AMBITIOUS plans to turn Castleford Tigers’ ground into a supermarket – which will provide all the cash for the club’s new multi-million pound stadium – have been delayed by up to three months.
The Super League side had hoped its partners Opus Land (North) Ltd would submit a planning application for a £25m “large format food store” at its Wheldon Road site by the end of August – but bosses from the firm this week confirmed it needed more time to “strengthen” its bid.
Andrew Duncan, director of the company, told the Express he expected there to be a delay of two to three months while it completes extra “technical preparations” for the scheme.
Tigers’ chief executive Richard Wright said the delay would not be a “serious obstacle” for the club.
He added: “Andrew and his team have worked on projects like this time and time again over many years. They have also applied significant funds to the project already and are fully committed to the scheme. I have every confidence that a short delay in submitting the planning application is not a serious obstacle and that Opus will do what it needs to in order to achieve the best outcome for the project.
“We’ve come a very long way in terms of our goal of giving the people of Castleford a new stadium to be proud of. We have overcome many larger obstacles to get to a point now where we are very near to achieving this. We need everyone in our community and fan base to keep on getting behind this at this crucial stage – we will get there.”
Earlier this year the club announced its pioneering deal with Opus, which would provide all the cash needed to build its new £12m stadium near the Xscape leisure complex if planning permission for a supermarket at the Probiz Coliseum is secured. It has claimed the project could spark £150m of investment in the Five Towns and create 2,000 jobs.
The club already has full planning consent to build its new stadium – which it hopes will be ready for the 2013 season.
Mr Duncan said: “All parties acknowledge the need for a new supermarket in Castleford and it is clear that our proposals for the Probiz Coliseum will also provide a wide range of economic and social benefits for the district. Obviously, there are other sites being promoted across the town and we are investing a lot of time and effort in showing the benefits of our site to the community and trying to work in partnership with all parties concerned.
“At the same time we have already started to carry out extensive pre-planning application surveys and tests to ensure that our application is totally robust.
“We have made substantial investments to complete various site and flood surveys as well as a traffic review which is already indicating the substantial benefits which will be provided to the town centre from the improved traffic management proposals which will be a key part of our application.
“In the meantime, we are also working closely with supermarket providers to agree a final operator for our scheme.”