Talks halted over Wakefield Trinity’s latest stadium plan

A plan to redevelop Wakefield Trinity’s Belle Vue ground has collapsed after the latest stadium talks between the club and Wakefield Council broke down.

Last month, the council announced a new deal which would see the club remain at Belle Vue next season ahead of building work starting on its redevelopment.

The deal was agreed in principle last month.

Trinity owners Michael Carter and Chris Brereton had confirmed their agreement in principle to the deal.

But it has stalled after a disagreement over rent and control of income from the redeveloped stadium, according to a statement released by Wakefield Council.

It said: “Wakefield Council announced last month that it would take out a lease on the Belle Vue site to speed up the delivery of the new project, an offer which still stands.

“However, the club’s owners have now rejected these plans and instead suggested that the stadium be built at no cost to them, while retaining sole control over its income and operations.”

It is the latest breakdown in negotiations over plans for a community stadium which would be up to Super League standards for Trinity.

Andy Wallhead, the local authority’s corporate director for regeneration, said Trinity’s owners told the council they would pursue alternative arrangements to the latest proposal.

Mr Wallhead said: “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 in unbelievable, especially as we understand that the Super League deal with Sky pays them a significant sum to cover accommodation costs including reasonable rentals.”

Newmarket Lane near Stanley was originally going to be the location of the community stadium.

That plan was off the table when the redevelopment of Belle Vue was proposed last month.

Mr Wallhead said it was suggested during the talks that Thornes Park should instead become the venue of the community stadium - an idea which was scrapped in 2008.

He said: “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 in unbelievable, especially as we understand that the Super League deal with Sky pays them a significant sum to cover accommodation costs including reasonable rentals.”

The council’s statement quotes Manni Hussain, chairman of 88m Group, which owns Belle Vue, as saying: “We are without question behind the council and will work with them to finally resolve this issue.

“We want to continue to help the club to deliver a new community stadium for the 2019-20 season.”

Wakefield Trinity’s owner Michael Carter has been contacted for a comment.

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