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Men's Rugby League Wakefield set to redevelop Belle Vue

Wakefield will carry out a phased redevelopment of the club’s ageing Belle Vue ground after buying back the freehold.

Trinity used a £3.15 million loan facilitated by Wakefield Council to purchase the freehold of both the stadium and adjoining land which once housed the Wakefield Theatre Club.

The purchase was completed on Thursday and chairman John Minards says he hopes work on redeveloping the ground, which has been the club’s home since the late 1870s, will begin “in months rather than years.”

“This is the end of the beginning,” said Minards, who says the original plan to move into a purpose-built stadium at Newmarket has not yet been consigned to history but says the preferred option is to remain at Belle Vue.

“We are talking to a number of parties and the developer is one of them,” he added.

“We are absolutely committed to providing community facilities and we’re looking at a number of options. Nothing is off the table.

“Our aim is to provide a viable and sustainable Super League team that is in the heart of the community.”

Minards says there is potential for a retail outlet at the ground as the club seek to expand the stadium’s use and they have begun preliminary talks with the newly formed Wakefield AFC, who will initially play their home games at Pontefract Collieries with the aim of eventually moving into a redeveloped Belle Vue.

“Using the ground 15 times a year doesn’t make economic sense,” he said. “We have to find other uses.”

Minards says the scale of redevelopment is dependent on the amount of funding the club are able to acquire and that work is likely to be undertaken in phases, starting most likely with renovation of the main stand.

“We would like to start in a matter of months rather than years and we’d like not to move away while the work goes on,” he said. “It will clearly take a year or two.

“We have seen with Leeds how they managed to play broadly throughout the redevelopment of Headingley. That is the blueprint.”

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