English Super League club Wakefield Trinity has agreed a deal to acquire the freehold of Belle Vue and its adjoining land in what is set to herald redevelopment of one of rugby league’s most historic venues.
The West Yorkshire club was founded in 1873 and has played in Belle Vue since the late 1870s. The acquisition marks the first stage in the redevelopment of the stadium, which has a current capacity of around 9,000.
The announcement appears to end any doubts over where the club will be based in the long-term. Wakefield Council revealed a redevelopment plan for Belle Vue in September 2017, which the club agreed to in December of that year having previously been focused on developing a new home elsewhere in the city.
Wakefield Trinity chairman, John Minards, said: “This is an historic day for our great club. We are the owners of our stadium once again, having first purchased it in 1893. In completing this purchase, we are grateful for the support of Wakefield Council, without whom it would not have been possible, as well as our former landlord, 88m Group.
“While it is great news to be owners of our own ground, this is only very much the first stage of our redevelopment plans and we continue to be in active discussions with a number of parties as we progress towards our ambitions for a world class Community Stadium fit for the 21st century.
“This is a club with great traditions and high ambitions. Since joining the board in November I have been working with our chief executive, Michael Carter, to explore how we develop our stadium to match the quality of the team we put on the field following our two consecutive top-five Super League finishes in the last two years, while maintaining the financial stability that the management team have brought about since 2014.”
Deputy Leader of Wakefield Council, Denise Jeffrey, added: “The City of Wakefield is famous across the world because of Wakefield Trinity and we are delighted to have played a part in ensuring that the city’s only professional sports club is staying at its traditional home. We look forward to continue to work closely with the club as it develops the stadium.”
Image: Wakefield Council