Rugby league club left with blues over new £8m stand

Neil Hudgell
Neil Hudgell
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HULL KR has quit a project board overseeing the development of its new £8m stand – which has been clad in blue rather than red club colours.

The club’s chairman Neil Hudgell branded the development of the North Stand at Craven Park “shambolic” and said they risked ending up with a “glorified office block”.

The club has now resigned from a project board, set up by Hull Council, which is paying for the majority of the project.

Mr Hudgell claimed poor management had led to delays which had cost them around £750,000 to £1m in revenue and said the new building, housing hospitality space, was far from the original design, with much smaller windows looking onto the pitch from sponsors’ lounges than planned. Design flaws, including a lack of toilets in the restaurant areas, had delayed the project further.

He said: “It has been problem after problem. The size of the function areas have been reduced because of poor layouts and when we asked the surveyor why the cladding was blue and not red, he said, in all seriousness, because ‘it matches the sky’. It looks completely put of place.”

They would miss staging the home derby with Hull FC in August, he said.

Hull Council is borrowing most of the money for the project, which includes classrooms which double as function rooms on match days and nearly 50 starter offices, with £2.6m coming from the European Regional Development Fund.

Mr Hudgell said they would be paying a commercial rent to the council of £60,000 to use the 2,600 seats on 13 days of the year – costing more in one year than the KC Stadium had contributed to the council in a decade.

Chairman of the North Stand project board Coun Daren Hale said the latest five-week delay was “regrettable” but not unusual in such a large project.

But he admitted to sharing the club’s “upset and concern” over the colour of the block, but said it had been decided by the property services company NPS and council officers, long before the project board was set up.

He said: “They (the club) originally had a plan of their own but they couldn’t make it financially viable.

“With the council’s scheme and training facility we were able to make it add up.

“We have always enjoyed cordial relations and want to see them continue – I am sure we will put this behind us and move on.”