Headingley Carnegie rugby stand wins planning approval

Council planners have given the green light to plans to build a new stand for rugby fans in Leeds.

The South Stand at the Headingley Carnegie stadium is home to the most fanatical Leeds Rhinos fans but the ground also hosts Leeds Carnegie matches in rugby union, as well as international rugby league matches.

Its condition has deteriorated in recent years and its capacity reduced from 8,000 to 6,000 for safety reasons.

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Members of Leeds City Council’s plans panel west have backed the plans subject to a number of conditions being agreed.

Paul Caddick, Leeds Rugby chairman, said: “We are delighted by Leeds City Council’s decision to approve the redevelopment of the South Stand in line with our development proposal, which is the next step in the total redevelopment of Headingley Carnegie Stadium.

“A number of issues were raised as part of the application process and we will now meet with our design team to address these concerns where possible. The board of Leeds Rugby will then meet to discuss the implementation, timing and funding for the development proposals.”

Under the plans, the stand will be demolished and replaced with a single tiered building similar in design to the new Carnegie Stand on the east side of the ground with an increased capacity of 7,400. However the total ground capacity will only rise from 20,000 to 20,850 due to the loss of 550 spectator places on the old Western Terrace to make way for the new structure.

A report to members said 32 objections had been received raising concerns over the increased capacity and height of the building, loss of sunlight to neighbouring properties and increased noise and its appearance.

In his objection, Coun Martin Hamilton (Lib Dem, Headingley) raised concerns about the size of the building, which is considerably higher than the existing stadium, and described the proposed landscaping as “completely inadequate”.

He also wanted a noise and nuisance impact assessment amid concerns the new structure would increase match day noise.

He added: “I should add that the stadium is guilty of bad faith in presenting a stand with a lower capacity at the consultation events but submitting an application for a larger structure. This does nothing to build trust between the rugby club and the local community.”