CASTLEFORD Tigers chiefs and developers say "significant progress" has been made towards construction work starting on a new stadium for the club as part of a £135m Five Towns Park retail and leisure development set to create 2,000 new jobs.
Lateral Property Group’s Five Towns Park plans, which include a retail park and country park on land next to Junction 32 of the M62, won planning permission from Wakefield Council in February 2015.
In a statement to fans released on the club's website today, the board of Lateral Castleford Limited, said: "Since then, we have made significant progress towards a start on site.
"It is important to remember that the new Tigers stadium at Five Towns Park can only be provided by the development of new retail.
"Since our original planning permission was approved, the retail market has undergone substantial change and we have had to make two adjustments to the planning permission which will allow us to deliver a high quality, retail development.
"For example, you may know that one of the biggest changes we have made is to remove the foodstore from the plans, because the ‘big four’ supermarkets are no longer investing in large new stores.
"The most recent of these planning adjustments was approved by Wakefield Council in December 2016 and as a result, we now have a workable outline planning consent which will deliver the retail vision necessary to fund the development, including the new Castleford Tigers Community Stadium.
"While we cannot make a start on construction until our leasing and funding agreements are fully in place, we are working hard to make sure that all of the other complex and technical hurdles, such as the pre-commencement planning conditions, are all cleared.
"The archaeological works, undertaken last summer, are now complete and the associated planning condition has been discharged by Wakefield Council.
The board added in the statement: "We continue to make good progress with retailers who are interested in having a store at Five Towns Park.
"Legal commitments are in place, or serious and detailed discussions are ongoing, with a number of key tenants. Having regard to funding, whilst we did face uncertainty last year in the months pre and post the Brexit vote we have made substantial progress and we expect to complete the necessary funding agreement over the coming months.
"So what does this mean for Tigers? We are trying our hardest to break ground during 2017, our target being to hand over the new stadium in 2020. We would ask you all to keep supporting the club you love and keep trusting your management team and Board of Directors.
"The Lateral / GMI joint venture behind the development have to date spent over £10 million on this project. We continue to work tirelessly towards leasing, funding and critically towards a start on site.
"Whilst this is not the ‘final’ announcement many of you had hoped for, we sincerely hope it will give you all confidence that we are getting ever closer to breaking ground on the new stadium you so richly deserve."