Castleford Tigers managing director on Super League stadium redevelopment with two plans now in place

CASTLEFORD TIGERS’ ‘Old Girl’ is one of the most atmospheric stadiums in the sporting world.

A close locality to the pitch, sheltered home support and a fanbase that lives and breathes rugby league, The Jungle is often hailed as away fans’ most iconic venues.

Unfortunately, it is also rather dilapidated and in need of redevelopment – something which the club has had its eyes fixated on in recent seasons instead of moving out into a new stadium.

Planning permission has been sent to Wakefield Council, with Castleford’s managing director, Mark Grattan, explaining why the club now needs to wait with the decision out of their hands.

“Where we are with the development, it genuinely is out of our hands but we have done everything we need to do with it,” Grattan said on the COYFCast podcast.

“It is sat with the council and we said it would hit planning in October or November, likely November. That’s where we are at at this stage.”

Grattan went further, explaining why there is a Plan B for the redevelopment in case the planning permission doesn’t come in time to make a difference to the club’s IMG score for 2024.

“Plan A is the full redevelopment which ticks every box going and would help generate more money so then increasing the financial elements of it as well.

“We’ve got a Plan B so if there is an issue and if it drags on where we can’t start anything next season, we have £2 million in the pot from the council to do what we need to do in terms of getting that extra point (from IMG).

“Things that really count – capacity has to be 5,000 which we have ticked, you have to have 2000 seats which we haven’t got.

“You’ve got to have 200 sponsor seats which are padded and physically cordoned off in a different area which we don’t have.

“Your corporate lounge needs to hold 200 which we’ve got, directors box needs to hold 40 and be cordoned off from public are which it isn’t at the moment with direct access to and from the boardroom seats without passing through the public area or be properly stewarded so that’s what we would do.

“There needs to be a broadcast parking area which we have got, studio access for Sky which is on the gantry should be 4 by 4 metres. At the minute it is 3.1 by 3.1 metres but it is doable.

“Media facilities, we don’t have enough but it is doable and photographer facilities is doable. A very rough idea of a Plan B would depend on where we are on the stadium redevelopment by the end of the year.

“Potentially, if the stadium looks like it does now going into next year when we need to get the IMG points, we will start work with the council money.”

The Castleford director then revealed what that council money would provide.

“What we would do then – this is the first draft in my mind – you would refurbish the main stand, you would put the corporate seats in at the top corner and that would be cordoned off.

“We would then move the directors box a couple of rows back to be cordoned off. At the bottom left, it would be more accessible for wheelchair users with a lift where they can watch the game from a height rather than at ground level.

“That would tick a few boxes for corporate and accessibility as a part of minimum standards. We would make media benches bigger, a TV monitor in there with a decent wifi in there.

“The seating capacity would go down even further so what we could do then – I’m not saying this will happen – is take the yellow plastic seats and put them down the front of the Princess Street stand for a hybrid seating and standing which would give the tick for seating capacity.

“We know because they will redo the capacities that we need more barriers in the Wheldon Road end. So take the barriers from the Princess Street to the Wheldon Road stand. Then, we’ve ticked all the boxes to get 1.5 points.

“Even if we have to do that and planning permission or funding might not come for three years, the Plan B we would do that now and then we would deal with the other when it come along so we know the stadium is safe with health and safety.”

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