The future of Wakefield Trinity’s hopeful redevelopment of Belle Vue appears to be up in the air again after Wakefield Council accused the Super League club’s owners of halting the latest round of talks on the proposal.
All parties have a pre-determined deadline until the end of this month to agree a heads of terms proposal for the redevelopment of Belle Vue, which was hopeful of being complete by the start of the 2020 season.
But, in a statement, the Council insisted that talks have now broken down after Trinity rejected plans concerning paying a commercial rent in the new community stadium.
They said: Andrew Wallhead, Wakefield Council’s Corporate Director for Regeneration and Economic Growth, said: “The fact that the club’s owners will not consider paying a fair commercial rent alongside other tenants in a stadium owned and operated by a charitable trust in unbelievable, especially as we understand that the Super League deal with Sky pays them a significant sum to cover accommodation costs including reasonable rentals.”
Wallhead also insisted that the Council have not wavered in their support of the project.
He continued: “We have worked tirelessly to bring the option of building a brand new stadium at Belle Vue to the table and we are ready and willing to commit our finances so that the project could move forward quickly and deliver a new home for rugby in the City.
“We were disappointed and surprised by the suggestion that, instead of the agreed plan, we should now consider developing the stadium in Thornes Park at public expense.
“It is incredible that the club’s owners expect a stadium to be delivered at no cost to them and without having to pay a normal rent. No one could deliver a community stadium without a contribution from the main tenant and public money cannot be used to finance a project where the ultimate proceeds sit within a private company.”
Manni Hussain, Chairman of 88m Group – the owners of Belle Vue – said: “We are without question behind the Council and will work with them to finally resolve this issue. We want to continue to help the club to deliver a new community stadium for the 2019/20 season.”
Wakefield Trinity have issued a brief statement revealing that the club will seek legal advice before commenting in detail on the press release issued by the local authority