THE company behind £60m plans for a new arena in Redcar has been given more time to submit a valid planning application to the local council.

There have been concerns about a deadline Redcar and Cleveland Council imposed on developers Coatham Arena Limited.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands the company, which consists of several local businessmen, has been told an application would not be required by January 3 next year.

But other elements required by the local authority in order to demonstrate the project would be viable - such as a business case and feasibility study - will have to be received within the council deadline, as part of an exclusivity period being granted.

It is hoped to build a 5,000 capacity entertainment, sporting, conference and exhibition facility on the former Coatham/Redcar Bowl site, off Majuba Road, backing having come from the likes of Sting and Saltburn-born rocker David Coverdale, of Whitesnake and Deep Purple.

The Northern Echo:

Director Roy Myers said: “It would simply not have been possible to prepare a detailed planning application in fourteen weeks for a project of this scale, given its importance and benefit to the economic and social wellbeing of the town and wider region.

“We are delighted the council has now agreed to allow us an appropriate amount of time to prepare a robust business case which will demonstrate the viability of the project without relying on public sector support or subsidy.

“The council’s support at this time and willingness to work with us to make this major attraction a reality is excellent news and we look forward to progressing our plans with their collaboration.”

Global consultancy group Mott MacDonald, which put the proposal to council chiefs in a presentation last month, has said there is “definitely a case” for a viability assessment.

The firm has worked on large-scale arenas around the UK since the 1960s and describes itself as delivering the “highest profile infrastructure and development projects” in the world.

Only once the viability of the scheme is approved by the council would a full planning application be submitted.

Separately, planning permission is in place on the land for a hundred space car park as part of plans to regenerate the seafront at Coatham, which also include a new £6m, 42-bed hotel and a 18-hole mini golf course off Majuba Road.

The Northern Echo:

Last week at a meeting of the borough council, Coatham ward councillor Carl Quartermain asked council leader Mary Lanigan whether the company was being given adequate time to firm up its plans for a new ‘Coatham Bowl’.

He said the council had imposed an “arbitrary and unreasonable deadline” for a major investment.

Cllr Quartermain, the leader of the Labour group, said: “The council has nothing to lose by extending this deadline, but is preparing to lose this investment by restricting the company’s ability to produce a viable plan.

“This site has been barren for seven years and another year won’t make any difference.”

The Northern Echo:

Cllr Lanigan said the council’s requirements were not unreasonable.

She said: “The council is confident that sufficient time has been allocated to Coatham Arena Limited who have told us that they are well ahead with this and they have people in financially-wise to do this.

“If the consortium can’t come in with basic, fundamental figures in that time [by Jan 3] it worries me.

“My understanding, however, is that there is no issue.”

Cllr Lanigan said the site in question was a grade three floodplain and the company had been made aware of this.

Steven Green, a representative of the group behind the proposals, claimed the investment in the arena would be the “biggest ever seen” in the area.

He said: “We have a big goal and Redcar and Cleveland council have met us with the same ambition,  and have agreed to give us the time needed and support the development. 

“I must go back to work with the steering committee and work harder than ever before. 

“We have spoken to some major players for sponsorship and have the right team and support to pull this off.”

 

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