Wakefield Trinity’s hopes of redeveloping its current Belle Vue home have been dealt a blow after the local council revealed that talks with the English Super League rugby league club over the proposed project have stalled.
Last month, the team revealed plans for a £12m (€13.5m/$15.9m) project to construct a new 10,000-capacity community stadium on the Belle Vue site.
Trinity initially struggled to win approval from Wakefield Council, but eventually came to an agreement for the initiative, which would also see retail, residential and entertainment development at the site.
However, according to the BBC, Wakefield Council has now said that club owners have rejected “previously agreed plans” regarding rent and management at the new facility and has been forced to pursue “alternative agreements”.
The council has also said Trinity owners, Michel Carter and Chris Brereton, are keen to build the stadium “at no cost to them” as well as retain “sale control over its income and operations”.
The news will come as a huge blow to Trinity, which faces having to leave Belle Vue, its home since 1895, as it does not meet minimum ground standards for the top-tier Super League.
Andrew Wallhead, corporate director for regeneration and economic growth at Wakefield Council, 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 is unbelievable.
“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.”
A spokeswoman for Wakefield Trinity confirmed that the club’s owners will be “Taking legal advice before making any further comment”.
Image: Chris Morgan