CASTLEFORD TIGERS’ plans for a new stadium moved a significant step closer yesterday when local councillors gave the go-ahead for a major retail development.
Members of Wakefield Council’s planning committee approved the outline application for a £135m project for a Five Towns Park on land just off the M62 motorway at junction 32.
The development includes a 10,000-capacity stadium for the Tigers as well as a new food store, shops and a country park.
The proposal will now go before Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Local Government, who has the power to order a public inquiry.
“It’s a bit like getting over Becher’s Brook,” said Castleford chief executive Steve Gill. “It’s a massive relief considering the amount of time and effort that has been put in to get to this stage.
“There’s still a fair way to go but the vote was unanimous and I hope that will be taken into account when it goes before Eric Pickles.
“It’s a major step towards getting a new stadium and providing nearly 2,000 jobs which will transform the area.”
Unless the application is referred, work could start on the project later this year.
Gill insists Castleford need to move into a new stadium to preserve their Super League status, arguing that the club’s ageing current home on Wheldon Road is no longer sustainable.
Hock encouraged to find different job
FORMER England forward Gareth Hock could be on his way out of Salford, according to owner Marwan Koukash.
The 31-year-old former Wigan second rower was this week given a six-match ban by the Rugby Football League after being found guilty of two separate offences of kneeing opponents.
Hock was penalised for the first offence on winger Tommy Makinson during the Red Devils’ 52-6 home defeat by St Helens last Thursday and later sin-binned for a similar foul on prop Mose Masoe.
No stranger to controversy, he missed the end of last season after being banned for seven games for deliberately making contact with a referee and will now be sidelined until Easter Monday.
“It’s up to Gareth now,” said Koukash. “But I think, sitting with him at the weekend talking with him about his future in rugby league, maybe the time has come for Gareth to see what else he wants to do other than rugby league.”
Hock served a two-year ban from 2009-10 for cocaine use and was thrown out of the England squad on the eve of the 2013 World Cup for a breach of discipline. He could also be in trouble with the RFL over an alleged breach of discipline relating to a message the player posted on his Twitter account.
Bulls melee at Leigh produces charges
FOUR players have been charged with striking offences during Bradford Bulls’ ill-tempered Championship game against Leigh Centurions.
Bradford winger Danny Williams is charged with Grade C repeated punching for the incident that led to his yellow card but Leigh’s Adam Higson – who wasn’t dismissed – is on the same charge for fighting in the aftermath.
Leigh’s Tommy Goulden must answer a Grade C running in and punching charge for his part in the ensuing melee, while Bulls scrum-half Harry Siejka has been charged with Grade C reckless striking for a different incident that led to his own yellow card.
Each player has until 11am on Tuesday to submit early guilty pleas.
Impressive Mulhern gets his reward from Rhinos
LEEDS RHINOS have given 20-year-old prop Rob Mulhern the final spot in their Super League squad, along with a new three-year contract.
The Rhinos kept open the No 25 shirt when they announced their squad late last year but say the former Normanton youngster deserves the promotion after impressing in pre-season.
Mulhern, who made three Super League appearances last season and played for Ireland in the European Championship, is currently playing for Championship neighbours Hunslet on dual registration but is tipped for a bright future by Leeds coach Brian McDermott.
“Rob has impressed everyone at the club with his work rate and attitude over the last few years,” said McDermott.
“Rob has impressed everyone at the club with his work rate and attitude over the last few years,” McDermott said. “He will really benefit from playing in the Championship with Hunslet at the moment as he has only played for the Under-19s up until this point.
“He is aware that he still has a lot of work to do but he has earned this recognition and I am looking forward to working with him for the next three years and hopefully beyond.”