Grosvenor has confirmed that plans to deliver much needed sporting facilities in Cambridge will allow Cambridge United Football Club to stay at the R Costings Abbey Stadium. The announcement comes after years of consultation and speculation around the future of Cambridge United and whether they would stay at their spiritual home or relocate elsewhere in the city.
The proposed plans will see the creation of a Sporting Trust that will deliver a new community stadium in Newmarket Road, Abbey and the Cambridge Sporting Village in Trumpington. The proposals will revolutionise the quality and quantity of sports and community facilities in Cambridge, to the benefit of the communities and wider areas, and will be tailored to match a clearly identified sporting need.
Last year, a team of researchers from leading sports consultants Grant Thornton and Knight, Kavanagh & Page consulted Cambridge’s 70 leading sporting clubs, local authorities, and education bodies on the need for sports facilities in the city. The report, which has been submitted to the local authorities, is the most detailed audit of the city and region’s need for additional sporting facilities ever produced and will pave the way for plans to come forward later in 2015.
Ed Skeates, Grosvenor Director of Development, said:
“The proposals we are confirming today can provide Cambridge with a variety of widely accessible, inspirational sports facilities and secure the future of Cambridge United Football Club as the city’s leading professional sports club – a cornerstone of our ambitions for this project.
“Our single, unified vision for a first class community-based sporting complex will serve Cambridge and the wider region and enhance Cambridge’s reputation as a world class and thriving cosmopolitan city.
“The Cambridge Sporting Village will be a vibrant new hub for sports, training, education, health, recreation, open green space and new homes in a truly sustainable location.
“The Cambridge Community Stadium will revitalise the Abbey Stadium with a new focus on community uses and new governance structure.”
The precise details of the particular facilities to be developed at each location are yet to be confirmed, but improvements to the Community Stadium are likely to include works to increase the capacity (currently 8,000) and create corporate hospitality facilities, which will help Cambridge United Football Club generate additional income, securing its financial future.
Plans for the Trust are also being discussed and could see Cambridge United’s hugely successful Community Trust take a lead role at both sites, providing sporting opportunities for all sections of the community and increased engagement with the Abbey Ward, one of the least developed wards in the city. These latest plans will drive the regeneration of the area providing new community facilities open to residents of the Ward.
Cambridge United Football Club has received financial support from Grosvenor over the last four years in the form of a rent reduction, which has helped the club survive and stabilise. This arrangement comes to an end in 2015, but changes will be made to the lease arrangements, allowing for the existing stadium to become a Community Stadium, maximising its potential for its wider and fuller use by the surrounding community and meet local needs, whilst maintaining its position as a home for Cambridge United Football Club.
Jez George, Cambridge United Chief Executive, said:
"Cambridge United FC is a progressive club, but our stadium is antiquated and unfit for purpose if we are to continue the progression of the last eighteen months.
“We need to be able to grow our non match-day income and generate additional revenue on match days so we can grow a sustainable business. Otherwise, the club cannot grow beyond our current level. We also need facilities fit for the 21st century to give supporters, now including an increasing number of families and youngsters, a good experience when they visit the football club.
“Further, for the long time viability of the club needs a thriving Academy and Community Trust. Both do an incredible amount of good work without any secure financial foundations.
“We feel that Cambridge United FC has shown in the last 12 months that it is an asset to the city and with improved facilities, we could play an even greater role. This period has seen two successful trips to Wembley, promotion back to the Football League, a cup run including the visit of Manchester United, Mission 676 – which raised over £100,000 for our Community Trust - and the continued success of our youth development scheme, which coaches over 1000 youngsters each week and works in 50 local schools. We want to do so much more and this would give us an opportunity to do so."
For more information contact:
Naomi Curtis/Sorrel Basher, Press Office
020 7312 6479/6101
Notes to Editors
Grosvenor will be working in partnership with Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) - the owner of Cambridge’s Grand Arcade and Grosvenor’s partners at award-winning Trumpington Meadows - to develop proposals. Grosvenor’s local partners Wrenbridge continues to work on the project and will assist with its delivery.
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland aims to create value through our skills in placemaking anddesign, repositioning locations in ways that change customer perceptions and deliver results for our stakeholders. The core portfolio comprises 300 acres of Mayfair and Belgravia in London, which first came into the Grosvenor family in 1677. Ownership and active management of its London estate remains at the heart of Grosvenor Britain & Ireland’s strategy. Investment assets comprise the largest part of its portfolio. Grosvenor Britain & Ireland also undertakes development across London, and in selected city centres around the UK. As at 31 December 2012, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland had assets under management of £4.8bn.