugby league) was beneficial to the application’s success. Mr Burnham was very enthusiastic about the community objectives of the project, and indicated that there existed sufficient potential to meet the Football Foundation’s funding requirements.
Once phase two is completed, the Lions will utilise established business contacts to bring about the completion of phase 3. Already we have had encouraging dialogue with different project partners in terms of the design and build elements.
A joined-up strategy of support from Salford City Council is also crucial to the success of the project, and Jim Taylor gave an assurance that he would engage with internal departments, such as Urban Vision and Salford Community Leisure, so that each was aware of the merits of the project. Full Planning Permission is of course further down the line, but the intricacies of what might constitute a successful planning application are also under review.
The assurance of logistical assistance from both the Mayor of Manchester and Salford City Council, together with the formulation of a feasible approach to the delivery of a suitable playing venue, is we believe, a huge step forward to the fulfilment of our ambition to see the Lions returning home to Swinton.