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HomeNewsHeadingley stadium WILL become concert venue, despite concerns in Burley and Kirkstall

Headingley stadium WILL become concert venue, despite concerns in Burley and Kirkstall

Headingley stadium has become one of the region’s biggest concert venues after council decision-makers granted permission for the rugby ground to host crowds of up to 20,000 for music events, writes Richard Beecham.

The rugby pitch, along with surrounding stands at the Emerald Headingley Stadium previously has permission to hold two events per year for up to 9,999 people.

However, a fresh application was submitted to licensing chiefs at Leeds City Council asking to increase this to four events per year, with no more than 19,999 spectators at each event.

A meeting of Leeds City Council’s licensing sub committee met last week to hear evidence, before the decision was made public by the authority today.

A statement from the council read:

“The application was made to increase the maximum number of live music events to four per year over two weekends and to increase the maximum number of people who would be permitted to attend to 19,999.

“The licensing sub-committee unanimously resolved to grant the application, subject to an additional condition that the dismantling and removal from site of any equipment and apparatus used in connection with a music event will not take place before 8am on the day after such an event has taken place.”

It follows concerns expressed by nearby residents in Headingley, Kirkstall and Burley, who claimed such a move would make sleep difficult for families and children in the area.

During the meeting, Sue Ward, representing the applicants Leeds Cricket, Football & Athletic Company Limited, said:

“As with all previous application – the club is outlining its intentions to work with the residents, rather than antagonise them in any way.

“There will be no increased spectator levels – it will be brought in line with rugby events. Pre-Covid-19, the number of sporting events planned for 2020 was 61. Last year we held 71, and the year before 68. Even with the addition of four live music events, this is still low for an iconic venue in Leeds.”

The application went before the committee due to the amount of objections from local residents to the plans.

Richard Parr, who was representing a group of nearby residents, said: 

“The stadium is slap bang in the middle of a family area. The ground is encircled by families with children.

“A lot of the evidence (in the application) comes from two events in 2019. The licence was for 10,000 people – the sound requirements are completely different for 20,000 people.

“The kind of music that will be played at these concerts – which could last up to three hours at a time – we are talking about bassy, loud, non-stop music. Bass music can be heard a lot further away.

“I don’t think what we have seen so far is enough to justify significant expansion of events.

“It’s really worrying – if this goes the wrong way, the stadium will be able to move forward with that without any review. 11pm is incredibly late. Already, rugby matches and planes wake my kids up, so this is very worrying.”

Committee member Coun Neil Buckley (Con) said: “I have got the greatest sympathy with Mr Parr and the residents.

“The noise is always very disturbing, but the only thing I would put to him is that he made a comment that it is not just about this application, well actually it is just about this application.

“Things like aeroplanes and cricket and rugby matches at night have been going on for a very long time. While there may be disruptive, this application is about this specific thing.”

Mr Parr responded: “People who have moved here recently have moved here knowing it’s a sporty area under a flight path, but long-standing residents did not sign up for the noise pollution which goes on at the moment.

“It has been getting significantly worse and louder. It feels like we’re under siege.”

Ms Ward said: “I feel like the club is tarnished with these kinds of comments, and in actual fact, we have hosted rugby games at a very low capacity and the PA has barely been turned on. I cannot understand why Mr Parr would say noise levels are getting worse, because they certainly aren’t.”

The meeting was ended, with interested parties told they would be informed of the decision within five working days. Leeds City Council made the decision public this week.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Was there a reason why Roundhay park didn’t repeat the OnRoundhay music festival. I loved it. It was a really good family event. Parking was good, roads were busy and the day was trouble free (as far as I was concerned). I heard from somewhere that the noise and traffic were a problem (not sure if that’s true).
    I lived in a bedsit on Escort Avenue (Headingley) many moons ago and was living there when when the west indies played, Headingley was packed solid (great fun but heaving. Cars on paths, double parked in some places). I didn’t have a car then and no kids. I imagine it was a difficult day for some.

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