Leeds Council rejects Headingley Stadium boxing and wrestling plans citing anti social behaviour concerns

Plans to host boxing and wrestling events for up to 25,000 spectators at Headingley Stadium have been rejected by Leeds City Council.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 8:27 am
Updated Thursday, 29th April 2021, 8:28 am
Plans to host boxing and wrestling events for up to 25,000 spectators at the stadium have been rejected

Among some of the reasons given by the council’s Licensing Sub-committee were noise concerns and the potential for antisocial behaviour affecting those living in the area.

It follows a meeting last week in which objections were put forward by local residents and councillors about the plans, which would have seen two weekend events per year, taking place between noon and midnight.

In the days after the meeting, a letter was sent by the committee informing interested parties of the outcome.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The letter stated: “The Licensing Sub-Committee resolved unanimously to refuse the application.

“The committee was of the view that the nature of the event proposed was very different in nature and duration to rugby matches held regularly at the venue and that the noise generated was likely to last longer, continue later into the night and affect those in the area significantly more than a rugby match.

“They included in this the need for de-rigging the following day which would itself cause noise to those residents nearby.

“The committee took into consideration the number of weekends on which events would take place, particularly over the summer months, that few weekends would be without an event and the effect of this on the people living in the area.

The letter added that events which already took place at the ground cause litter and “poor behaviour in the street”, and that it was “very” likely that such behaviour could result from the proposed events.

It stated: “The Committee was of the view that the impact of noise from the event would significantly affect people living in this residential area.

“The Committee was of the view that there was evidence of disorderly behaviour in the streets surrounding the venue before and after rugby matches managed by the applicant and that such behaviour was likely to occur should a boxing/wrestling event to take place.”

At an online licensing meeting on Tuesday, April 20, Headingley Stadium’s operations director Sue Ward made the case for the licence, adding: “It is a sports ground so requires a general safety certificate. All outdoor events will adopt the same facility standards and conditions as required at all rugby fixtures.

“We have learned and acted on feedback from previous licensing sub-committees, and with regards to communication, we continue to liaise with all residents and ward councillors via our newsletter.”

She stated only 61 sporting events had been proposed for 2020, pre-Covid, adding: “This is still extremely low usage of such an iconic venue as Emerald Headingley Stadium. This includes rugby union events that attract less than 500 people, and also include domestic cricket matches that fall over four days and attract less than 2,000 spectators.”

Local councillor John Illingworth (Lab), representing other local councillors in the area, said: “I’ve never heard anyone suggest the stadium was anything other than noisy. It is a nuisance.”

Nearby resident Daniel Shoreman said: “The stadium only engaged with residents after the application was put in, and they were prompted by residents.

“They didn’t engage with us to understand what our previous concerns were for other events – this was reactive engagement. They didn’t contact every resident – they only contacted the Turnways residents."