Leeds City Council approves Headingley project, but funding still to be found

Leeds City Council has approved planning officers’ recommendations to go ahead with the redevelopment of Headingley stadium – although funding has to be found to complete the project.

Yorkshire County Cricket Club (CCC) and Leeds Rhinos, who occupy the unique venue, will now complete the paperwork to get final planning approval.

The £28.5m (US$34.8m, €32.7m) revamp will see the existing North-South Stand demolished and replaced with a three-tier stand, capable of holding 5,060 spectators - representing an increase of 1,400.

The venue homes the two adjoining stadiums of the cricket club and rugby league side. The stand which connects the two will be redeveloped.

Hospitality facilities will also be upgraded as part of the project.

The local authority has pledged a £4m (US$4.9m, €4.6m) grant for the work, which is expected to contribute to positive economic impact for the city.

Headingley is expected to host matches for the 2019 Cricket World Cup, bringing £20.5m (US$25m, €23.5m) into the local coffers.

Gary Hetherington, chief executive of Leeds Rhinos, said the decision was “another crucial step”, although the clubs were still looking for a “mechanism” to complete the funding picture.

“We remain confident that we can deliver the redevelopment for the stadium and look forward to working with partners to make this possible and retain our status in international cricket,” added Yorkshire CCC chief executive Mark Arthur.

First published www.sportsmanagement.co.uk, 13 January 2017