The club took over The Halliwell Jones Stadium on 20th October 2003, some 1,238 days after the initial planning application was submitted. During this time many events took place that shaped the look and outcome of the proposed development:
Tesco submitted outline planning proposals for a 12,449 square metre foodstore, plus car parking, together with a 12,000 capacity stadium on Winwick Road, in a multi-million pound deal with Carlsberg-Tetley Brewing Ltd and Warrington Sports Holdings.
The joint application provided an alternative plan to the foodstore and mixed housing development originally proposed for the redundant brownfield site, formerly the Carlsberg-Tetley Brewery in June 1998. Lord Hoyle, Chairman of Warrington Wolves said, ‘I believe not only the fans, but the whole of Warrington will welcome the opportunity this presents for the Town to have an all purpose Community Stadium’.
A great turn out by the Wolves faithful for a rally meeting at the Parr Hall boosted the push for the local Council to accept the plans and grant planning permission for the proposed new stadium.
A rousing speech by Lord Hoyle set the stage for an interesting evening, ‘There must be no room at all for any complacency, we mustn’t think that we have got that approval. What we’ve all got to do from tonight onwards is work together to make sure that we bring that about. We’ve got to say to the planning committee that this project carries the overwhelming support of all of you.’
‘It’s absolutely vital to the club’s future. We need to develop a stadium that not only that we can be proud, not only that Warrington can be proud of, not only the Rugby League can be proud of but anyone who comes here from anywhere in the country can be proud of as well.’
The Town Planning Committee voted 7 to 4 in favour of joint planning application between the Wolves and Super Market giants Tesco, the proviso being that the decision will be referred to the Secretary of State.
Letters of support and petitions signed by the clubs fans helped sway the decision of the Planning Committee, as did the impassioned plea of Wolves fan Mark Fearnley. Wolves Chief Executive Peter Deakin addressed the massed fans on the Town Hall lawn, ‘That was the first major hurdle and I’d just like to thank the councillors that voted for us, it wasn’t as tight as I thought it would be with a 7-4 vote. It’s a great vote for us and there is a resolution there that it will got through to the Secretary of State for him to review. He has 21 days to make a decision whether it goes to a public enquiry or not. We hope he sees that this has value added community that will support the development of this new stadium.’
The club received news from the Government Office for the North West, regarding the Secretary of State’s decision on the new stadium. ‘The Secretary of State is of the opinion that a public inquiry should be held with regard to the new stadium application. The public inquiry starts today and it will be made by the Planning Inspectorate from Bristol.’
The club commented, ‘Whilst we are initially devastated to receive this news, this is not an insurmountable obstacle. The Warrington community has already illustrated its passion for a new stadium in the town.’
At a pre-inquiry rally at the Parr Hall fans heard about the Wolves plans to tackle the dissenters with their community development programme schemes and need for a state-of-the-art stadium for the town. Lord Hoyle also urged supporters to, ‘celebrate the past and look forward to a stadium of the future!’, and finished by saying, ‘You’re the Best supporters in Rugby League, so let’s have a stadium worthy of your support. Let’s go and get it!’
MP for Warrington South, Helen Southworth also took to the podium to tell how one theme is constant throughout her visits and work around the town, the Warrington Wolves Community programmes. Mrs Southworth called for a new state of the art stadium that the town and the clubs supporters deserved and could be proud of, ‘We’ve got to get out there and get it!’
Public Inquiry at the Parr Hall took place. Speakers from all over the Borough attended including current coach Paul Cullen. Representatives from Super League and members of the local Council and local residents had their say on the proposed development. There was an evening dedicated specifically for the fans in which many speeches were given in favour of the new Stadium and Tesco store.
An early Christmas present was delivered when planning permission was granted for the development of the new stadium. The estimated cost being in the region £8 million, with the opportunity to expand if the need arose.
Chief Executive, Andy Gatcliffe commented, ‘It has been a very long and tortuous process for all of us at the Club, not just for employees of the Club but also for the supporters, the sponsors and the people of Warrington. We are absolutely elated with the news and it is right and fitting that Warrington Wolves being the premier sport in Warrington will now have this new stadium.
Following almost six months of negotiations Warrington Wolves and Tesco announce the final site layout for the new stadium and Tesco Extra store. Agreement has been reached on a site layout that utilises the old Tetley Walker brewery site to its best potential. Lengthy negotiations took place and finally plan 89B has been agreed. The stadium is to the south of the site bordered by Dallam Lane, Buckley Street and Winwick Road and will run east/west with the main stand to the north. The Tesco Extra store will be located to the north of the site; between the two will be parking primarily for use by the Tesco Extra Store shoppers. Draft designs for the stadium were reduced that give a capacity of 14,000.
The Councils’ Development Control Committee gave a unanimous ‘Yes’ to the joint Stadium and Tesco store development project at a meeting on Thursday evening. The drawn out saga of the Stadium campaign was finally given the go-ahead with detailed planning permission being heard and passed by the eight members of the committee.
First ground was broken in the ‘Cutting of the First Sod’. The Contractors Barr Construction officially moved on to site to begin work on the ground, with an expected 45 weeks to construct…
Foundations marked out and the first steel construction is erected this week, beginning with the main North Stand development. Media and PR Officer Gina Coldrick commented, ‘The progress on the new stadium since the breaking of the ground in December has been phenomenal. The steel construction will go up very quickly over the next couple of weeks and brings a visual reality to all the hard work of planning and petitioning of the last couple of years. It is very exciting times for the club and fans.’
The stadium name is announced as being The Halliwell Jones Stadium. Chief Executive Andy Gatcliffe announced, ‘The Board of Directors of the club is extremely pleased to have ‘captured’ such a prestigious and quality partner, namely, north west motor group Halliwell Jones as our new stadium naming rights sponsor.’
The Stadium is officially handed over to Warrington Wolves from Barr Construction.
First scheduled game at the stadium, the opening round of Super League IX, live on Sky Sports. Warrington Wolves defeated Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 34-20 in a thrilling game. Nathan Wood christened the whitewash, scoring the Wolves’ first ever try at The Halliwell Jones Stadium.