Wakefield Trinity get £8.8m cash injection to redevelop Belle Vue Stadium in bid to secure Super League status

Councillors have approved an £8.8m cash injection to allow Wakefield Trinity to redevelop their Belle Vue ground.

By Tony Gardner
Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 11:51 am
Updated Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 11:59 am

The funding has been released after a lengthy and controversial planning dispute which has jeopardised the club's Super League status.

Trinity's stadium currently does not meet the minimum standards required to compete in Super League and they operate under an annual dispensation to do so from the Rugby Football League.

A report to Wakefield Council's Cabinet stated: "Failure to secure improvements to the stadium presents a direct threat to the future of professional sport in the district and the future of the club itself."

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Sketches of how the redeveloped ground may appear. Image from AFL Architects

A scheme that will see the ground's East Stand demolished and replaced, with the capacity boosted from 7,258 to 8,866 spectators, was approved by the council's planning committee in December last year.The city's former MP Mary Creagh previously described failures to deliver the stadium as "the biggest game of cat and mouse in Wakefield Council's history".Historically, planning consent was granted for commercial development of greenbelt land at Stanley.

As part of the scheme, developer Newmarket Lane Limited proposed to provide a new stadium for Trinity.

The developer failed to deliver the stadium and instead applied for planning consent to build warehouses on the site earmarked for the new ground.

Those developers promised to fund the Belle Vue revamp, provided the warehouses were approved and built.

Sketches of how the redeveloped ground may appear. Image from AFL Architects

The company agreed to contribute £8.8m to redevelop their existing stadium.

The money will make up around 80 per cent of the funding needed, with the rest coming from both the club and £2m from a rugby league resilience fund set up by Wakefield Council last November.

The Cabinet approved the recommendation to authorise the injection of £8.8m into the Council's capital programme which will be paid for the purpose of carrying out the works.

Wakefield Council Leader Denise Jeffrey told the meeting: "Let's just hope this is finally the end and Wakefield Trinity will get a new stadium and we can move on."

Sketches of how the redeveloped ground may appear. Image from AFL Architects

The plans also include resurfacing the car park and a new 4G pitch being laid, in addition to new floodlights which have already been put up.

Trinity chairman John Minards told the planning committee that the revamp was vital to the club's future.

Mr Minards said the ground in its current form showed an image of "decay".

Speaking at last year's committee meeting, he said: "We have a simple vision, which is to be a sustainable Super League club situated in the city of Wakefield, that promotes the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the people of Wakefield, and that represents Wakefield in elite sport.

Sketches of how the redeveloped ground may appear. Image from AFL Architects

"Wakefield Trinity is a brand recognised across the world and synonymous with our city, but unfortunately the image we project to our visitors is one of dereliction and decay."

More than 2,000 people had supported the application in writing, with only four objections submitted opposing it.