Wakefield provide positive stadium update despite uncertain conditions

James Gordon

Wakefield chairman John Minards says they expect to submit a planning application regarding their stadium development at Belle Vue when things return to normal.

Trinity’s well-publicised, long-running battle for new facilities has turned to focusing on re-developing on their current home, which is one of only four sites – along with Batley, Leeds and Widnes – where rugby league is played today as it was when the sport was founded in 1895.

In an update on the club’s official website, Minards said: “Having been on the agenda for about 50 years I guess I might have guessed there might be delays!

“The current crisis is just the latest. The good news is that our plans are very well advanced; in terms of scope, design and funding.

“We were very close to submitting a planning application a couple of weeks ago and expect to do that whenever things return to normal.

“It is not appropriate to give details ahead of the planning application but as I have said before we are starting with the East Stand as well as several other important developments.

“The accent throughout will be on providing facilities for the Community and not just Wakefield Trinity on match days.

“Please keep the faith that this will be delivered: Michael, I and the rest of your Board are determined it will be worth the wait!”

It’s 12 months since Wakefield acquired the freehold to the stadium, as well as purchasing adjoining land, which opened up the possibility of re-developing their long-term home.

For more than a decade, a move to a new community stadium had been speculated, with a site at Newmarket earmarked for it.

However, struggles over funding and the difficult market conditions, as well as meeting the conditions for development put down by the Secretary of State following a public inquiry, meant that the development stalled.

Though exact details of what the re-development will entail remain scarce, Minards said last year that it will take an eight-figure sum to get the stadium to where they want it – whether that be a 10,000 or 15,000 capacity.

In the same statement, Minards also updated the club’s fans on their current situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

He said that the club’s board is in control of their financial situation, and that they have discussed with suppliers and HMRC regarding relief of overheads.

Chief executive Michael Carter is playing an active role with both Super League and RFL, in terms of submissions of support from the government and negotiations with key sponsors.

Carter revealed on Twitter on Friday that more than £19,000 had been pledged by fans via the lottery, squadbuilder and Trinity TV.