WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats chairman Andrew Glover is confident that the proposed development of the Rapid Solicitors Stadium will form the basis of the club’s successful Super League licence application.
The Wildcats’ plans to expand their existing stadium into a 12,000 capacity arena, with 10,000 of that under cover, were presented to fans in a public meeting last night, Thursday.
The club remain committed to a move to a new stadium at Newmarket in the future but before then, redevelopment of the stadium’s north and west stands will transform the Rapid Solicitors Stadium and Glover is aiming to complete the work by the start of the 2012 season.
Furthermore he believes that the redevelopment will get backing from the local authorities. He said: “There is an existing planning application for the work on the west stand.
“There are old planning applications on the north stand and we have spoken to the council and they have backed whatever we put forward in the same vein as what has been there before.”
Glover added: “It is a new application going in that will be launched when we find out about the Super League licence.”
When asked if he thinks the Rugby Football League (RFL) would accept the club’s proposals, Glover replied: “It will be very difficult for the RFL not to accept them.
“We believe that what we are doing and the way we are going with it should be acceptable to them.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman from the RFL confirmed that the Wildcats had “informed us [in the submitted Super League licence application] that they were progressing with their plans to develop the existing stadium and play there in 2012.
“Due to the change in ownership at the club the RFL were made aware that these plans were ongoing.”
The RFL board of directors is set to meet on July 25 to decide which clubs will be awarded a Super League licence before announcing its decision the following day.
Before then, Wakefield can continue to submit information to support their application but “the RFL board of directors need to be satisfied that any plans for the stadium are feasible,” according to the RFL spokesman.
He warned that the RFL would expect to see “more than just plans”, adding: “Each club’s stadium will be analysed and planning authorities, local councils and developers will be consulted.”
The Wildcats lease their current ground from owners, the Bank of Ireland but Glover revealed that he would potentially buy it in the future, saying: “It is for sale so there is an opportunity to buy it.
“We would buy it if it came down to the right amount of money but at the moment they are asking too much.
“The only thing we don’t own is the ground that [the stadium] is sat on. Everything above ground we own and anything we put on here will be taken away with us when we go to Newmarket anyway.
“It’s a permanent structure but it’s one that we can take down and take away with us.”
If the Wildcats fail to secure a Super League licence next month Glover “would have to do the sums again”.
He added: “It is probably still viable for one of the terraces to be covered in the Championship but we haven’t gone that far yet.”
And should the Newmarket application fall through, Glover said: “Realistically, there is probably more chance of us redeveloping Belle Vue than going somewhere else if Newmarket doesn’t get passed.
“But every expert in that field has said that Newmarket is going to get passed. Whether it gets passed in September, December or March we don’t know but we believe it is going to happen.”
Read tomorrow’s Wakefield Express for more on this story.