Castleford Tigers remain confident about the future of their new stadium project after reports suggested construction work is about to begin.
After months of standstill, developers Lateral Property Group have now made an application for a Certificate of Lawful Development with Wakefield Council, which signals the beginning of the construction process on the 10,000-capacity stadium, retail park and associated Axiom development.
A spokesperson for Wakefield Council told TheStadiumBusiness.com that the application is still under assessment at the current time. Unconfirmed local reports suggest land has begun to be excavated at the site – some five years after the project was given planning permission and more than a year after work was scheduled to start.
While local reporters and Wakefield Council are said to have struggled to contact the developer, a Tigers source said recent conversations between the club and Lateral Property Group have reiterated both sides’ confidence that the project will be completed. Although the club is aware of the reports about the progress, it is thought they will leave any official update to the developers.
The Axiom development – then called Five Towns Park – was given approval by the local authorities back in 2015, and Tigers chairman Steve Gill in 2017 said the club would be at its new home by 2020. Artist’s impressions of the £160m development were released in 2018 with Lateral Property Group saying the first bricks would be laid in 2019, with hopes of it being completed by 2021.
However, work failed to begin on the site last year with the company blaming the uncertainty around Brexit.
In a statement, Lateral said more than £30m had already been spent on the project, with several major chains keen on taking retail space.
A Lateral spokesperson said at the time: “We are making excellent progress, but we do have frustrations on project delays, which are primarily caused by uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
“Whilst we have made representations to 10 Downing Street as the single most important socio-economic regeneration project in the region, the politics around Brexit are completely outside of our control and we can only wait to see what happens over the coming months.”
Next to Junction 32 of the M62, the 106 acre next generation Axiom retail and leisure destination, will comprise of around 75 retail, restaurant and leisure units, alongside a new community stadium for Tigers.
Once operational, the development will create in excess of 2,000 jobs, plus around 1,100 construction jobs per annum during the 2.5 year build period.
Images: Lateral Property Group / Castleford Tigers