The future of the Shay Stadium will be put in the spotlight as Calderdale Council leaders discuss how the complex can be developed.
Calderdale Council’s director of public services Zohrah Zancudi has outlined in a report to the Place scrutiny board the potential developments of the stadium.
One of the key aspects is the future of the West Stand after a structural survey revealed a number of issues.
In her report Zohrah Zancudi said: “It is likely that in the next couple of years the stand could be condemned. This would result in a decision being required over whether to close the stand or make significant investment.
“We had looked to work with a hotel building company to provide a hotel at the stadium.
“This was linked to the development of the annex and the progress stopped at this stage. If demand exists for another hotel in Halifax then Corporate Asset and Facilities Management can be requested to look into this with a development company.”
The closure of the West Stand would not affect the provision of games to both professional clubs due to current attendance figures as currently only two of the four stands are used for match days.
The report also showed how vital it was for the council to work with both FC Halifax Town and Halifax RLFC to help with development of the Shay.
“The Shay Stadium is the principal sporting venue in Calderdale and in terms of size and operational capacity it offers great potential for future growth in both sport and event management,” said the Calderdale Council director.
“There remain challenges to realise this potential fully; we need to look at the stadium as a whole and develop a strategy for development.
“The next stage of development could depend on the success of both professional clubs.
“We need to look at how we can support and enable the clubs to be more successful. We need to work closely with both clubs to increase revenue to allow investment.”
One option is potential sponsorship of the stadium.
There is currently no sponsorship agreement for the Shay, with the previous sponsor going into administration. The intention is now for the council to work with the clubs to seek more sponsorship opportunities.
A number of development proposals have been considered in the past to move the stadium onto a more commercial footing including the sale of the annex .
The Council spoke to two potential buyers of the annex but at the latter stages of both negotiations the deals fell through.
There has been no further interest in this space.
Potential use as a storage facility for the Council could be considered. The Asset Planning Team have recently estimated £70,000 to remove the structure.
As there is no financial benefit to this then unless the Council need the space for a commercial venture it will keep it mothballed.
Positive financial outlook
The accounts for the Shay Stadium show a projected operating deficit of £214,035 for the financial year 2018-19.
However, if you factor in the cost that the council would otherwise have to pay for office space used by staff at the stadium and to hire rooms for training outside the organisation it comes to £170,000.
If this is taken into account then the overall operating loss is £44,000. It is expected that this can be reduced to zero by the end of financial year 2019-20.
The main sources of income for the Shay Stadium come from the rugby and football clubs and from the catering companies contracted to provide services there.
In addition, income is received from the various organisations that use the Shay Stadium regularly.
The council says it will continue to invest in the stadium to keep it safe.
The Place Scrutiny Board will meet to discuss the plan tonight (Thursday) at Halifax town hall at 6pm.