'Politics' put brakes on Sale Sharks' new stadium plans
NEWS: A proposed move by Sale Sharks back to their hometown in the Greater Manchester area has been shelved.
According to Rugbypass, the new developments comes after a public outcry by more than 2 500 people who responded to the first phase of the consultation about a new Premiership stadium plan for Crossford Bridge playing fields.
The move to Crossford Bridge would have seen Premiership title-chasing Sale return to its home town after nearly two decades away at Edgeley Park in Stockport and the AJ Bell in Salford since leaving their long-time home at Heywood Road in 2003.
Sale insists they still want to move to Crossford Bridge but proposals for a development that included upwards of £100million investment will no longer be supported by the local council after residents complained about a variety of issues such extra traffic and loss of green space.
Proposals for Crossford Bridge Community Sports Village included a floodlit 4G pitch, a running track and numerous other facilities but the Manchester Evening News have reported that athletics club Sale Harriers, Sale United Football Club and Old Altrinchamians football club all claimed they were concerned for their futures alongside a new stadium.
Speaking to the MEN, council leader Andrew Western said: “Trafford council, along with Crossford Futures and Sale Sharks, approached the pre-planning application consultation for Crossford Bridge Community Sports Village with the shared aim to listen closely to the views of our local community and ensure every voice was heard.
“Following the initial phase of consultation, we have taken the decision not to support the proposal. We would, however, like to acknowledge the professionalism and transparency of Crossford Futures and Sale Sharks throughout this process, especially their willingness to listen and work collaboratively with the whole community. We share with Sale Sharks a desire to see them back in Sale in the future if a suitable site can be found.”
Sale owner Simon Orange added: “Our fanbase in Sale and beyond have been extraordinary in the support they have shown throughout this initial consultation. Our shared vision was to create a multi-sports community hub to inspire future generations and positively impact Sale through additional health, education and social inclusion programmes.
“We would like to thank every fan, resident, sponsor and business who has invested significant time in helping to shape these plans. This consultation has given us even more confidence in our future ambitions. We have made no secret that our long-held ambition is to return our elite men’s and women’s teams to our home town of Sale and to further strengthen our community ties.
“Although disappointed by this political decision in the short term, we look forward to delivering a solution in the future that puts our great fanbase and city region at the heart of it.”