Featherstone Rovers ordered to “substantially” reduce capacity until crush barriers fitted

The Millennium Stadium on Post Office Road, in FeatherstoneThe Millennium Stadium on Post Office Road, in Featherstone
The Millennium Stadium on Post Office Road, in Featherstone
Featherstone Rovers has been ordered to “substantially” reduce the capacity of a stand at the club’s Millennium Stadium ground until crush barriers are fitted.

Wakefield Council served a prohibition notice on Tuesday (March 5) ordering the rugby league club to limit the numbers allowed onto the Post Office Road terrace.

The local authority took enforcement action ahead of Rovers’ Challenge Cup derby match against local rivals Wakefield Trinity.

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The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands capacity in the stand will be reduced from 2,463 to 359 until safety barriers have been fitted and tested.

Concerns relate to fears of an “imminent risk” to spectator safety unless numbers are cut.

In a statement issued today (March 8), the council’s senior planning officer Joe Jenkinson: “We and the club cannot knowingly put people in danger.”

Rovers and Trinity are due to play each other for their first competitive clash in 26 years on Sunday when they meet for the fifth round cup tie.

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A statement on Rovers’ website says: “We are disappointed to announce that we have received in the last 24 hours an instruction from Wakefield Council to substantially reduce the capacity of Post Office Road Terrace for this weekend’s game.

“We remain in dialogue with the council about the improvements which they wish to see, and will assess these improvements in accordance with our budget plans moving forward.”

The club said entrance to the terrace on Sunday will be on a “first come first served basis.”

The message adds: “The main stand, the community stand and the Stable will all be available for home fans so there will be no issues in terms of accommodating all supporters from both clubs.”

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Mr Jenkinson, the council’s service director for planning, transportation and strategic highways, said “Issuing the notice to the club was not a decision we took lightly.

“Our rugby league clubs and their fans are a hugely important part of our district and we’ll always try to support them.

“Just to clarify, we are not asking the club to make last minute improvements.”

Mr Jenksinson said the council had told the club “over the last several months” that “essential safety work needs to be carried out.”

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He added: “Without this work there is a significant safety risk on this stand, especially where large numbers are concerned.

“We and the club cannot knowingly put people in danger.

“The club assured us that the rest of the stands will provide enough capacity for the crowd expected to come along for this important derby.

“We’ll continue to do what we can to support Featherstone to carry out this essential safety work.”

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