A NEW community stadium could provide a much-needed boost to the city’s economy and help battle against rising unemployment.
During a public inquiry into plans to build the stadium, Andy Wallhead, who is responsible for regeneration at Wakefield Council, said it would also raise the city’s profile.
The £19m stadium, which would provide a new home for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, is part of a major development by Yorkcourt Properties for land off Newmarket Lane.
The plans include a multi-use games area, 120-bed hotel, warehouses and business units and have been approved by Wakefield Council.
But they were called in by the government as the site encroaches on to greenbelt land.
In his evidence Mr Wallhead said the 12,000 capacity stadium could result in the club getting £200,000 per game, compared to £140,000 at Belle Vue.
He described the increase as “significant” in terms of more money and jobs.
He added: “The additional number of people that will be attracted to the stadium will in turn bring further economic benefits in terms of visits to the city centre.
“The community stadium will also help boost the profile of the city given the facilities that it can provide, which will encourage other investment and tourism.
“A community stadium will also help with regeneration aspirations of the district.”
Mr Wallhead told the inquiry on Wednesday that he felt the development would create more than the 2,000 jobs estimated by developers, which would help the city.
He said there was a shortage of employment land and the site “plays to Wakefield’s strength as a location for logistics”. He described the demand for warehousing and distribution as “buoyant”.
He said its location near the M62 would also provide jobs for deprived areas such as Normanton and Eastmoor.
Last week those involved with the rugby league club said it could fold if planning permission was not granted as the club needs the stadium to retain its Super League status.
Today fans and residents will speak in favour of the application.
Next week Wakefield Football Club, which could share facilities, and Methley residents, who oppose the development, will have their say.