RFL submits plans for new stadium complex in Manchester

Architecture firm Holmes Miller has submitted a planning application on behalf of the Rugby Football League (RFL) for a new education and training facility in the Beswick area of Manchester.

The plans, which include a small pitch-facing stand attached to the main two-storey building, and an adjacent grass pitch, have been submitted to Manchester City Council.

The main building will serve as an education and training base for rugby league’s elite athletes, community players, coaches and match officials, as well as young people and adults from across the local area. The complex would be built on land off Grey Mare Lane.

The project forms part of the RFL’s ‘Our League Life’ concept, a proposed series of learning and development hubs across the north of England and, in time, potentially nationwide.

The RFL is working in partnership with Holmes Miller on the Beswick project, which is the first and main Our League Life facility. The project is designed to support Manchester City Council on implementing its Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy, which focuses on creating accessible outdoor space.

Tony Sutton, RFL project lead, said: “For 125 years rugby league has brought a huge range of social and economic benefits to communities in the north of England and beyond. It is a sport with a massive social impact – and now we want to make an impact in east Manchester.

“Our League Life is an exciting concept which we hope will become a local focal point for adult education, training and skills, and a catalyst for driving up social mobility through sport. As well as offering a new facility for people in east Manchester, this will be a key educational facility for all the England rugby league squads such as our men’s, wheelchair and women’s teams.

“Our plans were warmly received by the vast majority of residents who attended our recent consultation event at Beswick Library, and feedback has been positive from other stakeholders in the city such as those people involved in education and skills provision.”

Ryan Holmes, director at Holmes Miller, added: “The plans submitted detail a sports facility achieving something distinctly different than the status quo. By having elite athletes walking the halls and using the shared facilities alongside the aspiring local young people, the new centre will provide a lot more than simply being a place to train.

“Community and supporting development is core to the design focus of this building. Building on Manchester City Council’s Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy, we want visitors to interact with each other and the space in a way that promotes cohesion and a collective focus on the positive benefits of outdoor space and sports as championed by the Rugby Football League.”

Our League Life hubs will offer education courses, return-to-work and employability courses, professional development education and a wide range of rugby league and sport-related education and development programmes.

Images: Holmes Miller