woman in red tank top and black shorts running on track field

Council To Discuss Refurbishment Of Athletics Track

Members of Wakefield Council’s Cabinet will get an update on the redevelopment plans for Thornes Park Stadium at their meeting next week.

They will also be asked to give the green light to a £1.5m refurbishment of the athletics track and associated lighting to meet Athletics Track Mark accreditation.

The current athletics track has served Wakefield well since 1991. However, in February 2020, the site suffered a fire causing substantial damage to the stadium building. Then, only three weeks later, Covid-19 forced the closure of all leisure facilities district wide.

On 15 September 2020, Cabinet gave approval to a partial repair of the site in order to reopen to the public.

The Council is currently considering potential redevelopment options using the existing facility and will be consulting with the local community on possible plans. However, in the meantime, it is looking to bring forward the investment to the outdoor athletics track and lights so these can be fit for purpose as soon as possible and be enjoyed by current and future users.

The outdoor track and lights will need this immediate attention if they are to remain available to use. Thornes Park Stadium is the only accredited publicly accessible athletics provision within the district.

Cllr Michael Graham, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “This is the only athletics provision in the district – to not repair it would remove the opportunity for hundreds of people each week to participate in a range of physical activity, some of whom have particularly disabilities and support needs, and we cannot allow that to happen.”

“Making the improvements to the track now will provide confidence that the district continues to have a fully operational track facility, facilitating many competitions and events, whilst the wider redevelopment options for the site are discussed.”

A further report will be brought to Cabinet in the future to respond to the wider redevelopment options.

Members of Cabinet are meeting on Tuesday 8 November at 10.30am. The meeting can be watched live or later on the Council’s website.