A NEW community stadium could have brought world class footballers to the city.
During a public inquiry into plans to build a £19m stadium off Newmarket Lane, in Stanley, it was revealed that it was once part of the 2018 World Cup bid.
Wakefield Football Club’s Pete Bevils claimed Leeds City Council included the proposed development in its plans, if England would have been successful in hosting the World Cup.
But the Leeds City Council local has objected to the stadium, which could provide a new home for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and possibly Wakefield FC.
Head of strategic development Mr Bevils said: “I personally find it disappointing that this project is being challenged by Leeds, a city which we supported in earnest during the World Cup bid.
“We understand that Leeds City Council actually proposed Newmarket facilities in the bid documentation. It was to be linked to Oulton Hall for the accommodation for the World Cup teams.
“The bid documents were approved by the executive committee of LCC, so it would seem they were quite happy for this proposal to be knowingly included in the bid documents at the time but now have decided to oppose it.”
Mr Bevils was among those speaking in favour of the development which also includes a 120-bed hotel, warehouses and business units.
Plans were approved by Wakefield Council, but were called in by the government as the site encroaches on to greenbelt land.
Also giving evidence this week was Jason Wilsher-Mills of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats Disabled Supporters Association.
He said the current below-par Belle Vue stadium put off disabled and elderly fans.
Phil Townsend of Stadium Wakefield Action Group (SWAG) said it was “now or never” as plans would benefit city sport clubs.
Jonathan Stone, of Residents for Newmarket, said there was support among Stanley residents for the development, which would also provide a much-needed jobs boost.
Ossett Academy principal Martin Shevill said he thought the stadium would increase the participation of sport in schools, which in turn would help pupils achieve better grades.
Stanley councillor Clive Hudson said the former pit site had often been used by travellers and old tyres had been dumped.
He said on one occasion it cost £60k of taxpayers’ money to clear it.