Stadium latest as Wakefield Trinity ‘prepare High Court case’

The dust is settling on the latest recriminations between Wakefield Trinity and the council over stadium plans.

Yesterday the Rugby League club threatened legal action, saying the council should enforce the building of a 12,000-seater stadium at Newmarket Lane.

An artists's impression of the revamped Belle Vue

Wakefield Council has insisted it is powerless to compel property developer Yorkcourt to carry out the project.

The Newmarket plan appeared to be dead in the water in September, when a new deal to redevelop Belle Vue was agreed in principle by the club, the council and the ground’s owner 88m Group.

But five weeks later, council bosses accused Trinity of walking away from the Belle Vue plan in a disagreement over rent and control of income from the ground.

Now the original stadium plan could be pursued in court, according to club owners Michael Carter and Chris Brereton.

They said: “We are now preparing our case for presentation to the High Court.

“We have waited since June 2012 for the council to deliver Newmarket Stadium.”

The stadium row dates back to 2009 and planning permission being granted for Newmarket Lane, near the M62 at Stanley.

That deal failed to get off the ground during a long-running wrangle over a planning agreement.

Trinity claims the council could compel Yorkcourt to build the stadium, and that the council was obliged to provide Wakefield and District Community Trust, set up to get the stadium built, with a 99-year lease on a peppercorn rent.

Yesterday Wakefield Council disputed this, saying there was “no reference at all” to the rent claim in the Newmarket agreement.

The club said it had now been offered a lease at Belle Vue on a commercial rent, but that was ann “uneconomic proposition” for Trinity.

Deputy council leader Denise Jeffery said: “Legal action will be a very costly and lengthy course of action for all parties involved and ultimately the people who will lose the most is the fans and residents, and that is the most upsetting part of this situation.”

Trinity need a new ground to meet the Super League stadium requirements. So far, Rugby League bosses have continued to extend special permission to remain at Belle Vue.

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