Yvette Cooper backs Five Towns Park in a letter to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles, asking him not to call in the plans for further review and to let developers begin works as soon as possible.
Please reply to:
1 York Street
The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Department for Communities and Local Government
Ref: Five Towns Park – New stadium and retail development – Lateral (developer)
Wakefield Metropolitan District Council Planning Committee has unanimously approved a planning application submitted by Lateral to develop a new Rugby League stadium for Castleford Tigers RLFC alongside a new retail development in a £135m investment in Castleford and the Five Towns area.
There is very strong local support for this development which has gone through considerable local consultation and partnership working with local communities to get the details right.
As you will appreciate it is particularly important for us to have a new stadium for the Castleford Tigers. The team are at the heart of the town and play a vital economic and social role in the town.
The provision of a new stadium is badly needed and has overwhelming public support. For well over ten years the club, Council and local developers backed by the community have been seeking alternative locations and investment for a new stadium. None of these other options has proved possible. So although the development is sited on green belt land, it is clearly justified by the exceptional need for this new sporting development. In addition the land involved is sandwiched between major motorways and already has a network of pylons across it. The land is not currently used for leisure and is not needed as greenbelt and the provision for a country park alongside the stadium and retail development provides a safe, green leisure space for the community to use.
The developers, Lateral, have put in place a comprehensive Section 106 agreement and the Council has no outstanding concerns relating to it. It provides a charter to provide decent, well paid jobs go to local workers wherever possible, provide apprenticeships and tackles concerns about transport links. And it has the potential to deliver over 2000 new jobs and £135m of new investment in our area.
In addition the developers have designed a £1.35m growth fund for Castleford and Pontefract town centres and are working with the WMDC to explore ways to further minimise the impact on these historic town centres. Neither town centre business bodies have raised objections. Wakefield Council has given full consideration to all the local and national planning issues before coming to a decision.
The new stadium will add to the stock of high quality stadia among Rugby League clubs. This can only be of benefit to the wider game and is important for the development of Rugby League in the long term. After many years of delays we are keen for progress to be made as quickly as possible, and not be held up by further planning stages.
For these reasons I am writing to strongly urge you as the Secretary of State not to call in this application.
Thank you for considering my views
Yvette Cooper MP