Castleford Tigers confirms plan for Wheldon Road upgrade

Super League club Castleford Tigers has confirmed infrastructure and financial details for a major redevelopment of its Wheldon Road ‘Jungle’ stadium after shelving proposals for a new home arena near the M62 motorway.

The club is working with Highgrove Group, the owners of the previously proposed Junction 32 site, on development plans that would “bring Wheldon Road up to modern standards”.

The club proposes to demolish and rebuild the Main Stand, and modernise the existing Princess Street Stand, Railway End and Wheldon Road End. There would also be new fan facilities, food and drink outlets, four new changing rooms, a new gymnasium, additional medical and physiotherapy facilities, new staff and foundation offices and hospitality suites.

The club said it hopes to follow a similar funding mechanism to local rivals Wakefield Trinity, combining outside finance with cash from the local authority. Highgrove Group has agreed to provide funds towards improvements to Wheldon Road, with a further £2m to come from Wakefield Council’s Rugby League Resilience Fund grant announced at the end of last year. It has previously been estimated that the project could cost up to £10m.

Highgrove Group is proposing to submit a planning application over the summer which would repurpose the approved Axiom retail and leisure development at Junction 32 into an employment site.

Mark Grattan, Castleford Tigers’ managing director, said: “There has long been a need for serious investment into the fabric of Wheldon Road. We spend large sums each year on maintenance, but this is really just applying a sticking plaster. What the stadium needs is a full revamp, befitting of our status as a Super League club.

“Following Wakefield Council’s announcement regarding their Rugby League Resilience Fund, and Wakefield Trinity’s recent successful planning approval, we have been working closely with Highgrove Group to secure the additional funds necessary to make Wheldon Road fit for the future. We are delighted to provide details of our plans with Highgrove Group to fund major investment into our historic home using funds raised, should proposed new employment development come to fruition at the Axiom site.”

The newly released images show how Wheldon Road would look after the redevelopment plan is completed. They have been developed by WMA, the Sheffield-based architects that also progressed plans for the J32 project.

A Highgrove Group spokesperson said: “We are delighted to provide details of the plans we have developed with Castleford Tigers to support redevelopment of the Wheldon Road stadium should the Axiom site be successfully repurposed for employment development. Highgrove Group is currently working on a planning application and intends to start community consultation in the coming months.”

Images: Castleford Tigers/WMA