Salford Council’s bid to become sole owners of Salford Red Devils’ stadium to be heard next week

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Under the proposals the current A J Bell Stadium – home to Salford Red Devils RLFC – would become the City of Salford Community Stadium (CoSCos)

The bid by Salford city council to become the sole owner of the home stadium of its rugby league team goes in front of the authority’s cabinet next week.

Under the proposals the current A J Bell Stadium – home to Salford Red Devils RLFC – would become the City of Salford Community Stadium (CoSCos). Ownership is currently shared equally between the city council and Peel Land and Property Ltd and includes the adjoining land at Barton.

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According to documents on the authority’s website, outstanding debt on the stadium currently stands at £37million. This is comprised of city council and Peel debt. A report to the cabinet which meets on Tuesday (March 14) from the city mayor Paul Dennett says: “Whilst the operational costs are broadly covered by income, operation activity has not generated the capacity to repay the outstanding debt.”

It says that if all the development land is sold it is ‘not currently clear’ if all the debt that both Peel and the city council have accrued would be repaid.

“The council is currently holding a contingency sum of £11m against the project,” the report continues. “This is a ringfenced account into which debt repayments are credited and accrued. This reserve is held to manage the risk of receipts from the sale of development land being insufficient to cover all CoSCoS.”

The stadium is where Salford Red Devils RLFC and Sale Sharks RUFC play their home matches.

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“Reflecting the ongoing CoSCoS inability to repay existing debt, Peel has been keen to pursue the sale of the stadium for some time,” the report says.

And it lays out ‘a statement of strategic intent’ as follows:

To deliver demonstrable and ongoing social value, via CoSCoS, its tenants and associated activities and any associated land transactions

To secure the ongoing community use of the CoSCoS

To secure ‘best value’ in the use of public money in any associated transactions involving the city council, including consideration for any ongoing financial or other support for Salford City Reds RLFC and any potential subsidy control implications of this

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To secure the council’s long-term interests in any future redevelopment and regeneration of the CoSCoS and adjacent development land

To support Salford Red Devils RUFC and retain them playing in the city of Salford

To recognise and celebrate the history and cultural contribution to the city made by the rugby league club

To support and encourage the longevity of the rugby league club

To support the rugby league club to get into a long-term financially sustainable position within a ‘time-limited’ period.

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