Residents concerned about traffic and parking chaos if more 'super-concerts' are held at Roundhay Park

Roundhay residents fear that increasing the capacity of events in the park from 20,000 to 80,000 could leave them 'under siege'.

Monday, 8th April 2019, 5:33 pm
Updated Monday, 8th April 2019, 5:39 pm
Roundhay Park

Families living nearby are calling for a cap on the number of super-concerts that can take place in Roundhay Park each year after Leeds City Council announced plans to turn the park into one of the UK's largest outdoor entertainment venues.Huge gigs were common in the 1980s and 90s when big names such as the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and U2 played at the park - but there hasn't been a major single-artist concert since 2006, when Robbie Williams performed twice.

The plans stipulate that the venue's capacity would increase from around 20,000 to approximately 80,000.

The Rolling Stones played at the park in the 80s

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It's not clear how many large-scale events would take place per year - but those living locally are asking for reassurances that it would be fewer than five.

Roundhay resident Sara Dawson said that 'chaos' at last year's annual Bonfire Night event in the park has led to fears that traffic and parking issues would be exacerbated by the beauty spot hosting extra concerts.

"Wetherby Road was carnage - people were parking all over the road, buses were stuck, an ambulance wouldn't have been able to get through. We don't want these events monthly - it needs to be capped at four or five per year. We were under siege on Bonfire Night.

"There's also the issue of damage to the park - Love Parade (held in 2000) destroyed the grass and there was so much rubbish. It needs to be managed well. I'm not against events in the park and they're great for the economy, but there need to be measures in place to mitigate issues, such as extra buses or road closures."

Roundhay Residents' Association chair Sarah dal Pozzo said:-

“We welcome and support any boost to the local economy and thoroughly support proposals to put Roundhay on the map in a positive way.

"We are interested in the Council’s plans to tackle the disruption it might cause local residents and the environment if it is not planned and executed correctly.

"We encourage local residents to contact the council individually and share any concerns they have.’’

Roundhay Park's events licence was downgraded in 2006 due to a lack of demand for large concerts.

Why have there been no super-concerts at Roundhay Park for the last 13 years?

Leeds City Council confirmed that they have been approached by concert promoters representing major artists since 2006, but for various reasons relating to dates and feasibility, none of the proposed events were able to go ahead.

Since 2006, there has been a global recession and a huge shift in the way we consume music, meaning it has become harder for single acts to sell out large venues. It is expensive to hold a concert in Roundhay Park - the licensing and security costs are high - and promoters are less inclined to take the risk during a time period when downloading and streaming music has become increasingly popular.

The park's location in a residential area also means that large-scale events have to be carefully managed to avoid disruption for those living nearby. And in 2006, Leeds lacked a large music venue - the First Direct Arena did not open until 2013, although its capacity is significantly less than the park's was. In 2016, live music did make a successful return to Roundhay with the multi-artist OnRoundhay festival, which included James, Primal Scream and Wolf Alice on the bill.