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Monday, 01 September 2014

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Barrow AFC's plans for new £9million stadium

BARROW could soon be home to a £9m new football stadium, the Evening Mail can reveal.

For the last two years, Barrow AFC director Tony Keen has kept a closely-guarded secret – his ambition to build a new stadium in Barrow.

Since being given the backing of the club’s board, Mr Keen has spent months compiling a dossier on Barrow and his plans for the development – which he said could become a reality within a year or two.

He said: “From my perspective, this is one of the biggest things that could happen to the town.

“I’m really passionate about it and the benefits it could bring to the town. It’s a massive opportunity and we will keep fighting for it.”

The stadium’s design and a feasibility study has been undertaken by FWP, the company behind similar developments at Leigh Sports Village, Fleetwood Town and Preston North End.

Barrow’s new ground would include a new stand on the Popular Side, a revamp of the main stand and a new seating area on the Holker Street end. A new function suite would also be built and office space could be rented out to private tenants.

Mr Keen said: “In terms of jobs, there would probably be the need to take on some more people from the club’s perspective, but there are also opportunities for small businesses to benefit from any office space and of course the labour needed for construction.”

The layout of the new development remains confidential at this stage, although Mr Keen said the possibilities had been narrowed down.

He said: “In terms of the land, we started with 32 different options and now we’re down to two.”

Mr Keen is also tight-lipped about the source of funding but said the club was confident of securing the financial backing from private investors.

The director said: “People will have seen for themselves; ever since this board was created we have invested in the infrastructure so we can generate more income.

“We believe the extra income generated from a facility like this would be the catalyst needed to get us into the next level of football.”

Mr Keen was quick to stress the club was not dependent on a new stadium.

He said: “The new stadium would very much run alongside the club and the club will continue as normal. Our commitment to the club will remain as strong as ever regardless of what happens with the stadium and sports village.”

A new stadium would represent one of the club’s most ambitious projects in its 111-year history. But Mr Keen admitted there were still “a lot of hoops” to jump through.

He said: “There’s a lot still to work through; we can’t say it’s 100 per cent going to happen but the determination and drive is there.

“I just keep trying to get to the next level and we keep achieving our targets.”

Have your say

It makes perfect financial sense for both the soccer and the rugby to share! Imagine a stadium being used for 12 months of the year, naming rights of the stadium,sponsors, concerts, galas, and corporate events. Along with this steady source of income and the monies generated from the sale of both grounds (especially Craven Park located in a prime retail sector) the £9m wouldn't be a problem, and any investor will see a good return.
Do you really think that us the fans will have a say over the sharing anyway? It's obviously a touchy subject for some but you've got to look at the bigger picture, and a new shared stadium for the town could be just one step to a brighter future for both AFC and RFLC.
I'll get off my soap box now

Posted by Muggins on 23 August 2014 at 14:13

As à young lad growing up i supported both afc and rfc IME 58 now and just cant afford to do it now only afc but always wish rfc well cant understand this bitter rivalry were not utd and city

Posted by alan gelling on 15 August 2013 at 19:31

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