Wakefield get go-ahead for new stadium
Wakefield have secured their future for the next 100 years after receiving the green light for a new stadium, according to the Wildcats chief executive James Elston.
The Stobart Super League club, who were among the founding members of the old Northern Union in 1897, have been told that the Secretary of State has given his blessing for a major development at Newmarket which will include a 12,000-capacity community stadium.
"Just over a year ago we went on record saying we had secured the immediate future of the club and the news today gives us the next 100 years of life of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats," Elston told a press conference at the club's ageing Belle Vue ground.
The development, which will be on the site of an old colliery just off junction 30 of the M62, was the subject of a two-week public inquiry in December following objections from residents and Leeds City Council.
A major stumbling block was removed last week when the Government's planning inspectorate ruled that the land could be taken out of the green belt and put to commercial use.
The stadium will be funded by development company Yorkcourt Properties but owned by the Wakefield & District Community Trust and the Wildcats will become primary tenants. It is expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2015 season and, crucially, before the start of the new Super League licensing period.
"It's a massive relief," admitted chairman Andrew Glover, who took the club out of administration early last year after buying control. "There has been a lot of work gone on to get us where we are today. There has been doubts along the way but everyone has seen sense. It gives us the opportunity to be sustainable. The future of the club is secure with this."
Wakefield have been given permission to spend the next two seasons at their current home but remain confident of meeting the new deadline.
"It's a big day and we'll celebrate but the hard work starts tomorrow," Elston added. "This was the biggest hurdle we had. We will now meet with all the people involved, the council and the developer, to take things forward.
"It is an enabling development and with 240 acres it needs some of the units to be signed up to get the stadium off the ground. The funding model is in place and now things will start to drop into line."