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Greenbelt warehousing set for approval

09 February 2024

A massive industrial and logistics warehsoue scheme is set to be approved on greenbelt land in Wakefield, Yorkshire.

By Liza Helps Property Editor Logistics Matters

THE £200 million scheme put forward by Highgrove Group  as Axiom Yorkshire and Castleford Tigers RLFC on land at Junction 32 in Castleford envisages 1.51 million ft2 of industrial and logistics space which will support a £12.2 million upgrade to the rugby club’s Wheldon Road stadium.

Two separate planning applications are currently awaiting a decision from Wakefield Council. The major upgrades to Wheldon Road can only be delivered if the employment and logistics development is also approved. 

Notes from the planning officers in the report to planning committee members for a meeting on 15thFebruary read: “Several factors weigh heavily both against and in support of the proposed development proceeding.

“In summary, the main factors weighing against the proposal include: the harm to the Green Belt by reason of inappropriateness and harm to openness; visual impacts; and loss of agricultural land. While, the main factors weighing in support of the proposal include: the socio-economic and civic benefits arising from the financial contribution which would be used to provide the off-site stadium improvements which would in turn secure the long-term future of Castleford Tigers Rugby League Club; the significant job creation and employment benefits; the improvement works to the motorway junction and the provision of recreational open space within the site. 

Planning officers concluded: “In the overall planning balance, it is concluded that cumulatively, the benefits do clearly outweigh the totality of the harm and therefore very special circumstances justifying development in the Green Belt are demonstrated.”

It is thought around 2,200 new full time jobs for local people – 1,830 jobs at Junction 32 and a further 365 estimated within the Wakefield Council area, would be created with a contribution of some £15 million of private sector investment into highways improvements at the Junction 32 roundabout. The development will include  a total of 22 acres of public open space and landscaping. Once fully occupied the site could provide upwards of £3.2 million in business rates.

Proposed improvements to the Wheldon Road stadium will mean that the club can meet Super League standards. A new all-seater main stand will be constructed, providing modern sporting facilities for players and officials, along with a banqueting suite and corporate hospitality function rooms. Refurbishment of Wheldon Road, Princess Street and Railway End stands are also proposed, along with the provision of a new floodlit 4G training pitch.

The separate planning application for the Axiom site at Junction 32 proposes development of up to 1.52 million sq ft of employment floorspace, across about 13 units of varying sizes.