Wakefield Trinity: ‘Stadium was promised to the people’

Wakefield Trinity Chairman Michael Carter.
Wakefield Trinity Chairman Michael Carter.

The council has insisted it cannot enforce the building of a community stadium which could become the new home for Wakefield Trinity.

Wakefield Council responded to criticism over the stadium deal today after frustrations were voiced over the future of Rugby League in the city.

The stadium row dates back to planning permission being granted to redevelop a site at Newmarket Lane in Stanley, and a subsequent legal agreement in 2012 for a 12,000-seater sports ground.

According to the council the deal, known as a Unilateral Undertaking, still stands. It means that if occupants are found for 60,000 sq m of space at the site, an obligation to provide the stadium is triggered.

The second condition was that £2m is found by the council, Wildcats and Wakefield District Community Trust.

In a 2,000-word statement Wakefield Council said: “Currently neither of these trigger points, which would require the stadium to be built, have been reached.

“It is entirely up to the developer how quickly they bring forward development, or if the development is built at all.

“Until the point that the triggers, outlined in the Unilateral Undertaking are met, the council is unable to force the developer to build a stadium.”

It said a separate planning application for a cold food warehouse at the same site was not part of the agreement, so could not trigger the stadium.

The council said it previously offered backing of £2m for the stadium, a deal which had expired.

It added: “The council, during informal conversations with the trust, has made it clear that it is prepared to make a financial contribution, similar to the offer made in 2009, as part of the development of a new stadium at Newmarket.

“To date, the trust have not asked the council to provide any funding, nor have they shared any details of funding raised from other avenues to contribute to the development of a new stadium.”

READ WAKEFIELD COUNCIL’S FULL STATEMENT HERE

Michael Carter, Wakefield Trinity chairman and a director of the community trust: “Once again the council has spectacularly missed the point that this community stadium was promised to the citizens of Wakefield on the back of green belt land being lifted out of the green belt for private development.

“At no point were current members of the stadium trust aware that the Newcold site would not count towards the Unilateral Agreement.

“The council is the beneficiary of the UU undertaking.

“The community trust will comment further and more fully when we’ve had time to digest the council’s comments and take legal advice.”