Gateshead International Stadium could be run privately amid council shortfall

Gateshead's International Stadium could see a takeover deal to reduce council spending. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Gateshead's International Stadium could be run by private operators under plans to reduce council spending.

The venue has been included in a tendering process to find contractors who will take over the running of its remaining sports centres and swimming pools, following the closure of two leisure centres in the borough.

Gateshead Council must head off a projected £50 million budget shortfall over the next five years and has already closed down Gateshead Leisure Centre and Birtley Swimming Centre this summer in a bid to cut costs.

The council is now seeking an external operator to oversee the running of sites in Blaydon, Heworth, and Dunston to help further balance the books.

Gateshead Stadium, which was previously omitted from the original review - has been added to that offer by the council's Labour cabinet, in the hope of making a deal “more attractive to the market”.

The council has warned that the venue is in need of £4 million of repairs over the next ten years and will cost at least £11 million to keep open in that time, once operating costs are added.

A report to the cabinet stated that there is “no current funding source that the council may access to meet this potential liability” and that the authority “would experience financial difficulties in retaining any offer” at the stadium.

On Tuesday 21 November, councillors were told that commercially confidential talks are continuing with Gateshead College about the future of the stadium, which serves as a base for its sport students.

The stadium has played host to concerts and international sporting events. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Under the proposals, Gateshead Stadium will be kept as a separate lot in the procurement process, meaning the council will not be obliged to award a contract that covers all four sites.

The stadium is the home of Gateshead FC and Gateshead Harriers and has a history of hosting major sporting and entertainment events.

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