Kirkstall councillors’ concerns amid backlash over Headingley’s plan to stage more music and boxing events

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Matchday parking in communities around Headingley stadium already causes concern

By David Spereall, local democracy reporter

Neighbours of Leeds Rhinos’ Headingley ground are fighting plans to host more music and boxing events at the venue.

Stadium bosses have applied to Leeds City Council for a licence to hold up to four events per year, outside of its usual sporting activities.

But 35 local people have objected, with many citing anti-social behaviour and chaos from previous music and boxing dates at the rugby ground. There are concerns the proposals will add to existing match day parking issues in Burley and Kirkstall.

That includes the six Labour councillors representing the Headingley and Kirkstall wards, plus one from the neighbouring Weetwood ward.

A public hearing next Tuesday will decide whether or not the licence is granted.

In their written objection to the council, one neighbour said: “Following the last event, there were instances of boxing fans taking the opportunity to relieve themselves in gardens and aggressively responding to requests to stop.

“A boxing match attracts a very different demographic compared to a rugby or cricket match, and displays different expectations.

“Compared with rugby, where organised fan involvement brings a certain level of self-regulation so as not to bring clubs into disrepute, there are fewer such structures for a boxing or wrestling card.”

Another said: “As a local resident living near the stadium, when they hosted the last event on September 4 last year, I experienced patrons acting with disgusting disregard for residents.

“I found beer bottles in my garden, broken bottles in my driveway, and even witnessed a couple of people urinating in my garden.”

Another neighbour wrote: “It is really not acceptable to be having events, especially boxing matches, in such a densely packed residential area.

“It will impact on our community and I fear it will drive many people away from here. Please don’t let them spoil my home that I love.”

In their application, the stadium management company which runs Headingley listed a number of proposed measures they claim will mitigate anti-social behaviour in the area.

These include refusing entry to people who are drunk and operating a comprehensive CCTV system within the ground.

They’ve also pledged to employ an independent noise consultant to monitor noise levels in the surrounding streets during the events.

The applicants wrote: “We are mindful of our neighbours and will adopt a policy consistent with existing stadium protocols and procedures to minimise noise and light disruption.”

They added: “We have also corresponded with all those who wrote to us after the boxing event on September 4, 2021 to understand their concerns.

“We feel that we have implemented mitigation measures to contain all the concerns raised.”

Earlier this week, it was revealed that a teenager was left with a facial injury after being struck by firework shrapnel during a display at Headingley in 2019.

1 COMMENT

  1. Refusing entry to drunks is a well thought out strategy to combat anti social behaviour.
    If they let them in, then at least they are contained, not wandering the streets looking for a fight because their jollies have been disrupted.

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