Step-by-step guide to the project
Carlisle United Football Club are inclined to ‘push on’ with Project Blue Yonder – the new stadium project – and would like to gain support going forward from the fans.
Below is the path, in timeline format, taken so far.
Picking up on the theme from the Economic Strategy of Carlisle – Growing Carlisle – 2008 which was adopted by CCC, there were three main themes – people, place and connections.
The strategy was to be bold, ambitious and confident, based on growing Carlisle and the opportunities arising from significant population growth over 25 years.
CCC – Carlisle City Council
PNE – Preston North End
FWP – Frank Whittle Partnership
BP – Brunton Park
KMP – Kingmoor Park
October 2008 - Examined PNE ground, growth and plans.
June / September 2010 - Instructed FWP to commence investigation into existing stadium facility studies, meeting development partners, local council and to prepare reports for CUFC Board.
December 2010 - FWP contacted CCC – met Jason Gooding and Darren Crossley. Encouraged to get ideas in early as CCC doing a review of assets for next five to ten years.
January 2011 - Phase 1 Feasibility Report.
February 2011 - Phase 2 Feasibility Report (met CCC Jane Meek and Chris Pearson).
15 February 2011 - Up to £20.8 million needed to redevelop Brunton Park.
5 April 2011 - Phase 3 Feasibility Study (two further meetings with CCC – 8 March and 24 March). Fully explored enabling development and sale of existing asset (BP). 17 sites provided by CCC.
April 2011 - CUFC remained in contact with Council.
26 April 2011 - FWP meeting with CCC – positive.
27 June 2011 - Partners meeting including CCC.
4 July 2011 - KMP prepare status of retailing and town centre issues (including York and Gretna Gateway) and concept and outline drawing of plans.
3 August 2011 - Programme and planning meeting (including CCC)
4 August 2011 – John Nixon (JLN) email indicated ** getting ‘cold feet’ at CCC.
CUFC vision and need was required.
25 August 2011 - Partner review meeting (including CCC). Retail Consultants to advise on impacts.
September 2011 - Jason Gooding interviewed with reference to seeking partners and feasibility with KMP and retailers. Tesco was an issue as CCC did not want any contact with them.
September 2011 - CUFC visit new Chesterfield Stadium.
11 October 2011 - Frustration at CCC short term, pessimistic attitude to proposals.
Indicated to council leader we needed to be transparent with shareholders at CUFC AGM in November 2011 and gauge level of fan support.
25 October 2011 - Meeting GVA (Manchester Consultants) – Jane Meek.
+ Tesco was a key issue.
+ Discomfort JM and GVA.
17 November 2011 - Meeting at CCC.
6 December 2011 - Meeting at CCC. Retail assessment study available March 2012.
13 December 2011 - ‘Stonewall’ and no clear indications now from CCC (MM/JLN).
16 December 2011 - JM (CCC) unwilling to endorse stadium location (despite previous remarks).
December 2011 - Concerns from our consultants, FWP.
Regular meetings to be scheduled between KMP and Darren Crossley in 2012.
5 January 2012 - Morton sale by CCC is putting project ‘on hold.’
20 January 2012 - John Stevenson comments in Parliament with reference to development and City Centre.
25 January 2012 - DC and KMP meeting (indications that the current regime will not make decisions until after May elections).
March 2012 - Meeting CUFC and Joe Hendry. JH gave support.
May 2012 - Meeting CUFC and Stewart Young from Cumbria County Council.
August 2012 - Local MP meeting with reference to progress (or lack of it) in project.
7 September 2012 – Meeting with officers from CCC with reference to alluded report from GVA and limit of 200,000sq ft of retail (non-food) in next 10 years.
11 October 2012 – CUFC publish contact information to keep fans up to date with the project.
CUFC have had contact with the city council, via officials and politicians, since 2010.
CUFC never looked for guarantees but we were encouraged to share our plans and ambitions with the council all the way through the process.
In December 2010 it was acknowledged that Carlisle City Council were doing a review of assets and that it was appropriate to have plans available, which could have an effect on the designation of plots of land into employment areas, etc, over the next 5 to 10 years.
It was the council, during discussion with our consultants FWP (Frank Whittle Partnership), who asked them to review 17 potential ground relocation sites around the city.
The officers provided the locations indicating that relocation could bring benefits and could bring the potential to ‘kick start’ local regeneration. This phase of the project was completed by 9 February 2011 and the initial evaluation studies discussed with the council on 1 February 2011.
In view of the fact that the club and its consultants and developers have worked closely with the council over the last two and a half years, we think it correct to write to the council leader (who offered support prior to the election) and the chief executive to seek clarity on the way forward.