Posted: Wednesday 7th February 2024

Planning applications for Axiom employment site proposals and Castleford Tigers stadium redevelopment recommended for approval

On behalf of the owners of the Junction 32 site and Castleford Tigers RLFC

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On behalf of the owners of the Junction 32 site and Castleford Tigers RLFC

 7 February 2024

Planning applications for Axiom employment site proposals and Castleford Tigers stadium redevelopment recommended for approval

Castleford Tigers and Axiom Yorkshire can confirm that the planning applications for a major upgrade to the Wheldon Road stadium and a significant new employment development on the Axiom site, at Junction 32 on the M62, have both been recommended for approval by Planning Officers and will be discussed at Wakefield Council’s Planning Committee on Thursday 15 February.

If planning is approved for both projects, the circa £200 million 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 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.

In addition to major economic benefits for Castleford and the surrounding area, the Axiom proposals would provide £12.2 million of funding towards major upgrades at Castleford Tigers’ Wheldon Road home. With a further £2 million from Wakefield Council’s Rugby League Resilience Fund, improvements to the Wheldon Road stadium will bolster the club’s ability to meet the Grade A status required to secure long-term Super League status.

The plans will deliver a much improved matchday experience for fans, players and officials alike. 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 much-needed additional revenue, including on non-matchdays. An upgraded stadium will also enable the Castleford Tigers Foundation to deliver additional work of social value in the community, which has been calculated as being worth the equivalent of an extra £19.6 million of spending per year.

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

According to the Council’s planning committee report, the Wheldon Road proposals have been supported by 2,256 people and the Axiom application has had 2,101 representations in support.

Mark Grattan, Castleford Tigers RLFC 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 that we secure approval for both the planning application for the Wheldon Road improvements and the Axiom proposals which pay for them.”

A spokesperson for Axiom Yorkshire, owners of the Junction 32 site said:

“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 £142 million boost to the Wakefield economy, will deliver significant and lasting benefits for Castleford. It is now for planning committee members to make their decision on both applications.”  

The planning application for the Axiom site at Junction 32 proposes development of up to 141,085 sq. m of employment floorspace, 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 minimise the visual impacts of the development. In total, some 40,000 new trees will be planted and around 3 miles of new public paths and cycle routes provided, opening the site up for community use and linking residential areas to the east of the site with Xscape, Junction 32 Outlet Centre and Glasshoughton railway station.

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. 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.