CASH set aside for Workington’s cancelled Rugby League World Cup games will be spent on boosting the borough’s economy, it has been decided.

The new Independent-Conservative administration voted down the ambitious stadium plans put forward by the previous Labour-led executive, ending Cumbria’s world cup dreams.

The council’a present executive has agreed to put £35,000 of the hosting fee awarded through Sellafield’s Social Investment Impact Investment Fund towards the creation of a “Growth Planning Budget”, with the remaining £5,000 going into sports development.

The executive has also agreed to spend the remaining unallocated £70,000 from the SIFF funding on the same budget, with the intention of reviving the region’s fortunes.

And it will also use a further £55,000 from Sellafield to swell the council’s new economy-boosting war chest, subject to confirmation of future funding from the nuclear giant.

Under the plans, the cash would help the authority to develop projects and bids to capitalise on funding opportunities as they arise.

The council has now passed the initial stages for the Future High Streets Fund in Maryport and for the Stronger Towns Fund for Workington, with further opportunities for regeneration up for grabs through the Borderlands Growth Deal.

Councillor Mike Johnson, the portfolio-holder for corporate resources (Finance and Property), said: “This paper proposes that we utilise the funding kindly provided by Sellafield Ltd to create a Growth Plan and budget and supplement the work we have already undertaken in sports development to benefit the whole borough.

“The council’s business growth strategy was adopted in 2016 and, since that time, there have been a number of changes to the strategic economic development landscape with initiatives such as the Future High Streets Fund and the Stronger Towns Fund.

“Using SIIF funding to create a growth planning budget to support plans and studies will not only underpin key objectives within our new council plan, but ensure we are well-placed as future funding programmes emerge.

“This proposal will use funding that was previously allocated to support the Rugby League World Cup and unallocated resources to establish a budget that will enable officers to develop our strategic direction for growth in the borough while supporting activity already underway in Maryport and