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Leeds: £50m vision for Headingley cricket ground revealed

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  • by Chris Waters
 

YORKSHIRE County Cricket Club has drawn up a 20-year masterplan to redevelop Headingley cricket ground in a project costing around £50m.

The plan includes a new state-of-the-art pavilion and a new shared stand with the adjoining rugby ground in an effort to secure Headingley’s status as an international venue.

Yorkshire fear they could lose Test matches and one-day internationals unless they improve their facilities in the face of increasing competition to host international cricket. The club is guaranteed internationals until 2019 as part of an agreement with the England and Wales Cricket Board when Yorkshire bought the ground in 2005, but there are no guarantees thereafter. Yorkshire chairman Colin Graves, who hopes the masterplan will be his “lasting legacy” to the club, said: “This is the most ambitious project the club and the venue will have undertaken since the ground was first established 125 years ago. Our ambitions are clear. We want to create a stadium that is amongst the finest in the world and enable Yorkshire to continue to stage major international fixtures over the long term.

“It is vital that we don’t lose sight of our objectives.

“As other venues around the country continue to invest in their facilities, we cannot afford to stand still and expect that Headingley will always host international cricket.

“The stark reality is that if our stadium fails to evolve we will lose our Test match status, which would be a devastating blow to the region.”

Yorkshire - who are commissioning a study with Leeds City Council to assess the economic impact that the loss of international cricket would have on the region - are not giving details of how the plan will be funded.

But the project, which will see them work in partnership with the council, Leeds Rugby and DLA Architecture, will raise Headingley’s capacity from 17,090 to 20,362 and consist of six phases. The first two phases are the installation of new floodlights for the start of next season, for which the club need to find £1.1m, and the redevelopment of the North/South Stand in conjunction with Leeds Rugby. Work on the circa £15m stand - of which Yorkshire will fund roughly half - will hopefully begin at the end of the 2017 season and be finished for the start of the 2019 season, increasing capacity to 19,210.

Further phases (non time-specific) are the addition of 915 seats to the upper tier of the North East Stand; a new £15-20m cricket pavilion alongside the current Carnegie Pavilion shared with Leeds Met; the erection of a translucent cantilever roof to cover the White Rose Stand and landscaping on the White Rose Stand and North East Stand concourses.

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