Headingley Stadium WILL become one of the city’s largest concert venues – but only twice a year, writes Local Demcoracy Reporter Richard Beecham.
Members of Leeds City Council’s licensing sub-committee have come to an agreement on plans which would see the stadium given permission to host music concerts on the pitch, with a capacity of just under 10,000 spectators.
The panel had met last week to discuss the plans, for which the applicants wanted to host up to four concerts per year at Leeds Rhinos’ rugby ground.
But, following opposition from local residents, an agreement could not be reached during the meeting, and the panel said it would instead announce its decision in the coming days.
The council has now confirmed that the panel opted to grant permission, but only for two occasions per year – one evening and one afternoon event – with additional conditions in relation to monitoring noise.
This is despite neither the applicants or opposing residents showing enthusiasm for the idea for two events per year when it was suggested by the panel during last week’s meeting.
At the request of West Yorkshire Police, no event would have more than 9,999 spectators and only four events per year would take place. The licence would allow the planned Proms on the Pitch event, set for September 21, to take place at the ground.
During last week’s meeting, a representative from the applicants, Leeds Cricket, Football & Athletic Company Limited, said:
“We believe we have provided information to contend topics raised.
“The PA system will not be used to amplify live music. The PA system will only be used for safety announcements.
“Concerns regarding daily disruption have been raised. This will not be the case, as there will only be four events per year.
“We reiterate our intention to work with residents and not antagonise them in any way.”
She added that noise disruption will be minimised, and that floodlights would be switched off at 11pm. A telephone line for complaints would also be manned during the events, from which information would be relayed to sound engineers working on the concerts.
A nearby resident told the meeting:
“The detail is about the noise which will affect us.
“I have no concerns regarding a Peppa Pig event on a Sunday afternoon, but if the licence is granted, it could be for any type of music.
“While not in the current plans, if a late night heavy metal concert finishing at 11pm would be legal in the licence requested, and that would be a concern for us. This, for residents would be devastating.”
He added that the rugby ground was open between stands, meaning noise was able to escape from the ground.
Another resident added: “We all bought our houses in the knowledge that they were next to a rugby pitch. Events supporting the city are what we would fully support.
“But [noise levels are] creating an absolutely intolerable nuisance on our lives.”
She added that information submitted by the applicants relating to noise levels only referred to noise within the ground, and not how the noise affected outside areas.
Following private discussions between members of the panel, the two parties were then offered a compromise agreement of two events per year on the same weekend, with one finishing late in the evening, and one finishing at 6pm.
Matchday parking already affects people living in parts of Burley and Kirkstall, although the issue has not been discussed by council in relation to this latest application.