Kirkstall’s three councillors have voiced their opposition to an application to sell alcohol at more events at the Emerald Headingley Stadium.
Leeds Cricket Football And Athletic Co Ltd want to host up to two wrestling or boxing matches involving the pitch and stands in the ‘rugby bowl’ stadium each year.
It’s anticipated up to 25,000 fans would attend each event on either a Friday or Saturday, between 12 noon and midnight.
Organisers say both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks will be served by bars in the North, South and Extentia stands, with toilet facilities available. The application adds:
“We anticipate that the ring will be sat centrally on the pitch, with spectators occupying the rest of the pitch, the terraces and the seats.”
The licensing application will be decided by councillors on Leeds City Council’s licensing sub-committee in two weeks. But the proposals have been met with concern from local residents and councillors.
All three Kirkstall ward councillors – Hannah Bithell, John Illingworth and Fiona Venner* – have objected. They have concerns about noise, lights, finishing times and traffic issues, and also expressed reservation about parking – notably in the Kirkstall and Burley areas.
In a letter to the licensing committee, they said:
“We are writing as a group on behalf of residents who have approached us to express concerns about this application.
“Our objection to this proposal is on the basis of prevention of public nuisance caused by noise, lights and traffic all after 12.30pm in a built up residential area already heavily affected by noise pollution.
“As the Stadium are aware; councillors receive frequent complaints about parking in residential streets when rugby matches are on and the disturbance this causes to local residents. We are gravely concerned that the license application outlines that people will be leaving the Stadium up to 12.30am which is much later than current finishing times. We object to this in the strongest terms.
“Most people attending the Stadium park in residential areas in the Headingley, Burley and Queenswood areas. We anticipate significant disturbance to local residents caused by up to 25,000 people leaving the Stadium at 12.30-1am.
“Currently large sports events in the Stadium finish at 10pm. Extending the serving of alcohol until 12am with an additional request for an extra half hour in order allow for people to start vacating the premises would mean a realistic, actual finishing time of nearer 1am. We are concerned this will result in extreme noise disturbance for our residents.
“If this license is approved (which we are strongly requesting is not the case) we would insist that alcohol is only served till 10pm as with current events.”
The councillors also raised concerns over floodlights causing light pollution and also raised concerns about parking, particularly in the Elida Gibbs Field. They added:
“Car parks will be lit and people will still be leaving the area at 12.30am-1am. The Elida Gibbs Field in Kirkstall Ward has been used for overflow parking for other events at the Stadium, but these have finished at 10pm, which is reasonable, with most cars gone by then.
“It is of grave concern to Kirkstall Ward councillors in particular that the car parks being lit till 12.30am with people leaving up till 1am will cause considerable disruption and noise nuisance to our residents.”
Concerns were also expressed about litter and event-goers urinating in the streets. The letter added:
“We strongly object to this application for the reasons outlined above and request that the Licensing Committee refuse it.”
All three Headingley and Hyde Park councillors (Al Garthwaite**, Jonathan Pryor and Neil Walshaw) also signed the letter.
West Yorkshire Police have also put in a qualified objection – subject to receivng further information – on the grounds of the prevention of crime and disorder and public safety.
More than 20 letters of objection have also been sumitted by local residents.
Members of the licensing sub committee will meet to discuss the application on Tuesday, 20 April 2021 at 10am. You can read the documents and the application in full here.
WLD has previously covered parking concerns from people living in Burley, Kirkstall and the Queenswood Drive areas here.
* The full list of candidates in Kirkstall Ward in the 6 May local elections is:
Reiss Capitano – Conservative Party
Thomas Alfred Edwards – Liberal Democrats
James Alan Ellis – Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Victoria Helen Smith – Green Party
Fiona Elizabeth Venner – Labour Party
** The full list of candidates in Headingley and Hyde Park Ward in the 6 May local elections is:
Brandon John Ashford – Liberal Democrats
Michael Bellfield – Social Democratic Party
Al Garthwaite – Labour Party
Tim Goodall – Green Party
Anthony Joseph Greaux – Independent
Florian Oscar Alice Hynam – Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Tyler Callum Wilson – Yorkshire Party
Isaac Andrew Woolmer – Conservative Party