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Page last updated at 18:22 GMT, Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Wakefield Wildcats suffer blow to new stadium plans


Wakefield have suffered a blow to their plans for a new stadium which could affect their future in Super League.

The club hope to move to a site off the M62 at Newmarket but the development has now been referred to the Secretary of State.

The delay could affect the club's need for a new ground before 2012.

Wakefield chief executive James Elston admitted: "With Super League licensing looking closely at facilities, this delay is a huge blow."

The Rugby Football League are committed to promoting one side from the Championship to Super League in 2012.

They will decide next July which club will make way. And Wakefield, along with Salford and neighbours Castleford, already know that they could lose their Super League licence unless they can move to new stadiums by 2012.

Despite Wakefield Council granting the the proposed development planning consent, part of the land is owned by Leeds City Council - which has received objections from residents.

Rugby league has been synonymous with the city of Wakefield for 137 years and this delay could put that in jeopardy

Wakefield chief executive James Elston

Sir Rodney Walker, chairman of the Wakefield and District Community Trust, said: "We are obviously deeply disappointed.

"I am astounded and I cannot understand how, on the day the Government confirm that planning decisions will be referred back to local authorities, this application has been called in.

"We believe this is only the second application to be called in since the new Coalition Government came to power."

Wakefield, who will play their final season at Belle Vue in 2011, are believed to have a contingency plan to play 10 miles away at Oakwell, home of Barnsley Football Club.

"Rugby league has been synonymous with the city of Wakefield for 137 years," said Elston. "And this delay could put that in jeopardy.

"We now need to conduct further meetings with the developer, the Community Trust and with other stakeholders to review the contingency plans that were put in place in the event of such a delay in planning."

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