‘Shame’ as stadium decision reversed

Wakefield Wildcats fans.
Wakefield Wildcats fans.

A decision to block plans for a new warehouse on land once set aside for Wakefield’s community stadium has been overturned.

Wakefield Council’s planning committee voted by 10 to two to approve the warehouse, proposed by the controversial developer Yorkcourt, last Thursday.

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A handful of Wakefield Trinity fans, who are frustrated by Yorkcourt’s failure to build the stadium the government approved in 2012, shouted, “Shame on you”, at councillors as the decision was made.

The warehouse, which will be used by local beer and wine makers HB Clark, also known as Kitwave, was refused planning permission in February. But the council’s legal team said none of the four reasons given would withstand an appeal.

They also claimed that the decision needed to be revisited because the makeup of the planning committee had change since the local elections. Trinity fan Phil Townsend said: “We’re here today as a result of the desperate efforts of this council to get the developer what it wants.

“Look at today’s unprecedented hearing – seven days notice, four new members of the planning committee, a 75 page lecture on why you cannot turn down this application and a four month delay and why?

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Belle Vue, Hearwell Stadium.

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Belle Vue, Hearwell Stadium.

“Because this council is scared of this developer.”

Mr Townsend, from Wrenthorpe, said that a failure to deliver a community stadium would see Wakefield Trinity reduced to a “part-time club saddled with debt”, in reference to a £3m loan the club received from the council to buy their Belle Vue ground in March.

The warehouse development is expected to create 130 jobs.

Coun Denise Jeffery, cabinet member for economic growth and regeneration, said the decision was a “win-win situation for all parties”.

She said: “For Wakefield Trinity fans and the community in general, plans are forging ahead for the construction of a community stadium at Belle Vue. For the business community, new premises are being created to attract more business to the district and create more jobs.”