PLANS for new permanent floodlights at Headingley cricket ground - considered vital to the game’s financial future in Leeds - are set for the go-ahead, despite a plethora of objections from locals.
Yorkshire Cricket Club bosses say the ground needs the lights and associated work to ensure its future as an international quality venue, and to allow it to host games during the 2019 Cricket World Cup. It is one of the few remaining major sports venues in the UK which does not have permanent floodlights.
However, residents are worried about potential lightspill into their homes and the size of the columns.
Bosses had proposed building four pylons, each nearly 60 metres tall. It was hoped the scheme - costing £1.8m - would be up and running by the start of the 2015 season.
A report to be presented to a Leeds council planning committee on Thursday recommends approval. It says that after concerns, the scheme has been amended, with the size of the columns now reduced to 50m height, and with efforts to reduce lightspill onto homes. However there have still been 23 letters of objection to the plans.
The main concern is that the floodlights “would add to the over dominance of the stadium already in the locality”, and that the height of the pylons “will harm the skyline”.
The report says: “The applicant has instructed an additional expert to assist them in trying to reduce the amount of lightspill from the floodlights. The scheme has been amended to reflect the concerns [of] neighbouring residents. This has also resulted in the reduction of the size of the columns.”
The report adds the lights would not be used more than 20 times per season. They would be powered by a new electricity sub-station in the grounds, which also forms part of the proposals.
“Yorkshire County Cricket Club is financially dependent upon the staging of international cricket, as domestic cricket currently only breaks even,” the report says. “The provision of permanent floodlighting is essential to ensure that international cricket, including test cricket, continues at Headingley.”