Council officers have tried to allay fears that the redevelopment of Fullerton Park into a training ground will lead to more match day parking problems for residents in areas such as Wortley, writes Keely Bannister.
Fullerton Park, which is currently used for match day parking, is based next to Elland Road stadium.
The reassurance was given at the executive board meeting on Wednesday, 18th September when a report on Parklife plans were discussed.
Under the Parklife programme, the council and Leeds United are working with other partners to build training facilities on the car park and nearby former Matthew Murray school site.
Calverley & Farsley ward councillor and leader of the Conservative group, Andrew Carter, asked for reassurance on matchday parking:
“I could be reading this wrongly, but it seems to me that we are reducing the amount of car parking.
“Are we content there will still be sufficient parking when Leeds United, and I say when Leeds United, go into the premier league. Also a colleague has raised some issues about the park and ride facility properly facilitating this undertaking at Fullerton Park: perhaps some clarification on that would be helpful.”
Martin Farrington, Leeds City Council’s Director of City Development, responded that, as a legacy of the Euro ‘96 competition and with or without the Parklife proposal being brought forward, Elland Road currently has “significantly more” car parking than the 2,750 places which is recommended for the stadium.
Mr Farrington said there was a “significantly greater” amount of surface car parking than many of the top flight football clubs in the country. He added:
“Through this exercise, what’s clear – and I think this is why Leeds United have been very responsive – is the need for them to have a new green travel plan.
“In terms of how their staff arrive on match days, where their staff park, and how people access the stadium rather than us just providing surface car park immediately adjacent to the ground, which in terms of picking up on the broader climate change agenda is not an approach that we’d want to nurture in the long term.
“I think that’s why in bringing this report forward, Leeds United have been proactive in doing a new travel plan because this proposal will be subject to a planning application and it will require the traffic planning issues to be properly considered.”
The Parklife report states that possible options for a travel plan could include:
- Measures to promote walking routes to the stadium from the city centre
- Enhanced cycle parking at the stadium
- Options to promote bus discounts for match day ticket holders
- Better promotion of sustainable travel options to season ticket holders
- Review parking arrangements for match day staff
Match day parking on Leeds United home games has long caused problems in Wortley, with fans spilling out from the stadium car parks into residential streets.
Long-standing Farnley & Wortley Green Party councillors Ann Blackburn and David Blackburn have been working on finding a solution to the issue such as an introduction of resident only parking, but to no avail.
Former Farnley & Wortley Labour councillor Matt Gibson tried to negate the issue by convincing a business to open its car park on match days for a small charge, but the scheme was unsuccessful as people preferred the free parking on offer on surrounding neighbourhood streets.
Fullerton Park currently provides what is described in a report as “poor quality surface grade car parking” for 500 vehicles on match days which would be lost as part of the redevelopment.
Elland Road also hosts a park & ride facility which is currently being expanded to a capacity of 1,350 by summer 2020, but 50 spaces would be lost to the redevelopment.
You can read the Parklife report by visiting this link.