Cumbria

Flood-hit Carlisle stadium forces athletes to travel hundreds of miles

Sheepmount Stadium
Image caption The stadium was badly damaged in Storm Desmond

Athletes are being forced to travel hundreds of miles to train after a major sporting facility was damaged by storms.

Five months after it was flooded during the Storm Desmond deluge, Carlisle's Sheepmount Stadium remains closed and the repair bill could reach £3m.

The closure is forcing athletes to travel as far as the Scottish border to find facilities, it has emerged.

Carlisle City Council said the venue could be relocated.

Pentathlon athlete Joe Connelly, 15, is among those having to travel to find adequate training tracks.

His father Chris said he was worried that sporting stars of the future might be "lost".

Image caption Carlisle City Council is considering whether or not to repair the stadium or relocate

"We've a great swathe of talented young people who could represent Cumbria and the country, and we face a loss of that", Mr Connelly said.

"Temporary solutions are just not appropriate for elite athletes."

The stadium has a running track, gym and playing fields.

Image caption Athletes are having to seek out alternative training facilities after the stadium closed

Gavin Capstick, the council's contracts and community services manager, said repairing the stadium might be the cheapest option.

But he said a better long-term solution might be to move to a part of the city less likely to be affected by floods.

He added: "The challenge will be the availability of land and price of a new build as opposed to reinstating facilities."

Image caption The stadium was flooded when the Rivers Caldew and Eden burst their banks

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