Belle Vue to be bought back by bank? Wildcats’ stadium saga rumbles on

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Talks have taken place to buy Wakefield Wildcats’ Belle Vue stadium from the bank which owns it ahead of a proposed redevelopment plan.

Sir Rodney Walker, chairman of the Wakefield and District Community Stadium Trust, said the club would prefer to re-develop their current ground rather than pursue plans for a new 12,000 seater community stadium in Stanley.

In June 2012, the government ruled that a new stadium could be built on land off Newmarket Lane in Stanley as part of a 100-acre business park.

Developer York Court Properties was due to lease the stadium to the community trust, with Wildcats as the anchor tenant.

But Sir Rodney has said if Belle Vue was redeveloped, York Court has agreed to help fund that project instead of helping fund the new stadium.

Construction work has started on one industrial unit at the site, but no work has been done on the proposed new stadium.

Sir Rodney said: “At the moment the club has decided they would rather see the refurbishment of Belle Vue rather than wait for a new stadium at Newmarket.

“Everyone is focussed on trying to get possession of Belle Vue, which is presently in the hands of a bank following a previous administration.

“I have held meetings recently with the bank at director level. I’m hopeful of reaching an agreement with the bank which would give the trust the opportunity of acquiring the ground, which has to be done before we consider development.”

Sir Rodney added: “It’s a less expensive option. The council are working with us and they are prepared to provide land nearby for parking.

“The cost of building a new stadium at Newmarket, even with money from the developer, would be very difficult in the current circumstances.

“A refurbished Belle Vue would be less costly and much more likely to proceed in an earlier time scale.”

l See page 83 of this week’s Express for part one of an exclusive interview with Wildcats chairman Michael Carter. Part two, including his thoughts on the stadium plans, is next week.