English Super League club Wakefield Trinity has hailed the signing of an agreement that will allow redevelopment of its Be Well Support Stadium at Belle Vue to commence in earnest.
The S106 Agreement, between the rugby league club, Newmarket Lane Limited and Wakefield Council, covers both the redevelopment of the stadium as well as Plot 8 at Newmarket Lane, Wakefield. The latter parcel of land was originally intended to be the site of a new stadium, but will instead be developed commercially under the new venture.
Trinity has called Belle Vue home since 1895 and preliminary work on the stadium redevelopment is already well underway. The club yesterday (Monday) said it anticipates pressing ahead with the major structural work, commencing with the demolition of the existing East Stand, from July 4, after the home game against Wigan Warriors.
Wakefield Trinity chairman, John Minards, said: “This marks another significant milestone. The S106 Agreement, together with the contribution from Wakefield Council via the Sports Resilience Fund means that we now not only have the planning permission for our planned redevelopment but, importantly, have the funding confirmed as in place.
“It is now three years since we completed the purchase of the freehold of the stadium. I am delighted that we finally got to this important stage despite the headwinds of the global pandemic and ongoing world events which have threatened to blow us off course.
“We remain resolutely committed to delivering the Community Stadium for both the club and the people of Wakefield and are grateful to all the parties who are helping us get there.”
Cllr Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council, added: “I am very pleased for Wakefield Trinity and its supporters that plans for the redevelopment of the stadium are moving forward. Rugby league is hugely important to our district, and I am delighted that the grant from our Rugby League Resilience Fund, is helping Wakefield Trinity to progress with these exciting plans.”
The latest news comes after Trinity was given the green light for the major redevelopment of its Belle Vue stadium back in December.
Wakefield Council approved the club’s planning application which paved the way for work to start on the £12m (€14.4m/$15.9m) redevelopment, devised by AFL Architects, in early 2022. The work was subject to the necessary statutory consents and formal signing of a S106 Agreement.
The plans, which have been developed since Trinity purchased the freehold of the 9,000-capacity venue in March 2019, include construction of a new 2,500-seater East Stand to include a large hospitality and conferencing facility. A 4G pitch suitable for all weather use by both club and the community will be installed.
The West Yorkshire club will also renovate the North Stand terracing to provide an upgrade to spectator amenity in that part of the ground and an increase overall ground capacity. Existing floodlights will be upgraded to the latest LED technology.
Trinity’s plans feature the refurbishment of the existing ‘Rollin Shack’ to provide a multi-functional leisure space including a café and club retail facility.
The approval came more than four years after the club agreed to a redevelopment plan put forward by Wakefield Council in September 2017. The club had previously been focused on developing a new home elsewhere in the city.
In 2012, the club was granted outline planning permission to build a new 12,000-capacity stadium on the site of the former Newmarket Silkstone Colliery, close to junction 30 of the M62.
Image: AFL Architects