Wakefield Trinity Wildcats chairman Michael Carter has insisted the city’s council have to decide whether they want a professional sports side in the area, after the club were left in the dark again over plans for their community stadium.
The developer for the new site at Newmarket where Wakefield’s proposed new stadium will be has pressed on with their building plans, whilst the Wildcats are still unclear about when they can start working on the ground – if at all.
And Carter was insistent in his demands for the council to give the club clarity on what the plans are – and says they are now considering strong options after the latest developments.
“There was a public enquiry which approved the development at Newmarket, strongly based around the fact that the plans would include a community stadium for Wakefield,” he told League Express.
“Basically the developer has been able to develop up there and they’ve been able to circumvent the 106 agreement that’s been put in place. Their first development is up; it’s 42 metres high and it’s a monstrosity of a building, and we haven’t got a spade in the ground.
“I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the council have washed their hands of the whole process. They say that they aren’t a party to any agreement, and I think that’s pretty ridiculous.
“We’re at the point now where we have nothing at all, we’ve nothing to lose and we’re going down the route of looking at what we can do legally. There’s already talk of pledges and building up a fighting fund for legal advice which I think will be the next step now.”
Carter insists that the current facilities in the city are “disgusting”, and says that with the money the club are outlaying on maintaining Belle Vue, the club could even be forced to move out of the city in the coming years.
“The facilities in this city are pretty disgusting; you look at what’s around us in Doncaster, Barnsley and Sheffield – they’ve all got decent facilities and we’ve got nothing.
He added: “I need to sit down with Chris (Brereton) as both of us are majority shareholders, but we’re looking at what happens next.
“To continue at Belle Vue is costing us £250,000 a year, and we’re going to have to look further afield. If that means moving to Barnsley or Doncaster, it’s a tough decision but it’s one we may have to make.”
When asked if the club could stay at their current ground in the long term, he admitted that for the financial stability of the club, it is an option that seems unlikely.
“I don’t think staying here long term is an option unfortunately,” said Carter.
“It’s just unfeasible to spend so much money a year on the ground; when you put it into context we’re paying £250,000 on the upkeep of the ground – we only spend six times that on our first team squad. It’s a valuable part of our income that’s just being thrown down the drain.
“The message to the council is simple – do you actually want a professional sports team in the city? They’ve lost their rugby union team and there’s no professional football side in the city, and the Rugby League team is on the verge of leaving.
“The people at the club who’ve been involved with this for a lot longer than me must feel used. 15,000 people signed a petition which got that development passed and they must feel used too, because the developer has got exactly what they wanted – 84 hectares of land which they can build on.
“The people of Wakefield have got nothing; they were promised a community stadium and used is very much an apt word.”