Fresh details have emerged of Castleford Tigers’ plans to redevelop Wheldon Road as the Super League club looks to generate new revenue streams.
Back in November, the Tigers pivoted away from plans to develop a new stadium in favour of redeveloping its historic Wheldon Road home. The club is in discussions with Wakefield Council and the owners of the proposed new stadium site at Junction of the M62 motorway about the possibility of staying at a revamped Wheldon Road rather than relocating.
The decision came after Wakefield Council announced its intention to give up to £2m (€2.4m/$2.7m) to the Tigers as part of a new Rugby League Resilience Fund to invest in Wheldon Road, which is commonly known as The Jungle.
This would coincide with the Axiom scheme at Junction 32 being refocused away from retail and leisure uses, with a high-quality employment and commercial development being proposed in its place.
Tigers chief executive Mark Grattan has confirmed that the club’s preference is to redevelop Wheldon Road, with Yorkshire Live reporting that the project will cost between £8m and £10m. The project will be part-funded by the council grant, with the original Axiom developers also set to contribute.
If Castleford’s plans to redevelop Wheldon Road are approved in the summer, the project is slated to take around 18 months. It is hoped a revamped Wheldon Road can generate an extra £1m per year for the Tigers.
“The main hospitality building will stay, and a new main stand will be built which will house a 200-suite restaurant, 12 boxes, a gymnasium and four changing rooms underneath it,” Grattan said, according to Yorkshire Live.
“We’ll go all the way around to the corner of the Railway End with that. There’ll be a 4G training pitch with automated turnstiles and we’ll tidy the rest of the stadium to make it look fresh and modern.
“Obviously, £2m doesn’t get anywhere near achieving that so we’ll need a contribution from developers around the size of the one Wakefield Trinity have just received. We’re in the same situation as them, with a developer who’s willing to change the 106 agreement at Axiom to give us the funds to develop up here.
“They just need their consent on that change from shopping centre to warehouse and distribution, then they’ll contribute a significant sum of money getting the stadium up to standard. It’ll give us 400 covers on hospitality, more boxes and you can turn it into a top-class Super League facility.”
Castleford will continue playing at Wheldon Road while the work is carried out, but the stadium is set to operate at a reduced capacity. Full details of the plans are set to be released by the club in the coming weeks.
Image: Castleford Tigers