Manchester’s new rugby league hub given green light

The learning and training facility is the first of its type in the North of England.

A new rugby league hub with a 900-seat stand is set to be built in Beswick.

The learning and training facility off Grey Mare Lane is the first of its kind which the Rugby Football League (RFL) is creating in the North of England.

The OuRLeague Life hubs will offer education and employability courses as well as professional development education programmes within the sport.

The rugby pitch which is already located at the site opposite East Manchester Leisure Centre will be used as a training facility with a new 900-seat spectator stand to be built alongside changing rooms, six floodlights and classrooms.

The learning and training facility at Beswick Credit: RFL

The former Beswick Local Shops will also be demolished as part of the plans.

The east Manchester hub which now has planning permission will be used by elite and community players alike, as well as young people who live in the area.

It comes ahead of the national governing body for rugby league in England moving its headquarters from Salford Quays to the Etihad Campus in July.

An RFL spokesman said: “Rugby League is a sport with a massive social impact and we want to make an impact in east Manchester, so we are pleased to be able to move on to the next stage of this development.

“OuRLeague Life aims to be a catalyst for aspiration and opportunity – education, training, skills and employment – complementing Manchester’s work and skills strategy for adults and young people.

“And as well as offering a new facility for the local community, this will be a key facility for all the England Rugby League squads such as our Men’s, Wheelchair and Women’s teams.”

The new rugby league facility in East Manchester. Credit: RFL.

The RFL is working in partnership with architectural practice Holmes Miller on the Beswick project, which will be the first and main OuRLeague Life facility.

It also aims to support Manchester city council’s ‘Green and Blue’ infrastructure strategy by creating a well-designed and accessible outdoor space in the area.

The council’s executive body agreed to lease the land to the RFL for 125 years.

The local authority invested £250,000 to build a rugby pitch next to the East Manchester Academy as part of its 2012 Eastlands Regeneration Framework.

In early 2018, through a collaboration between the council and City Football Group (CFG), the RFL agreed to move its headquarters to the Etihad Campus.

The existing pitch will remain, but a pavilion building where the former Beswick shop units are now is planned with a capacity of around 900.

According to a council report, the OuRLeague Life hub is worth around £7m of inward investment for the area that will create jobs, support regeneration as well as supporting educational outcomes for the community and the school.