Wakefield Trinity Wildcats look to have a new home after receiving notification that the Secretary of State has provisionally passed planning permission for the Newmarket Development that will include a Community Stadium, subject to receiving some extra information.
The inspector has recommended that planning permission is granted subject to the submission of a completed planning obligation and answers to his queries and questions.
The Secretary of State has given eight weeks from today for this additional information to be provided from the developers. If this is not received by August 15, he will reconsider his provisional approval.
The 12,000 capacity stadium at junction 30 of the M62 is expected to be complete in time for the Wildcats to take their place as anchor tenants at the beginning on the 2015 season and will be owned by the Wakefield & District Community Trust, also providing much needed sporting facilities for the district.
A planning inquiry into the development took place during December 2011 after the initial application was called in 2010, with ultimately the only opposition coming from Leeds City Council who cited the use of greenbelt land and a possible blurring of the boundaries between Leeds and Wakefield for their opposition.
However, the Local Development Framework report released last week freed the land at the former Silkstone Colliery site from greenbelt status, enabling it to be available for commercial use and also rejected the claims that any development on the site would significantly erode the boundaries between the two cities.
This was an important report and one that raised hopes further of planning permission being passed but it was not until today that formal confirmation was received about the outcome of the planning inquiry specific to Newmarket.
The outcome brings to an end many years of false dawns for Wildcats supporters on a number of different new stadium proposals and follows much hard work from a number of people and groups including the club, Wakefield District Council, Wakefield and District Community Trust, Yorkcourt Properties, Stadium Wakefield Action Group (SWAG) and Residents for Newmarket.
Wildcats Chief Executive, James Elston says the decision is one of the most significant days in the clubs history.
“This is fantastic news and is a decision that provides security for the club’s long term future which now looks even brighter,” said Elston.
“The Rapid Solicitors Stadium, Belle Vue is an historic venue in rugby league and one that has provided so many great memories for people over 100 years but in order for the club to kick-on we needed the Newmarket development to get the green light and now our supporters can look forward to seeing us playing in facilities that are befitting of them and this great club.
“It is also excellent news for the district as a whole which has been desperate for facilities of this quality for a long time and with our strong links with the local community we can all look forward to a fantastic sporting future for Wakefield.
Chairman Andrew Glover added: “I’d echo the words of James and I’d like to thank the work that took place before I took ownership of the club, and the work from SWAG and Sir Rodney Walker at the Wakefield and District Community Trust, in particular.
“Having spoken to the developer I am fully confident that the deadline for the additional information will be met and the hard work of getting the build to a start point can begin.”
Cllr Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “We welcome the Secretary of State’s initial decision which supports what our planning committee was minded to do when we received this application. This step forward is excellent news for the regeneration of the district and yet another way of creating jobs and generating future economic growth, building on the success of what has already been achieved.
“We look forward to the development of a major community sports facility in Wakefield, which will benefit not only Wakefield Trinity Wildcats but other sports organisations and the wider local business community.
“Wakefield Trinity has long battled for a new stadium and this proposed decision gives the club a way forward and a more secure footing in the Super League. We will continue to work closely with the club and will support all three of the rugby league clubs in the district and are doing what we can to ensure they all have a bright and successful future.”
The Stadium Box Office will be closed from 3pm today. You can still but your Wildcats merchandise and tickets at our Ridings Centre Store.
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.