Super League: Castleford Tigers set to focus on Jungle redevelopment and scrap new stadium plans
The Tigers had been pursuing the possibility of relocating to a new purpose-built stadium at Junction 32 of the M62, but a proposal from Wakefield Council to award funding from a Rugby League Resilience Fund has led to the Super League club pivoting towards developing their home ground
By PA Media
Last Updated: 23/11/21 1:53pm
Castleford Tigers are set to scrap plans to move to a new stadium and instead develop the Wheldon Road ground which has been their home for the last 94 years.
The Super League club have been talking since 2014 about relocating to a new purpose-built stadium as part of a brand-new commercial development at Junction 32 of the M62 near Glasshoughton but are now poised to stay put at a revamped Jungle.
The move follows a proposal from Wakefield Council to give up to £2M to all three professional clubs in their district - Wakefield Trinity and Featherstone Rovers are the others - to invest in their current grounds and improve community use.
The Tigers are now considering rebuilding their main stand and modernising the other three ends to create new facilities, including food and drink outlets and hospitality suites, in an effort to improve fans' matchday experience and boost income.
"We welcome the council's announcement on making a contribution towards our plans to improve our home stadium on Wheldon Road," Castleford managing director Mark Grattan said.
"There is already an urgent need to invest significant sums to keep Wheldon Road functioning as a Super League ground.
"Being realistic about the time frames to deliver the retail and leisure development with the new stadium following the Covid-19 pandemic, from the club's perspective we believe that the time is right to explore the option of staying at our historic home.
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"We believe that, although major new investment is needed to improve the existing stadium, this would now be in the best long-term interests of Castleford."
Wheldon Road was officially opened in 1926 as the home of association football club Castleford Town and the rugby league team moved in the following year. The ground hosted a record crowd of 25,449 for a third-round Challenge Cup tie against Hunslet in 1935.
The plan has the approval of developers, who would shift the focus of the new site away from retail and leisure use to a high-quality employment and commercial development.
"We support Castleford's intention to stay at an improved Wheldon Road stadium and the contribution the Council would make to this through the new Rugby League Resilience Fund," Steve McBurney, speaking on behalf of the owners of the Junction 32 site, said.
"Over time we have developed a very close relationship with Castleford and the council and it is now obvious that, working in partnership together, we need to look at an alternative option for the club.
"We want Castleford and the town to thrive. In order to secure its Super League status, the club have told us that they would prefer to stay at Wheldon Road and improve their existing stadium. We will continue to play our part and support the Tigers to make this happen."