Stadium’s £150m town boost

Richard Wright from Castleford Tigers says its plans for a new multi-million pound stadium and selling its ground for a supermarket will spark �125m of investment in Castleford.

Richard Wright from Castleford Tigers says its plans for a new multi-million pound stadium and selling its ground for a supermarket will spark �125m of investment in Castleford.

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CASTLEFORD Tigers’ chief Richard Wright has revealed how a plan to sell the club’s ground for a supermarket development could spark £150m of investment in the Five Towns and create 1,100 new jobs.

The chief executive told the Express the proposal to build a “large format food store” could kickstart regeneration in the town centre, provide employment opportunities and boost the Wheldon Road area, as well as allow the top-flight club to build its new state-of-the-art Glass Houghton facility in time for the 2013 season.

The club’s financial partner Opus Land (North) Limited has pledged to provide all the funding for its new 13,300-capacity home near the Xscape leisure complex as soon as it secures planning permission for a supermarket at the Probiz Coliseum on Wheldon Road.

The company is currently speaking to major retailers and hopes to submit a detailed planning application to Wakefield Council in August.

Mr Wright said: “The substantial and far-reaching boost to the community is wholly dependent on securing planning permission for a retail scheme at Wheldon Road in the first instance.

“A new stadium for Castleford Tigers at Glass Houghton, which will secure the future of the club in the Super League and provide our supporters with a new home to be proud of, is just one of many advantages that planning approval at Wheldon Road will facilitate.

“The region as a whole will benefit significantly as it will be a catalyst to unprecedented regeneration with significant economic and employment opportunites for the local community.”

The chief revealed an assessment carried out by the club and its financial partners found that approval for a large format retail store at Wheldon Road and a new stadium at Glass Houghton could both provide up to £25m of capital investment.

Regeneration initiatives sparked by the private investment could also generate an extra £40m from commercial developments surrounding the new stadium – with planning approval already in place for a business park and hotel adjacent to the site.

Mr Wright said once the sale of its existing ground was agreed, the construction of a link road from junction 31 of the M62 to the new stadium was expected to be confirmed. The infrastructure could allow up to 600 new homes to be built with further capital investment of more than £60m.

Mr Wright added: “The detailed assessments undertaken have concluded that the regeneration these schemes will provide will be a major boost for the local economy.

“The investment will not only benefit the town of Castleford itself, but the wider Five Towns area in the east of the Wakefield district.”