A MAJOR step forward has been taken in the development of a sporting stadium in Workington, with the group behind the plans saying they are excited to see the project 'gathering pace'.

The project to build a new Cumberland Sports Village has taken a significant step forward with the release of funds to allow the creation of a full planning application for the scheme.

Cumberland Council has agreed the release of grant funding worth £235,000 as part of the Workington Town Deal. This will be used to draw up the detailed plans, instruct the architects and bring in the expertise of other planning professionals to prepare the planning documents. It is expected that the application will be made to Cumberland Council by the autumn of this year.

Cumberland Sports Village Limited, a company limited by guarantee, will be responsible for the development of the site, and will also be able to call upon additional funding from Allerdale Investment Partnership to fund its initial operating costs.

The build costs for the initial phase of the Cumberland Sports Village are being funded by the Government’s Town Deal fund and by Cumberland Council.

Dave Bowden, spokesman for Cumberland Sports Village, said: “The next stage of work to build the new Cumberland Sports Village can now begin in earnest. The grant of this funding means we can put everything in place to draw up the detailed plans and show sports fans across the county and beyond how this fabulous new stadium is going to look.

“This is more than just a sports ground, it’s an entire community facility, and it’s exciting to see it gathering pace.”

Leader of Cumberland Council, Cllr Mark Fryer, added: “I am very pleased the Council is now able to release this initial tranche of funding.

“I have been fighting for West Cumbria to have a top-class stadium for many years and it is fantastic that the architects are now able to create the detailed designs for a venue which will cement our status as major players on the sporting map.”