Bosses at Headingley stadium have been rapped on the knuckles by council planning chiefs - after it was claimed that tickets for an upcoming Madness gig had gone on sale BEFORE permission to hold the event had been granted.
A plans panel, meeting at Leeds Civic Hall earlier today, gave permission for the stadium - home of Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Headingley Carnegie rugby - to host three 15,000 capacity music events a year.
However members of the panel criticised the applicants Yorkshire County Cricket Club for apparently ignoring protocol - and pre-empting their decision.
Ska kings Madness will be the first act to perform a musical gig on the hallowed Headingley turf when they take to the stage on Friday, September 18 this year.
Councillor Jonathan Bentley told the South and West Plans Panel that tickets had already gone on sale via some online channels, and this was “a bit insulting to this panel and to residents”.
Coun Kevin Ritchie noted that the official date for tickets going on sale is tomorrow (Friday, Feb 20) but he also criticised the club for starting publicising the gig before getting planning permission.
Coun Fiona Venner said that a member of the public had asked her about the issue, and “it just looked a bit dodgy...like a done deal”. “Their behaviour was inappropriate,” she said of the club.
The panel noted ahead of its decision that as “no planning permission has been made, they haven’t got permission to do it”.
However they still voted the application through after a lengthy debate.
Chair of the panel councillor Mohammed Rafique stressed that while the club had assured the council it had done nothing wrong, “you can’t just presume - you have got to wait for permission to be granted before you start selling tickets”.
The stadium had previously won permission to host three musical events a year for two years, as well as to build new floodlights as part of major investment into improvements.
However the panel was told the two-year permission had lapsed, partly because the club had been unable to agree dates with “suitable” artists which were also in alignment with the cricket season.
The floodlight proposals were also re-approved by the panel, and work on them is due to begin in March. The renewed application will include a white rose-inspired structure at the highest point of the floodlights.