Wakefield’s Super League future been boosted by plans to build a new 12,000 capacity community stadium just off the M62.
Yorkcourt Properties Limited are to develop a scheme capable of supporting a new stadium and to “encourage the development and retention of local sporting talent by providing facilities worthy of a city with such a proud sporting heritage.”
The Wildcats were criticised during the RFL’s licensing process last season for their existing stadium, and lack of concrete plans for a new development, and it is thought that when the next licensing review comes around in 2012, Wakefield could be under threat.
Ted Richardson, chairman of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats said, “This is very exciting for Rugby in the district. We are under enormous pressure to be playing in a stadium which lives up to the world class Rugby League being played in Super League. Having seen a number of false dawns, we are confident that this is a deliverable plan and should safeguard the future of the club for many, many years to come”.
Just a few months ago, plans for a new stadium in Thornes Park were quashed.
But the Wildcats, currently sitting an impressive fourth in the elite table, could soon be playing in a new 12,000 capacity home just off Junction 30 of the M62, in Stanley.
It was feared that the club could share with neighbours and rivals Castleford at their proposed stadium in Glasshoughton, which is still aimed to be completed by the beginning of the 2011 stadium.
Sir Rodney Walker is the chairman of a new community trust, set up to help deliver the project and to ultimately own and operate the facility, for the benefit of the local community.
The 66-year-old has a wealth of knowledge in rugby league and has a sporting pedigree in general, previously having a role with the Wildcats for seven years.
He was also chairman of Sport England, the Great Britain Sports Council and UK Sport. A spell as chairman of the Rugby Football League is also on his list of sporting roles, before being succeeded by current Executive Chairman, Richard Lewis.
He said: “We have been working extremely hard with all relevant parties to find a solution to benefit the whole community and a new site for the proposal. We are delighted to have found an opportunity with great access and great potential to move sport on to another level in the district. We very much hope that this is the first step in creating world class facilities and clubs in the district.”
This will be a community stadium in every sense of the word, with a pioneering ownership and operating structure to ensure it is run for the benefit of the local community. There is also the potential for an educational element, with the local college and university considering the possibility of a sport science department on site.
Colin Mackie of Yorkcourt Properties comments, “This is a very exciting opportunity for Yorkcourt to be involved in. We are confident that the project can be delivered in a timescale to guard the future of Rugby League in the district and create a facility for sustained sporting success”.