Wakefield Trinity stadium deal in tatters as council tells developer to ‘walk away’

What next for Trinity fans as stadium saga continues?
What next for Trinity fans as stadium saga continues?

No deal has been reached on plans for a community stadium and new home for Wakefield Trinity after an agreement offered by the developer was rejected.

A new setback has hit the Newmarket Lane scheme as Trinity face a looming July 31 deadline to confirm stadium plans for next year with Rugby League bosses.

Years of planning complications have blighted the scheme, but hopes were raised last week when Wakefield Council said a written assurance was expected from developer Yorkcourt.

It would have paved the way for a new deal between the council, club, Yorkcourt and community trusts set up to get the £10m stadium built.

Now the plan is in tatters again and the developer is facing accusations of failing to provide enough information in its “heads of terms” agreement.

Wakefield Council said it would now work with “other parties” to get the stadium built.

Council leader Peter Box said: “I believe we are left with no alternative than to call on Yorkcourt to walk away from Wakefield and the Newmarket scheme and stop letting our residents down.”

Andy Wallhead, the council’s corporate director for regeneration, said Yorkcourt’s agreement did not say how the stadium would be financed or give a timescale for it being built.

He said: “The heads of terms offered by Yorkcourt lack sufficient detail to provide confidence that the development of a new community stadium would be realised by the developer.”

In response Yorkcourt said the agreement had been revised to take on board the council’s comments before being submitted.

Managing director Colin Mackie said: “Our comprehensive proposals, which identify a clear route to achieve the desired goal, were delivered to the council offices on Monday, to which we have yet to receive a response.”

But Wakefield MP Mary Creagh said she was disappointed with Yorkcourt’s heads of terms.

Ms Creagh said: “It lacks urgency, clarity and does not recognise the severe time pressures the club faces to meet Super League deadlines.

“There has been a collapse in confidence in Yorkcourt’s ability to deliver the stadium.

“Time is running out. All parties – the club, the two trusts, Wakefield Council and the developer – must either come together to move forward with the project as soon as possible, or set out clear, realistic alternative proposals to the fans and the people of Wakefield.”

The Rugby Football League allowed Trinity to play at Belle Vue this season provided that plans were being drawn up for a new stadium which would meet Super League standards.

And an RFL spokesman said: “As part of this, the Rugby Football League are expecting to hear exactly what the plans are for 2018 and beyond by the end of this month (July) and have made it clear that the current dispensation cannot simply keep being extended.”