Rugby Trade Directory

Castleford Tigers receive planning permission for ground improvements

Wakefield Council has granted planning approval for Super League club Castleford Tigers’ proposed redevelopment of its Wheldon Road stadium.

The decision by the Council’s Planning & Highways Committeecame after the scheme was recommended for approval last week. Wheldon Road will benefit from a new all-seater main stand.

As well as much improved ‘back of house’ sporting facilities for players and officials, a banqueting suite and corporate hospitality function rooms will provide new opportunities for income generation.

Upgraded facilities at Wheldon Road will deliver major improvements to the fan experience at the stadium which first opened in 1926, including new catering facilities and toilets. Improved accessibility and much enhanced viewing areas will also transform the matchday experience for fans with disabilities.

Approval for the Wheldon Road application was joined by that for a linked new employment development on the nearby Axiom site, close to the M62 motorway. The Tigers had originally targeted this site for a proposed new stadium, but in November 2021 pivoted away from this plan in favour of redeveloping its historic home.

A planning application for the new Wheldon Road vision and associated scheme was submitted in December 2022. The circa £200m (€233.­7m/$­251.­7m) Axiom Yorkshire proposals intend to deliver around 141,000 square metres of new employment, logistics and manufacturing floorspace, providing around 1,830 permanent full-time jobs in Castleford, with a further 365 ‘spin-off’ jobs created within the Wakefield Council area.

During construction approximately 1,500 on and off-site construction jobs per year are likely to be generated at both Wheldon Road and the Axiom employment site. Once fully operational, this job creation at the Axiom site is calculated to generate around £142m of local economic activity per year. The Axiom site will also provide approximately £3.2m per year of additional Business Rates when fully occupied.

The Axiom proposals will provide £12.2m of funding towards the Wheldon Road project. A further £2m is being provided by Wakefield Council’s Rugby League Resilience Fund. Mark Grattan, Castleford Tigers managing director, said: “Our historic Wheldon Road home has long been in need of significant modernisation.

“This decision by the planning committee members marks another major hurdle cleared. We are grateful to Wakefield Council’s planning committee members for backing their officer’s recommendation.

“We are also grateful to Wakefield Council for the £2m of funding through their Rugby League Resilience Fund, which will be invested in Wheldon Road. In addition, the multimillion pound private sector investment provided by the Axiom proposals will deliver a step change for the club, enabling us to secure the long-term future of the club and place us on a more equal footing with other professional rugby league clubs.

“Castleford Tigers supporters have been hugely patient and we sincerely hope that patience will soon be rewarded, when we have high quality facilities to match our rivals.”    

As the employment development site is within the Green Belt, the Axiom application will now be referred to the National Planning Casework Unit who will advise on whether the decision by Wakefield Council requires further scrutiny before formal planning approval is given.

Denise Jeffrey, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “Rugby league is a very important part of our heritage and of our future. So we are very pleased that this decision has been made. It will help the club to meet Super League standards and therefore help support top-level rugby league being played in our district.

“It’s also going to create wonderful new facilities and opportunities for the local community. This will bring many benefits to our health and wellbeing, as well as supporting the development of talented young people from our district.”

Posted in Club news on