1. ITV Report

Wakefield Trinity rugby stadium talks 'halted' weeks after £12m plan agreed with council

An artist's impression of the planned community stadium. Credit: Wakefield Council

Council bosses claim the owners of rugby league club Wakefield Trinity have halted talks over a new community stadium.

An agreement was reached to build a new £12million stadium on the site of the club's current Belle Vue ground last month.

It was hoped the stadium could have been ready in time for by 2020.

But Wakefield Council put out a statement today claiming the club is unwilling to pay any costs for the stadium build, while still wanting to retain control over its income and operations.

The fact that the club’s owners will not consider paying a fair commercial rent alongside other tenants in a stadium owned and operated by a charitable trust is unbelievable, especially as we understand that the Super League deal with Sky pays them a significant sum to cover accommodation costs including reasonable rentals.

We have worked tirelessly to bring the option of building a brand new stadium at Belle Vue to the table and we are ready and willing to commit our finances so that the project could move forward quickly and deliver a new home for rugby in the city.

We were disappointed and surprised by the suggestion that, instead of the agreed plan, we should now consider developing the stadium in Thornes Park at public expense.

It is incredible that the club’s owners expect a stadium to be delivered at no cost to them and without having to pay a normal rent. No one could deliver a community stadium without a contribution from the main tenant and public money cannot be used to finance a project where the ultimate proceeds sit within a private company.

– Andrew Wallhead, corporate director for regeneration at Wakefield Council

A Wakefield Trinity spokeswoman said the club is aware of the council's comments and will be seeking legal advice before making any further comment.