UpFront: Traditional homes to be revitalised

It’s no good being a dinosaur, especially in an era where some aspects of life advance so rapidly.

But neither is there anything wrong with a bit of tradition, and it’s been interesting to see two proud old clubs push forward projects to redevelop their existing centrally-located grounds after exploring the possibility of building new homes in farther-away spots.

After Wakefield Trinity come neighbours Castleford Tigers, both of whom, along with Featherstone Rovers, could benefit from a £2 million ground improvement grant from Wakefield Council.

The Council’s planned Rugby League Resilience Fund could provide all three with a financial boost and help each grow grass-roots sports and community use of their facilities.

Many say that while Featherstone might be playing in the Championship, thanks to steady investment and improvements, they have a better stadium than either of the two clubs who currently enjoy the Super League status ambitious Rovers so crave.

Wakefield and Castleford have long come in for criticism over the tired condition of the Mobile Rocket Stadium (Belle Vue) and Mend-A-Hose Jungle (Wheldon Road) respectively.

Trinity, having bought the freehold on their ground and surrounding land with the aid of a loan from the Council, have submitted plans to build a new touchline East Stand, upgrade the existing North Terrace and transform the building in the South-East corner of the stadium into a ‘community hub’.

New floodlights have been installed while an artificial pitch will be laid, enabling increased use, and the car park resurfaced.

It’s hoped that by the club’s 150th anniversary year in 2023 their home will have a bright new look.

Meanwhile, as our report on page six of League Express explains, Castleford appear to have kicked into touch the proposal for a new stadium at Glasshoughton near to the M62 motorway as part of the Axiom shopping-centre scheme, instead preferring to rebuild their existing base.

The key to the Tigers’ plans is the erection of a modern replacement for the existing stand, while the other three sides will also be redeveloped.

“We welcome the Council’s announcement on making a contribution towards our plans to improve our home stadium on Wheldon Road,” said Tigers managing director Mark Grattan.

“Being realistic about the timeframes to deliver the retail and leisure development with the new stadium following the Covid-19 pandemic, from the club’s perspective, we believe that the time is right to explore the option of staying at our historic home.

“We believe that, although major new investment is needed to improve the existing stadium, this would now be in the best long-term interests of Castleford Tigers.”

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