MP warns council not to support plans for land earmarked for new rugby ground

The land at Newmarket Lane.
The land at Newmarket Lane.

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh has warned Wakefield Council not to support plans for a new warehouse on land earmarked for a rugby league ground.

In an open letter published on Twitter, Ms Creagh said approving the proposal would be “unthinkable” and she launched a strongly-worded attack on the land’s owners, Yorkcourt.

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Wakefield Trinity fans expected a new £19m stadium on Newmarket Lane in Stanley after the government approved the plans in 2012.

Six years on, however, that move is no nearer coming to fruition. Now, a new application for a beer distribution centre to be built on the land has attracted the anger of supporters, because it makes no mention of the new ground.

Now Ms Creagh has accused Yorkcourt of “circumventing” the stadium agreement and hoping fans “forget” about it.

It is understood that by building small warehouses, they have not triggered the legal obligations which would require them to build Trinity’s new ground.

Ms Creagh wrote: “A public enquiry concluded that a community stadium should be built to Super League standards and funded by the planning gains accrued to the property developer, Yorkcourt, from the Newmarket greenfield site.

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“The development of the greenfield site was conditional on the developer honouring legal agreements which would have delivered the promised community stadium for the people of Wakefield.

“It seems that the developer, Yorkcourt, are deliberately playing the long game and stringing out their planning applications in the hope that elected politicians and Wakefield Trinity fans will forget the promises they made to the Planning Inspector and the Secretary of State.”

Ms Creagh also referred to opposition to the warehouse from HS2 bosses, who’ve said that it would clash with the route earmarked for the rail network.

She added: “I’m also deeply concerned about that granting the applications will increase the cost to the public purse of HS2 and do nothing to deliver the new stadium. The developer has already broken the spirit of the 2012 approval.

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“It would be unthinkable for local government to consent to place additional costs on a central government project to the benefit of a private developer.”

Wakefield Council declined to comment on Ms Creagh’s, while Yorkcourt did not respond to a request for comment.

In its online application, Yorkcourt says that the distribution centre could create 130 jobs.

It added: “This proposal allows for the creation of new purpose designed and built premises for an existing Wakefield business enabling it to remain in the district and continue to generate employment and socio economic benefits.”