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Funding secured for Headingley Stadium revamp

Funding has been secured for a major revamp of Headingley Stadium in Leeds.

Subject to final approval by Leeds City Council, funds for the £35m scheme to overhaul the multi-sport arena will be provided by a private financial service company.

Under the deal, funding will be provided “at no cost to the council taxpayer”, according to Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake.

Initial plans for the scheme pointed to a mixture of public and private funding, but there had been uncertainty around the funding arrangements before a deal was brokered this week.

The arena is home to Yorkshire County Cricket Club, rugby union side Yorkshire Carnegie and rugby league side Leeds Rhinos.

The rugby league club had hoped to sell land in the city to help fund the scheme, with housing developments proposed at two locations. 

But both these planning applications were withdrawn following opposition from local residents.

The current plans for the Headingley refurbishment were given the green light by the council in January this year.

Plans include the demolition of the existing north/south stand, which is shared between the rugby and cricket pitches, and the construction of a new stand overlooking both pitches, as well as a new south stand for the rugby ground.

The new combined stand will provide 4,200 seats facing the cricket and 3,800 facing the rugby pitch, while the south stand for the rugby stadium has a proposed capacity of 7,700, of which 2,200 will be seated.

Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “We have been working closely with Leeds City Council and partners to find a solution to ensure international sport continues at Headingley Carnegie for many years to come and we appreciate all the effort and commitment put in by Leeds City Council to broker this deal.

“There is still much to do but recent developments are very encouraging and could provide the funding mechanism to complete the redevelopment work.”

Yorkshire County Cricket Club chief executive Mark Arthur added: “We would like to thank Judith Blake and Leeds City Council for their support in reaching this point. While there is still a way to go, it is a significant step in securing the future of international cricket at Headingley.

“Yorkshire County Cricket Club will continue to work hard to ensure that all remaining funds are in place to ensure that the redevelopment is completed in time for the Cricket World Cup in 2019.”

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