Cambridge United reveals 12,000-capacity greenbelt stadium plan

Artist's impression of Cambridge United's new stadium Image copyright KSS
Image caption United's chief executive Ian Mather said architects KSS had come up with a radical and unusual design, clad in wood and sitting in the contours of the landscape

Cambridge United could move to a new stadium on greenbelt land to the east of the city, the club announced.

The League Two club has been trying to find a new home for years.

It hopes to build a 12,000-capacity multi-use stadium on land close to Marshall Aerospace, which announced in May that it had plans to relocate.

Club chief executive Ian Mather said the proposal "has a lot going for it" but was in "an early stage" and funding had yet to be arranged.

Image copyright John Sutton/Geograph
Image caption The Abbey Stadium dates from the 1930s and the club's chief executive said it was "at the end of its useful life"

The club had hoped to move to a new stadium to be built in the Trumpington area, but failed to receive council backing in 2013.

Instead, its 1930s Abbey Stadium was due to be redeveloped, but these plans also fell through.

Mr Mather said the "much-loved" stadium on Newmarket Road was "at the end of its useful life".

Image copyright KSS
Image caption KSS have designed a new stadium to glow amber in the night - reflecting the team's shirt colours of amber and black

Abbey Stadium: A timeline

  • December 2004: Cambridge Utd sell the Abbey to director John Howard for £1.92m in order to stave off administration (they subsequently enter administration in April 2005)
  • April 2010: Grosvenor buys the Abbey from now-former club director Mr Howard for £3.5m, reducing the club's rent to a token level
  • April 2012: Grosvenor unveils plans for a community stadium and sports village at Trumpington Meadows
  • May 2013: Grosvenor's plans fail to be included in Cambridge City's Council updated Local Plan
  • January 2015: Plans for a new ground are shelved, with the club set to remain at a redeveloped Abbey Stadium
  • June 2017: Grosvenor withdraws plans for a redeveloped Abbey Stadium and combined residential development owing to a lack of support
Image copyright KSS
Image caption The club's preferred location is just south of the A14 at junction 35 for Quy

The club has been working with Marshall Aerospace and Cambridgeshire County Council to develop plans for land which would be unlocked by Marshall's move.

Factors in its favour include Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority's metro system proposal and a proposed relocation of the Newmarket Road park and ride stop.

Mr Mather said the stadium would be "as near to zero carbon as possible".

He added it has been designed to be used "365 days of the year", hosting concerts, conferences and medical facilities as well as football.

The club hopes the stadium, which could cost up to £25m, would attract external funding.

It hoped it could build a new ground before Marshall relocated and within five years, subject to planning.

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