Old Trafford regeneration: Mayor Andy Burnham confirms public money required


Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, confirmed public money will be required as part of the proposed regeneration of Old Trafford.

Burnham is part of the task force, led by Sebastian Coe, that are exploring the regeneration of Manchester United’s stadium, with Gary Neville and Trafford Council CEO Sara Todd also involved. The task force are hoping to report back with their findings in the autumn.

One of the main focuses of the task force will be the financing of the project. A variety of potential private funding sources will be explored, with the cost of building a new stadium and/or a wider regeneration plan likely to require additional financial partners.

Burnham explained the project would have to be a public-private partnership, similar to the regeneration scheme in Stratford, east London, for the 2012 Olympics, and Everton’s new Bramley Moore Dock Stadium.

“Look at Bramley Moore, the Liverpool City Region has enabled funding,” Burham said. “It has to be a public private partnership.

“What I have got to do as part of the task force in next five, six months working with Lord Coe and Gary [Neville] and others is give all the supporting information to enable a decision — is it refurbished or is it new build? In either case there will be some requirement for public funds to be involved.”

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Burnham said part of the need for public money to contribute to the project was due to the railway station at Old Trafford. Manchester United Football Ground railway station has not been in use since 2018 and had previously only been in use on match days.

“This ground is fairly unique in having a train station that is part of the fabric that is not being used,” he added. “That itself says if you were to refurbish the stand, you would have to do something to move that station and that would require public money.

“There will be some requirement for public funds because of the train station and the big freight depot. What we are talking about is a complex regeneration scheme that could be the biggest in the north of England in our lifetimes. The more ambitious the better.”

The regeneration of Old Trafford is a priority of INEOS, which completed its purchase of a 25 per cent stake in United last month.

United are not planning to move away from Old Trafford due to the club’s deep-rooted history on the site, but there are options for redeveloping the existing stadium or building a new ground on the adjacent club-owned land. The initial preference of INEOS co-founder Sir Jim Ratcliffe is to build a new stadium over a redevelopment project.

Burnham said the Old Trafford project could “be the biggest regeneration project in the north of England”.

“From our point of view there is nothing bigger in world football than the name Man Utd and if we unlock the full power of this club in terms of its power to regenerate it is fantastic for Greater Manchester, jobs, investment,” he said. “This could be the biggest regeneration project in the north of England, it could be that big.”

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(Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)





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