Castleford Tigers ‘The Jungle’ major rejig nod


Planning application for Castleford Tigers approved Image: Castleford Tigers

Planning applications for a major upgrade to the Wheldon Road Stadium in Castleford, West Yorkshire, England (UK) – home of the professional rugby league club Castleford Tigers – and a significant new employment development on the Axiom site, at Junction 32 on the M62, were both approved by the Wakefield Council’s Planning and Highways Committee on February 15th.

The 10,500-capacity Wheldon Road Stadium (known as the Mend-A-Hose Jungle for sponsorship purposes) is the home ground of the Castleford Tigers Rugby league club in Castleford, West Yorkshire, England (UK). It is on Wheldon Road, just outside the Castleford town centre.

The Castleford Tigers are a professional rugby league club in Castleford, West Yorkshire, England (UK). They play their home games at the Wheldon Road, also known as ‘The Jungle’, and compete in the Super League, the top flight of the British rugby league system.

The Wakefield Council’s Planning and Highways Committee meets every three weeks, except in August, to consider applications for larger or more controversial developments.

‘Castleford Tigers’ quoted Mark Grattan, Castleford Tigers Rugby League Football Club (RLFC) Managing Director, as stating, “Our historic Wheldon Road home has long been in need of significant modernization. Today’s (February 15th) decision by the Planning Committee members marks another major hurdle cleared. We are grateful to the Wakefield Council’s Planning Committee members for backing their officer’s recommendation. We are also grateful to the Wakefield Council for the £2 million 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 the other professional rugby league clubs. The 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.”

The Wakefield Council’s Rugby League Resilience Fund is a £6m funding pot to support the district’s three rugby league clubs, boosting grass roots rugby and community use for other sports. It will offer a grant of up to £2m each for the Castleford Tigers, the Wakefield Trinity (a professional rugby league club which competes in the Championship, the second tier of the British rugby league system) and the Featherstone Rovers (a professional rugby league club which competes in the Championship, the second tier of the British rugby league system).

A spokesperson for Axiom Yorkshire, owners of the Junction 32 site, said, “The Wakefield Council has been rigorous in their approach to these two planning applications and we are grateful to both the Planning Committee members and the officers for the decision to approve both the proposals. As the site is within the Green Belt, the Axiom application will be referred to the National Planning Casework Unit who will advise on whether the decision by the Wakefield Council requires further scrutiny before formal planning approval is given. We would like to offer our sincere thanks to the thousands of people who supported the Wheldon Road and Axiom proposals. We will provide a further update in due course.”

The planning application for the Axiom site at Junction 32 proposes development of up to 141,085 sq. m of employment floor space, across approximately 13 units of varying sizes. The development will benefit from a total of 22 acres of public open space and landscaping, which will help to minimize the visual impacts of the development. In total, some 40,000 new trees will be planted and around three miles of new public paths and cycle routes provided, opening the site up for community use and linking the residential areas to the East of the site with Xscape, the Junction 32 Outlet Centre and the Glasshoughton Railway Station.

Axiom is a large single-phase commercial development project situated in the North of England. It will be a 43 hectare ‘next generation’ retail and leisure destination comprising in excess of 75 retail, restaurant and leisure units, along with a Community Stadium which will be home to the Castleford Tigers RLFC all set within a contemporary country park. Axiom is one of the most significant out-of-town retail developments in England and is one of the largest out-of town retail planning consents to be granted in the United Kingdom in recent years.

Axiom is located in the heart of Yorkshire, the United Kingdom’s largest county, with direct access from Junction 32 of the M62 (one mile from the A1 and eight miles from the M1).

Birmingham (UK)-based the National Planning Casework Unit (NPCU) is a unit of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). The NPCU manages planning decisions on behalf of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The NPCU processes cases, submits them to Ministers and drafts decision letters when Planning Ministers have made their decisions. The NPCU also advises Ministers on some of England’s most high-profile planning decisions.

‘Castleford Tigers’ further stated that the circa £200 million Axiom Yorkshire proposals will deliver around 141,000 sq meters 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 offsite construction jobs per year are likely to be generated at both Wheldon Road and the Axiom employment site.

Once fully operational, this significant job creation at the Axiom site is calculated to generate around £142 million of local economic activity per year. The Axiom site will also provide approximately £3.2 million per year of additional Business Rates when fully occupied.

The Axiom proposals will provide £12.2 million of funding towards major upgrades at Castleford Tigers’ Wheldon Road. A further £2 million is being provided by the Wakefield Council’s Rugby League Resilience Fund.

Axiom will also deliver £17 million of highways improvements to the Junction 32 roundabout.

The 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. The upgraded facilities at Wheldon Road will deliver major improvements to be enjoyed by all fans, including new catering facilities and toilets. Importantly, improved accessibility and much enhanced viewing areas will transform the matchday experience for fans with disabilities.

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