Tigers close to deal

14th August 2010.  Castleford Tigers ground, The Jungle.
14th August 2010. Castleford Tigers ground, The Jungle.

DEFIANT chiefs behind Castleford Tigers’ plan to sell its ground for a supermarket say they are in “final discussions” with two major retailers.

Andrew Duncan, director of Tigers’ development partner Opus Land North (Ltd), told the Express the club hoped to strike a deal with a supermarket this month – which would mean it could submit a long-awaited planning application for its Wheldon Road scheme.

Last year the Super League side announced an agreement with Opus which means it will get all the cash needed to build a £12m new stadium in Glass Houghton if it can get planning consent for a “large format food store” at its current ground.

Mr Duncan said: “We have been working extremely hard to secure an operator and are in final discussions with two of the major brands.

“This is always a complicated process and we had hoped to have concluded a deal by now, but we remain confident that this will be finalised in April and we can then more openly communicate our development plans.

“We have been liaising with all the key parties to make this happen and we can comment that both of the operators understand the importance an association with Castleford Tigers would bring in terms of helping to provide an exciting new community stadium in Castleford.”

As reported in the Express last month, three developers are vying to build a supermarket in Castleford – also including Aeternum Capital, which owns the town’s former Hickson and Welch factory site, and Edinburgh House, which has planning permission for a £50m scheme in the town centre.

Richard Morris, the club and Opus’ development manager said: “We have a very detailed delivery plan and since the turn of the year our design team has worked extremely hard to produce all the required information to enable us to close out the development deal with the food retailer.

“A development of this scale would be a massive boast for the Castleford area in its own right, but add to this the fact that the majority of the development return is then being reinvested into a major local community facility is unique to our proposals.

“Please be assured that everyone connected with this process, both within the club and as part of our external team, has invested a massive amount of time and effort to make this happen and as soon as the deal is secured we will be issuing a detailed statement.”