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Headingley Stadium gets planning approval for new stands in revamp

Councillors in Leeds have given the green light to a major redevelopment of the city’s Headingley Stadium.

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

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.

Councillors have now recommended that the chief planning officer be allowed to grant permission to the scheme, subject to a number of conditions, including the submission of a construction management plan.

Planners also stipulated that construction works would be limited to between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays, with no Sunday or bank holiday working permitted.

However, there are still question marks over how the project will be funded, with initial plans pointing to a mixture of public and private funding.

Rugby league club Leeds Rhinos 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But both these planning applications have been withdrawn following opposition from local residents.

Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said the project will need to be completed by 2019, in time for a Test match between England and Australia, and the Cricket World Cup.

Under this timetable, the latest point at which works could begin on the project would be September 2017.

However, he added that the planning decision was “a crucial step”, and said the club was confident funding could be found.

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