Wakefield Trinity are confident that the planning application last week for the first phase of the redevelopment of the clubs Mobile Rocket Stadium will actually bear fruit, unlike some previous plans since the club secured promotion to Super League at the end of the 1998 season.
Using a loan from Wakefield MDC, the club acquired the freehold of the stadium site in March 2019 for £3 million.
Since then, it has commissioned architects to prepare plans for a partial redevelopment of the stadium and the first phase of construction is intended to be a new 2,500-seater East Stand.
The plans include:
* Construction of a new 2,500-seater East Stand to include a large hospitality and conferencing facility;
* Refurbishment of the existing ‘Rollin Shack’ (formerly known as the Coach House) to provide a multi-functional leisure space, including a café and club retail facility;
* Renovation of the North Stand terracing, providing an upgrade to spectator amenity in that part of the ground and an increasing overall ground capacity;
* An upgrade of the existing floodlights to the latest LED technology;
Installation of a 4G pitch suitable for all-weather use by both the club and the community;
* Creation of landscaped car parking and a FanZone behind the new East Stand.
The club has said that the cost of the works will be funded by a “significant contribution” from Newmarket Lane Ltd, which is a joint venture company between Yorkcourt Developments and Henry Boot Plc, which has arisen through a Section 106 planning agreement as well as “other private funds facilitated by the club’s shareholders.”
Trinity Chairman John Minards is anxious to see the plans implemented, with Wakefield supporters having had to suffer barbs from their opponents for many years about the state of their stadium.
“The lodging of this planning application is an important milestone in our journey to redevelop Belle Vue,” said Minards.
“The structure of the existing East Stand dates from 1924 and the new stand will provide first-class 21st century facilities for our spectators, which are well overdue.
“Most importantly, however, this phase of our redevelopment plans will provide multi-functional community facilities, including conferencing and banqueting space and a café. The 4G pitch will also be available for community use as well as providing an all year-round venue for our first and youth teams.”
The development will cost around £10 million, with the majority of the investment coming from the section 106 agreement.
“We would expect a period of up to twelve weeks for the planning application to be decided and then we would theoretically be ready to go in March, although we would prefer to start the building process in the off-season, for obvious reasons,” Minards told League Express.
“We are comfortable we have sufficient funds for the project without having to ask for additional funds from our banks, but through private investment.
“The new East Stand will have a flagship corporate facility for 250 people with doors and windows onto the pitch but there won’t be corporate boxes.
“The 4G pitch is an important part of the project because we want the stadium to be available for frequent use and many clubs in both codes of rugby now utilise pitches of this type.
“We probably play at the oldest Rugby League ground in the world, given that Wakefield moved to Belle Vue in the 1870s, so, like many Wakefield supporters, I am glad we will be staying in our spiritual home.”
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