New stadium talks kept secret

The designs for a community stadium for Wakefield Trinity, which were approved in 2012.
The designs for a community stadium for Wakefield Trinity, which were approved in 2012.

Negotiations over a new stadium for Wakefield Trinity will not take place in public, the council leader has insisted.

Councillor Peter Box said the local authority was talking to the rugby league club and developers about the long-awaited prospect of a new ground, but would not disclose any more details.

The plans have been hit by multiple setbacks.

The plans have been hit by multiple setbacks.

Fans' hopes of a new £19m stadium on Newmarket Lane in the city have been hit by years of setbacks, after the government approved plans in 2012.

Earlier this month, the site's owners Yorkcourt were accused of "circumventing" the agreement to avoid building the ground, by Wakefield MP Mary Creagh.

In a prickly exchange with Tory group leader Nadeem Ahmed at a full council meeting, Coun Box said talks were ongoing, but he would not expand on the issue further.

Asked for an update, the council leader said: "We are talking to the owners of Belle Vue, we're talking to Yorkcourt and we're talking to other interested parties, to help deliver a community stadium.

The land on Newmarket Lane which was earmarked for the stadium. It is owned by developers Yorkcourt.

The land on Newmarket Lane which was earmarked for the stadium. It is owned by developers Yorkcourt.

But a dissatisfied Coun Ahmed responded: "That conversation's been going on for a number of years now.

"This question was actually asked by a Wakefield Trinity supporter, who asked me to ask this, based on their concerns.

"So could you just outline what the council is doing with Yorkcourt so we've got clarity?"

Coun Box replied: "I've given you the answer, it's as simple as that.

"Nobody negotiates in public. Of course we're negotiating and talking to people, but do you expect me to do it in public?"

Coun Ahmed called out, "12 years", in reference to the length of time since a move for the club away from Belle Vue was first mooted.