Controversial Newmarket development opposed by Wakefield Trinity fans to be reconsidered

Controversial plans for a new warehouse on land earmarked for a new community stadium are to be considered again next week, four months after councillors voted to reject them.

By David Spereall
Thursday, 6th June 2019, 11:30 am
Plans for a new depot, which would be occupied by a beer and wine makers, is going back before a council committee despite members saying they were minded to refuse the proposal in February.
Plans for a new depot, which would be occupied by a beer and wine makers, is going back before a council committee despite members saying they were minded to refuse the proposal in February.

Wakefield Trinity supporters celebrated when a proposal by developers Yorkcourt to build a new depot on land off Newmarket Lane in Stanley was knocked back in February.

Fans had been angry that the application made no mention of the 12,000 seater stadium they expected to see when planning permission was granted for it in 2012.

Their objections were supported by Wakefield MP Mary Creagh, who said that Yorkcourt's failure to deliver the stadium was "the biggest game of cat and mouse in Wakefield Council's history".

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The community stadium, which was supposed to build at Newmarket, has never been built.

But now, the same proposal is returning unchanged before the authority's planning committee next Thursday to be considered "afresh", according to a report released ahead of the meeting.

When planning applications are rejected against the advice of council officers, the local authority has to formally submit a list of reasons why, which is usually rubberstamped at the next meeting.

However, the report says that this did not happen at its March meeting, because legal advice on the matter was not received on time.

The issue was then again taken off the agenda for committee at its April 11 meeting. The report says this was because of the "imminence of the local elections".

MP Mary Creagh, a strong critic of Yorkcourt, spoke against the plans at the February meeting.

Now, the council says the committee has to consider the decision again because its makeup has changed since the election and some members have been replaced.

The report, written by the case officer Michael Eaglestone, said: "The committee are not bound by the previous committee resolution and are free to make any resolution which they consider to be reasonable in terms of the framework of planning legislation, policy and guidance."

"As the planning and highways committee has now been reconstituted, it is no longer possible to continue the (usual) process.

"This is because the committee considering the further report is not the same committee as the one which originally considered the application and were minded to refuse planning permission, with four of the members on the February 21 committee now no longer sitting on the planning and highways committee."

At the February meeting, councillors were told by the authority's legal team to consider the warehouse, which would be occupied by a beer and wine makers in isolation from the stadium..

However, some members of the committee suggested this wasn't possible and cited a "lack of trust" in Yorkcourt to deliver the plans because of their failure to build the stadium.

They also said there was a valid link between the warehouse proposal and the community stadium.

The report details those as two of four reasons that were offered to reject the application.

Councillors also said that the warehouse "constitutes undesirable piecemeal development" and would represent a loss of amenity and night-time noise for residents.

Although Wakefield Trinity are now expected to stay at their current Belle Vue ground after a redevelopment, supporters have demanded that Yorkcourt contribute towards the cost of expanding the venue.

In a rare public statement after February's meeting, Yorkcourt said they were disappointed by the decision but remained "committed" to delivering what they called "this next stage of Wakefield Hub".

Local Democracy Reporting Service