Wakefield Trinity Wildcats could leave Belle Vue at end of 2015
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats could leave Belle Vue at the end of the year.
The club announced it is serving its six months notice to leave the stadium, which is owned by the Bank of Ireland.
Wildcats chairman Michael Carter said the amount they are paying in rent is “unsustainable”, though they are willing to stay if it can be renegotiated.
And the club is now considering moving to an alternative venue outside of the city.
The move could leave Wakefield without a professional sports team in the city.
Mr Carter said: “We have not taken this decision lightly and it is with a heavy heart that we would leave.
“We are doing what we think is in the best interest of the club because staying and paying the rent on the current deal is not a feasible option.”
The announcement was made at the club’s business meeting on Wednesday.
Mr Carter wrote to O’Hara’s & Co, who work on behalf of the Bank of Ireland, asking if they could pay a reduced fee to stay at the stadium.
But after receiving no response from the firm, the club handed in its notice and is now expected to leave the stadium at the end of the year.
Mr Carter said: “We have a couple of options of where we could go but it is safe to say that if we do move away it will likely be outside of the WF postcode.
“I do not see anything happening with Castleford or Featherstone. I get on great will both clubs but we are probably going to be looking at other options, which means going further afield.”
Belle Vue has been the home of the Wildcats for 120 years. The club had hoped to move to a new 12,000 community stadium as part of a new 100-acre business park on Newmarket Lane in Stanley.
But a crash in the economy sidelined the plans and no work has since been done on the proposed stadium.
The club were also in talks with developer Yorkcourt Properties to redevelop Belle Vue but an agreement has yet to be reached. And Mr Carter said it would be a “disgrace” if there wasn’t a professional sports team based in the city.
He said: “Wakefield Trinity Wildcats is the brand of the city and the name that is known throughout the world.
“We could be without any professional sport all because promises were not delivered on the new stadium.”
Wakefield Council said they will continue to support the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats as the club decides on its future.
Joanne Roney, the council’s chief executive, said: “We will continue to be supportive of the trust, the club, and the developer and whatever they decide to do, whether this is to develop a new community stadium or to make alternative plans.
“We are proud that there is a long history of top-quality sport in the district and want to see this continue.”