THE FUTURE of Headingley Stadium could be decided next month.
Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire County Cricket Club say they have “requested” Leeds City Council determine the planning application for a major redevelopment of the complex “at the earliest opportunity, which is likely to be the planning committee meeting on January 12”.
The clubs have revealed that two linked planning applications for residential developments in Weetwood and Tingley, Leeds, have been withdrawn.
They had hoped the land could be sold for housing to raise funds for the stadium development, but the plans were opposed by residents.
A statement issued by both Rhinos and Yorkshire insisted: “A positive outcome at that committee [on January 12] would still allow delivery of the stadium works in time for the Cricket World Cup in 2019 and the Rugby League World Cup in 2021.”
It added: “The clubs have withdrawn the two linked residential planning applications which were contributing funds to the overall cost of delivering the stadium project.
“The withdrawal of the two residential applications follows detailed dialogue with Leeds City Council.
“Further consultation will take place with both the Council and the Local Communities in this regard.
“Both Clubs are still hopeful that a solution to the funding requirements of this scheme can be found in order that International Cricket and Rugby will continue to be staged in Leeds.”
Rhinos chief Executive Gary Hetherington said: “To deliver the £39m Headingley Carnegie Stadium redevelopment, which everyone wants, we have to find a solution to the funding issue and both Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire County Cricket Club are working hard, with the help of Leeds City Council, to explore all options.”
Yorkshire CCC Chief Executive Mark Arthur commented: “It is essential that a solution is found in order to deliver international cricket to Leeds beyond 2019 and we are working tirelessly with Leeds City Council and Leeds Rhinos to that end.”
The proposed development includes replacing Headingley’s main stand - which is shared by Rhinos and Yorkshire - and the building of a new rugby South Stand.
Rhinos had hoped to begin work at the end of their season, three months ago, but the development was delayed by the planning process.