Mary Creagh and Ed Balls, commenting on the Wakefield Wildcats Stadium, said:
“Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ proud history is at the heart of the city’s sporting life. We have supported the community stadium process for several years, contacting Wakefield Council on several occasions. We will continue to work with the community stadium trust, fans and the Council to secure the future of the club and the new stadium. We stand ready to support the club in any way we can.”
Mary’s letter to Wakefield Council and full response from the Council Chief Executive:
From: Wakefield Constituency Office
Sent: 02 April 2015 15:43
To: Box, Peter (Cllr); Wallhead, Andrew; Roney, Joanne
Subject: Wakefield Wildcats Stadium
Re: Wakefield Wildcats Stadium
I am contacting you in relation to the recent developments of the Community Stadium for Wakefield Wildcats (‘the Club’).
I recently spoke to David Hinchcliffe regarding this matter, and I am concerned about the future of the Stadium. I have also been contacted by a number of fans and supporters. They all have questions over Wakefield Council’s position on Section 106 from York Court Properties.
Can the Council provide me with a schedule and indication of how much money you expect to receive in S106 payments from York Court? How much money, if any has already been received by the council? If no payments have been made what are the trigger points for York Court to start building the stadium?
There have been suggestions that the Club may want to purchase its ground. Is there any possibility that Wakefield Council can act as guarantors for the Club to enable them to buy the land? I understand the club are currently paying £10,000 per month in rent to hire the Stadium from the Bank of Ireland. Buying the ground would greatly reduce the Club’s running costs.
I would be grateful if you could look into this issue as a matter of urgency, and send me a response.
Date: Thursday, April 9, 2015
Subject: RE: Wakefield Wildcats Stadium
To: “Wakefield Constituency Office
Wakefield Community Stadium
I refer to your below email to Andy Wallhead regarding comments around Newmarket and the proposal for the delivery of a new community stadium.
I understand and share the concerns of the Trust, members and fans.
I have therefore set out below the decision making process the Council went through.
In preparing the Local Development Framework for Wakefield, the Council produced a Core Strategy that identified the need to find an additional 95 hectares of land for B8 for warehousing and storage uses. The Core Strategy underwent public examination and was found to be “sound” by an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State. It was adopted as policy by the Council in 2009. A process was also undertaken to identify development sites to meet this additional need for warehousing and storage uses; the Newmarket site being one of them. The Newmarket site and other development sites were subject to an examination in public and subsequently found to be “sound” by the inspector and incorporated into the adopted Sites Allocations Document.
At the same time Yorkcourt Properties submitted a planning application on the Newmarket site allocation which proposed a Community Stadium, business units, a hotel, a food unit and associated roads and infrastructure. This permission was approved by the Secretary of State following a 3 week call in Inquiry. That permission was accompanied by a Section 106 unilateral agreement. The Council were not party to that unilateral agreement which was signed by Yorkcourt alone and set out their intention to let the Stadium construction contract, provided the finance for the stadium was available and once 60,000 sqm of B8 warehousing had been built. A planning condition was also attached to the Consent issued by the Secretary of States that states:
“No more than 60,000m2 of the B8 development shall be occupied unless and until the stadium is completed to its design capacity of 12,000 so as to be capable of staging a Rugby Super League match attended by the public and the stadium and its ancillary elements have received all necessary safety and other certificates to allow it to be used for that purpose.”
A subsequent and separate proposal came forward by Yorkcourt Properties and Newcold Ltd for a cold food distribution warehouse within the Newmarket site. The proposal was for a 22,300sqm facility. This was submitted as a separate full planning application and was not linked to the development proposal referred to above that was given consent by the Secretary of State. As you are aware, the decision to put in a new application was that of the developers not the council, and we were duty bound to consider the application. The developer’s reasons for submitting a separate full planning application stem from the proposed size of the Newcold building which did not fall within the parameters of the approved outline consent issued by the Secretary of State.
I can confirm that there was no Section 106 Agreement to link this development with the funding of a community stadium as the size of development (22,300sqm) is below the 60,000sqm threshold for contributing toward the stadium that was set out in the original outline application issued by the Secretary of State. A meeting with the Trust Chair, myself and Andy Wallhead was held at that time and it was discussed that there would be no linkage with the Newcold development. I can also confirm that no objections to the planning application were subsequently received from the Trust or its members.
The Planning Committee made the decision to approve the development in the full knowledge of all material considerations not least that it would generate approximately 154 full time jobs. The report to the committee made clear that the planning application had been submitted as a stand-alone proposal, and was not covered by the outline conditions or unilateral undertaking issued by the Secretary of State.
The decision of the Committee was therefore taken in a very open way and the key participants in the creation of a community stadium were aware of the details being considered by the Planning and Highways Committee.
With regards to the possibility of the Council providing funds to purchase the ground at Belle Vue, I would highlight two issues:
1. At its last meeting the Trust members agreed by a majority to focus its aspirations on a new build option at Newmarket and not to pursue a redevelopment of Belle Vue.
2. In any event the Council is not in a position to loan to the Trust the monies required and in this regard, I enclose a letter recently sent by the Council’s Deputy Leader to the Trust Chair.
The Council will continue to assist the Trust in its aspirations to develop a new stadium at Newmarket by directing appropriate development to that site. However, the delivery of a new facility is principally a matter for the Trust not the Council.
JOANNE RONEY OBE