PROPOSALS HAVE been unveiled for a major redevelopment of Headingley Carnegie Stadium.
The plans include a new rugby South Stand and a replacement for the existing joint stand, which overlooks both sides of the complex.
An artist’s impression of the South stand. The cost has not been announced, but will be covered by a combination of public and private funding, including from Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
Rhinos plan to sell two sites – off Weetwood Avenue, Weetwood and at Old Thorpe Lane, Tingley – for housing, with the net receipts being invested into Headingley stadium redevelopment.
Unlike previous proposals, the new rugby South Stand will include seats as well as a standing terrace.
Development work will see Rhinos’ capacity reduced to just over 13,000 – more than 2,500 below last year’s average – for a time during the 2017 Super League season.
The plans will be outlined at a series of exhibitions next month, when members of the public will have an opportunity to talk to the design team and provide feedback.
The clubs hope replacing the existing joint stand – the only area of the cricket complex not yet redeveloped – will enable Headingley to stage games during the 2019 cricket World Cup and future Test matches.
The development will increase the capacity on the cricket side of the complex, but it will remain unaltered for the rugby ground, which also hosts Yorkshire Carnegie matches.
Rhinos say the standing capacity of the new South Stand will exceed the current number of members for that terrace and will make up for some of the capacity lost by the development of the joint stand.
No timescale has been has been given and details of new facilities will be confirmed once planning permission is granted.
Rhino’s chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “We have been working behind the scenes with Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Leeds City Council for many years and now the vision of a completely re-developed Headingley is a reality.
“For rugby fans, we will be providing significantly more comfort, with much better seating, yet retaining the uniqueness and character of our home.
“Our overall capacity will not increase, but that has never been our aim. We have a 90-year-old Main Stand and a South Stand that was condemned six years ago and is in constant need of repair.
“It will present a major construction challenge and inevitably cause some disruption for all teams during that period.
“Our stadium capacity will reduce to just over 13,000 for a period during the 2017 season, but we are determined to ensure all our ticketed members are guaranteed access to all games and that’s why the 2016 members will have priority for 2017.”
Hetherington added: “Headingley has been a wonderful asset of the city for 125 years with a worldwide reputation for sporting drama and excitement and this latest development is another great news story for Leeds and Yorkshire.”
The proposal for Rhinos’ land would see 42 homes built at Weetwood, with around 170 in Tingley.