Consent recommended for employment site and rugby stadium redevelopment

Castleford Tigers and Axiom Yorkshire have confirmed applications for a major upgrade to the Wheldon Road stadium and an employment development on the Axiom site on the M62, have been recommended for approval.

The plans will be discussed at Wakefield Council’s Planning Committee on 15 February. 

If consent is given for both projects, the circa £200m Axiom Yorkshire proposals will deliver 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.

Furthermore, 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 worth of local economic activity per year.

The Axiom proposals would provide £12.2m of funding towards the upgrades at Castleford Tigers’ Wheldon Road home.

With a further £2m from Wakefield Council’s Rugby League Resilience Fund, improvements to the stadium will bolster the club’s ability to meet the Grade A status required to secure long-term Super League status.

Proposed improvements to Wheldon Road include a new all-seater main stand and refurbishment of the three existing stands.

A new banqueting suite and corporate hospitality function will help the club to generate additional revenue, including on non-matchdays.

Axiom will also deliver £15m of highways improvements to the Junction 32 roundabout.

Mark Grattan, Castleford Tigers Rugby League Football Club managing director, said: “Everyone knows how important the club is to the town and we take seriously our responsibility to maintain professional rugby in Castleford. However, it is no secret that the available money within the sport is diminishing.  

“Without significant external funding, like that offered by the Axiom proposals, there is no realistic prospect of us raising the money required to pay for the major improvements to our stadium which are necessary over the long term. 

“In turn, significantly improved banqueting and hospitality facilities will help us to substantially increase non-matchday income to the benefit of the club.

“We are also desperately keen to improve facilities for supporters with disabilities. The proposed stadium improvements will also deliver a new base for the Tigers Foundation which does so much important work within our community.

“It is critically important we secure approval for both the planning application for the Wheldon Road improvements and the Axiom proposals which pay for them.” 

A spokesman for Axiom Yorkshire, owners of the Junction 32 site, added: “We are pleased that both planning applications have been recommended for approval by Wakefield Council’s planning officers.

“If approved the Axiom proposals alone will deliver around 2,200 permanent jobs, alongside further jobs at the stadium and during the construction period. 

“The cumulative beneficial impact of this level of job creation, combined with the social-economic benefits to the area and the circa £142m boost to the Wakefield economy, will deliver significant and lasting benefits for Castleford.”