Page last updated at 15:29 GMT, Wednesday, 26 May 2010 16:29 UK

Row over Wakefield Wildcats stadium plan

Gordon and Rena Webster
Mr and Mrs Webster say the development would ruin their views

A row has erupted over plans for a new community stadium which would secure Wakefield Trinity Wildcats' future in the Super League.

The 240-acre site on green-belt land bordering Leeds and Wakefield would house a stadium as well as offices, warehouses and a hotel.

Leeds council described it as "an intrusion into the green belt". Some residents claimed it would ruin views.

The developers said the site was zoned as green belt but was an old colliery.

The application has been submitted to Wakefield Council for consideration. People have until Friday to comment on the plans before the council makes a decision.

However Leeds City Council said it objected to the proposal and would ask local government planning inspectors to step in if Wakefield approved the plans.

The Super League club was awarded its licence on the promise of a move from the ageing Belle Vue site.

The proposed development represents a very significant intrusion into the green belt between Leeds and Wakefield
Leeds City Council report

The Wildcats have been at Belle Vue since 1878 but the ground does not meet Super League licence criteria.

Leeds City Council said although it had no concerns over the new 12,000-seater stadium itself, it objected to its development in Newmarket Lane, Stanley, saying it would have a detrimental effect on the city's green belt.

A report by the council said: "The proposed development represents a very significant intrusion into the green belt between Leeds and Wakefield.

"Whilst sympathetic to the need to provide a new stadium for the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats rugby league team the scale and timing of the associated development is not considered to be have been adequately justified."

Wildlife impact

Gordon Webster, who has lived near the proposed site with his wife for 25 years, said the development would "totally change" the couple's way of life.

"We moved here because we were in a rural position and the area is beautiful. It's been regenerating itself over the years and this is taking it back into an industrial area," he said.

Other objections have been made about the impact on local wildlife and increased traffic.

But Phil Townsend, chairman of Stadium Wakefield Action Group, said the issue of a new venue was "do or die" for the club.

"The stadium is vital for providing sporting facilities for Wakefield," he said.

"It will be home for the Wildcats but it is also a community stadium and will be available for use for everybody."

Colin Mackie, managing director of Yorkcourt properties, the developers behind the scheme, said residents' concerns were being looked at.

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