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MP launches attack after Rugby League World Cup games moved from Whitehaven

An MP has launched a furious attack on local government regeneration chiefs after west Cumbria lost the chance to host the 2013 Rugby League World Cup due to plans for a new £5.5 million stadium stalling.

Pow Beck stadium graphic
How the proposed stadium might look

Related: World Cup games pulled from Whitehaven

Copeland has withdrawn as a host venue for the tournament after talks over access to a proposed new stadium in Whitehaven collapsed.

Copeland MP Jamie Reed has called the situation a “humiliating shambles” and has warned Copeland and Cumbria County Council they are in danger of squandering a historic opportunity for an economic renaissance in west Cumbria on the back of the £2bn Britain’s Energy Coast plan.

“Britain’s Energy Coast is the best hope we’ve got of delivering on our ambitions for west Cumbria,” he said. “Those in local government, whether in the borough or county council, need to be honest about what they can achieve. There’s no place for amateurism in the development of west Cumbria. Those not up to it should get out of the way and leave it to those who know how to do it.

“I think the stadium will happen, but we are going to miss the World Cup which would have brought real recognition and investment to the area. The chance has been squandered and people will want to know why.

“It’s about credibility. I believe that all partners involved have to look at themselves and admit why this went wrong and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

“This is the last chance saloon and more embarrassments like this will not be tolerated.”

The group behind proposals for the Pow Beck scheme pulled the plug on the project in its current form after talks over access to the proposed site broke down.

The scheme’s backers – Copeland Borough Council, Whitehaven Rugby League Club and Whitehaven Amateur Football Club – insist the idea is not dead and the stadium could still be built.

But they say it is not “feasible or affordable” to continue with negotiations with the Whitehaven Miners’ Welfare Association about an access route to the stadium across land the miners own. The miners say they are not to blame and have called for an inquiry.

In a joint statement, the Pow Beck stadium partners, said: “Following a meeting on Tuesday night we have agreed unanimously that it is no longer affordable nor feasible to continue negotiations with the Whitehaven Miners’ Welfare Organisation and will instead look to develop the stadium in a new direction.

“The partners will continue to work together to move the stadium forward but will no longer be exploring the option of access over the Whitehaven Miners’ land. Positive discussions about other options for the development have already taken place and the partners are pleased to now be moving forward.

“Partners recognise their new approach will lead to a delay in the project being completed but believe it will ultimately help secure the sustainability of the project. As a result the opportunity to bring the 2013 Rugby League World Cup to Whitehaven is lost and the RFL has been advised of this.

“The partners are pleased that Britain’s Coast continues to support the stadium and look forward to working more closely with them, our nuclear partners and the RFL to make the stadium a reality.”

Have your say

Elise what are you talking about rugby non existant ? we have some of the best rugby league amature clubs going last season had the 9s comp with them doing very well its the council that has let this world cup bid pass us by just like asda.but a better club is needed if Haven need to progress, and its things like a whitehaven bypass that will not help any growth in the town but pass us by. i dont know why the council were trusted to plan a stadium when theyv made a complete pigs ear of the town

Posted by dave the rave on 14 May 2012 at 22:16

Rugby like most things in Whitehaven is non existant; other cities and towns have an ability to look beyond the present and not the past. A all round facility such as the one in Hexham would have made all the difference; something for all. Once again Cumbria really is on the back foot; and when the lights are turned off remember to close the door as well.

Posted by Elise on 4 May 2012 at 07:31

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