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NEWS ROUNDUP: Headrow update and Headingley Stadium plans



After 18 months of construction, a multi-million pound Connecting Leeds scheme which is set to transform one of the city’s busiest streets is close to completion as work to resurface the road starts.
The Headrow scheme, once complete in May, aims to give people more appealing alternatives to the car by making bus services quicker and more reliable. Plus it will ensure that journeys on foot and by bike are more convenient, attractive and safer. The overall vision is to create easier connections between bus and rail services and safer, greener and less vehicle dominated areas which will work towards achieving Leeds City Council’s Climate Emergency 2030 net zero carbon target.

The resurfacing work which will start in April is one of the final tasks ahead of completion in mid-May. There will be a series of full weekend closures at various sections of the road.

The dates of these are:

  • Friday 23 April 8pm – Monday 26 April 5.30am: Headrow - Vicar Lane junction to Park Row junction
  • Friday 30 April 8pm – Monday 3 May 5.30am: Headrow – Park Row junction to Westgate
  • Friday 7 May 8pm – Monday 10 May 5.30am: Vicar Lane and New York Road junction

For bus route diversions, visit https://www.wymetro.com/theheadrow

The council have worked with hospitality businesses across the city as they prepare to welcome back customers from Monday 12 April. Our contractors, John Sisk & Son working closely with the council, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and bus operators have worked to rejig their programme and much of the work in key areas is expected to be complete just in time to allow businesses to re-open and create outside dining. These areas will also benefit from new, wider pavements, more trees and new kerbing.

Work will continue around and in front of the Corn Exchange gateway and public realm schemes to complete by spring 2022. 

Leeds City Council's chief officer for highways and transportation, Gary Bartlett said:

“In summer 2019, Connecting Leeds started works to transform the city centre with construction on a number of major projects across the city including the Headrow. After almost two years, it’s really pleasing to see the works coming to an end and the improved environments for all visitors to the city centre.

“The scale of these works has been huge, with new paving and kerb lines, widened pavements, new trees, cycling lanes and bus shelters – along with safer road crossings.

“I would like to thank our partners and all the teams involved; the last 12 months in particular have been very challenging but work has continued throughout. There has been some excellent work in recent weeks in terms of accelerating works to allow businesses to safely re-open on 12 April. There is still much work to do to transform the space around the Corn Exchange and improving bus routes and public realm in the area, so our apologies for any inconvenience caused by this but we’re making good progress.”

LeedsBID’s Chief Executive, Andrew Cooper said:

“Investment in the public realm is paramount in making Leeds city centre an attractive place for investors, residents, visitors and businesses.  The Headrow scheme has continued during lockdown and it’s pleasing to see new trees, new wider pavements and a landscape that encourages you to dwell and not just be a thoroughfare. As businesses on the Headrow re-open and we welcome people back to Leeds, the changes to this area of the city demonstrate the transformative nature of what can be achieved.”

Dave Hill, regional director at John Sisk & Son said:

“Our teams have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and it’s thanks to their dedication and ‘can-do’ attitude that the paving work will be complete on schedule. We’re very proud of the end result and people returning to the city will feel the benefits for years to come”.





Sports chiefs in Leeds want to convert Headingley Stadium into one of the region’s largest boxing and wrestling venues, new Leeds City Council documents have revealed.

An application is set to go before a Leeds City Council licensing committee next week for the Rugby Bowl at Emerald Headingley Stadium to be allowed to host two boxing or wrestling events per year, with a maximum capacity of 25,000 people.

However, the plans have attracted objections from local residents, councillors and the Police, who worry about the possibility for such events to attract antisocial behaviour.

According to the application, such a licence would permit two events per year, on either a Friday or Saturday, to take place between the hours of midday and midnight.

The “Rugby Bowl” refers to the four stands of the rugby ground as well as the pitch, as it is hoped such events could attract up to 25,000 spectators.

The application added: “The events will be served by bars and toilets within the north, south and extentia stands, where both alcoholic and non-alcoholic refreshments are available.

“We anticipate that the ring will be set centrally on the pitch, with spectators occupying the rest of the pitch, the terraces and the stands.”

The plans follow a decision last year to allow the ground to host up to four music concerts in the ground per year, with no more than 19,999 spectators at each event.

But not everybody is happy with the plans.

One letter from a local resident read: “We think that neither boxing nor wrestling are suitable events for an outdoor arena that is situated amongst residential streets. The hours requested for these events are such that we can only assume there will be match and crowd noise in the daytime, in the evening and late into the night.

“Our second objection is around the potential for public nuisance, and particularly noise, litter, waste, and street fouling.”

A letter signed by six local councillors added: “As the stadium are aware (sic);  councillors receive frequent complaints about parking in residential streets when rugby matches are on and the disturbance this causes to local residents.

“We are gravely concerned that the license application outlines that people will be leaving the Stadium up to 12.30am which is much later than current finishing times. We object to this in the strongest terms.

“Most people attending the Stadium park in residential areas in the Headingley, Burley and Queenswood areas. We anticipate significant disturbance to local residents caused by up to 25,000 people leaving the Stadium at 12.30-1am.

“Extending the serving of alcohol until 12am with an additional request for an extra half hour in order to allow for people to start vacating the premises would mean a realistic, actual finishing time of nearer 1am. We are concerned this will result in extreme noise disturbance for our residents. If this license is approved (which we are strongly requesting is not the case) we would insist that alcohol is only served till 10pm as with current events.”

An objection to the plans from West Yorkshire Police stated that the application contained “insufficient information” on how organisers would prevent crime and disorder and improve public safety.

It went on to suggest tighter safety measures, including improved CCTV, a check 21 alcohol scheme, a search policy, and a commitment to no glass drinking receptacles.

In the application, the stadium’s owners state: “All outdoor related events will
adopt the same facility standards and conditions as required at all rugby league and rugby union fixtures to promote the prevention of crime and disorder.

“Stewarding and policing deployments will be calculated based on spectator attendance and crowd intelligence at the pre planning stages.

“All other existing policies and strategies will be adopted to ensure public safety.

“We are mindful of residents and will adopt a policy consistent with existing procedures to minimise noise and light disruption. Floodlights will be dimmed by 11pm and no bottle bins or waste will be emptied or collected until the next day.

“We are a family-oriented business and do not provide entertainment of a sexual or adult nature. We have key on site personnel trained in safeguarding measures who are DBS checked and trained to deal with lost children and vulnerable adults.”

Leeds City Council’s Licensing Sub Committee will meet to discuss the plans on Tuesday, April 20.

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