Fans anger at plan to build on land earmarked for new rugby ground

The proposed site of the new stadium, pictured in 2011.
The proposed site of the new stadium, pictured in 2011.

Wakefield Trinity fans have reacted angrily to plans to build a new “beer hub” close to land once earmarked for the rugby league club’s new ground.

Supporters say that an application for a warehouse on Newmarket Lane in Stanley ignores a 2012 agreement that the land owners Yorkcourt would build a new community stadium on the site.

Long-held hopes that Trinity would relocate to Newmarket Lane from their current Belle Vue base have been hit by years of setbacks and complications.

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Last year, when Wakefield Council did not receive guarantees from Yorkcourt about the building of the new stadium, leader Peter Box called on the firm to walk away from the site, adding they had “let the fans and people of Wakefield down”.

Now, the proposal for a new distribution centre, which Yorkcourt say would create 130 new jobs, has attracted hundreds of public comments online.

Objectors say that if the scheme goes ahead they want a new agreement to replace the previous deal that reaffirms a committment to a new stadium.

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Wakefield and District Community Trust chairman Jonathan Stone said that fans were “at the end of their tether” over the issue.

He said: “We want what we were promised and we’re now even willing to compromise.

“Instead of a 12,000 seater stadium, we’d happily accept a 10,000 seater if needs be. We want a new, sensible agreement to be put in place.

“We’re seven years down the line from when this all first started and there’s still no sign of it happening.

“The club’s current league position isn’t sustainable if it remains where it is and doesn’t expand. It needs new revenue streams to come in.

If approved, the beer hub would be run by food and drinks business Kitwave Wholesale Group.

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Yorkcourt did not respond to a request for comment but said in their published plans online: “Warehousing and distribution is a key employment sector within Wakefield.

“This proposal allows for the creation of new purpose designed and built premises for an existing Wakefield business enabling it to remain in the district and continue to generate employment and socio economic benefits.”

In June this year, Wakefield Council said it had held discussions about Trinity moving to Balne Lane playing fields, while stating that the option of redeveloping Belle Vue remained on the table.

No further update on that scenario has been publicised since.