A decision on whether to turn Roundhay Park into one of the UK’s biggest outdoor music venues looks set to go before Leeds City Council decision-makers next week.
The park is set to host two concerts by pop star Ed Sheeran later this year, and the council needs permission from its own licensing committee to quadruple the park’s outdoor events capacity from 20,000 to 80,000 people.
However, around 20 letters of objection to the plans have been sent to the authority, with some claiming such a move could fuel antisocial behaviour in the area.
One letter read: “We already have to contend with and endure numerous events and activities taking place in the park, all of which impact on quality of life for the local residents.
“Compounding this are illegal and antisocial activities… These include: speeding and drag racing; drug dealing and consumption; littering’ parking, driving and doing ‘wheelies’ on the grass of soldier field.
“I can only assume that Leeds City Council are (sic) making this application in order to run bigger events in the park from which to generate more income.
“However, this is being done at the expense of local residents and should not be allowed to go ahead.”
Another letter read: “Not wishing to be a spoilsport and fully understanding the need to raise cash but I object to the open-ended plan.
“The licence should at least limit the numbers of times it can happen each year otherwise life will become intolerable for those of us who live locally and who cannot use our cars on the few times it currently happens with much smaller events.”
The authority’s events team states in its application form: “Roundhay Park is a city park providing a facility for the people of Leeds.
“[It] has been an iconic venue for large events throughout the years. In addition it provides a vital function for community groups and charities looking to host events to raise funds.”
The last time the park was used for such a large event was when Robbie Williams performed in September 2006. Less than a year following this, capacity was reduced to 19,999.
But Ed Sheeran is set to play two nights at Roundhay Park on August 16 and August 17 this year, and an audience of upwards of 60,000 is expected.
The plans will bring back memories for many older concert-goers of the 1980s and 1990s, when Roundhay Park hosted the biggest pop acts on the planet.
The Rolling Stones played Roundhay Park in 1982 – one of only four British venues on their European tour that year.
In 1987 the park hosted rock legends Genesis, six weeks before Madonna played in front of 73,000 fans on the same site.
In 1988, Michael Jackson performed at Roundhay Park on his 30th birthday. Irish rockers U2 performed in front of 54,000 fans as part of their PopMart tour in 1997.
A decision on the application is set to be made at a meeting of Leeds City Council’s Licensing Committee on Tuesday, May 21.