Mary Creagh MP and Wakefield Trinity fans have say on club staying at renovated Belle Vue

The developers behind plans to build a new stadium for Wakefield Trinity have been urged to "step up" and contribute towards renovations of the club's current Belle Vue ground.

By David Spereall
Monday, 18th March 2019, 5:20 pm
Updated Monday, 18th March 2019, 5:28 pm
An artist's impression of how a refurbished Belle Vue may look.
An artist's impression of how a refurbished Belle Vue may look.

It was revealed last week that the Super League side's proposed relocation to a site on Newmarket Lane in Stanley was no longer being pursued, seven years after a 12,000 seater community stadium was given the go-ahead.

Wakefield Council is instead handing Trinity a £3.15m loan to buy Belle Vue, with a view to the club staying there in the long-term.

But the venue needs to be redeveloped to meet the new standards for Super League grounds, and several of those close to the saga say that should be funded by developers Yorkcourt.

Belle Vue has to be renovated to meet new Super League requirements around facilities and seating.

The firm owns the Newmarket land but has yet to deliver the community stadium, or publicly explain why it has never been built.

Jonathan Stone, the chairman of the Wakefield and District Community Trust, called on Yorkcourt director Colin Mackie to release the necessary cash.

He said: "Newmarket is now option two. Belle Vue is now option one, but it still has to be financed by Mr Mackie.

"It’s important to note that the council’s loan only secures the ground. The redevelopments now need to be paid for by Mr Mackie.

Designs for a new community stadium, which was never built.

"We also want community sports facilities for Stanley, because that was part of the original deal and that’s something that is also missing from this solution."

Mr Stone suggested that Belle Vue would eventually be transferred to the ownership of the community trust, or a separately created one to ensure its future is secure.

And despite claiming previously that Trinity have to leave their home of more than 120 years to become sustainable, he believes now that the club's long-term ambitions can be fulfilled there.

He added: "Nine or 10 years ago Newmarket was really the only viable option.

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh said that the council's loan to the club was an "exciting" development.

"Now we have the new link road near Belle Vue which wasn’t there before and we own the stadium so we can redevelop it. The key is building a site that can bring in income 365 days a year."

Last month, Wakefield Council rejected a planning application by Yorkcourt to build a new warehouse on the Newmarket site, which made no reference to the community stadium.

Calling the £3.15m loan "exciting", Wakefield MP Mary Creagh said: "This is a big step forward for the club after a very difficult few years.

"It's clear with the rejection by the council of Yorkcourt's planning application, that Yorkcourt now need to step up and say what they're going to do to contribute for the development of the (Belle Vue) site and play their part for the future of rugby league in our city."

Trinity fan Phil Townsend, who joined Ms Creagh in speaking against the warehouse application, said he believed a stadium at Newmarket should remain "on the table".

He said: "At least the club has a venue secured that it can play from until such a time that there is a better solution available, whether that’s Belle Vue or elsewhere.

“My stance on it is that as far as we’re concerned, Newmarket remains the most viable option. Having said that, most Wakefield fans are of the feeling that anywhere is better than nowhere.

"But long-term, funds for the club have to come from somewhere and until there’s funds to repay the council’s loan it's a papering exercise."

Yorkcourt has been contacted for comment but has yet to respond.

Local Democracy Reporting Service