Headingley Stadium's £35m revamp to start in September
30 June 2017
A long-awaited revamp of Headingley Stadium looks set to go ahead after Leeds Rhinos confirmed work would start on demolition in September this year.
Main contractor Caddick will start the demolition of the stadium’s South Stand at the end of September, with a completion date for the project now pencilled in for late spring 2019.
The demolished stand will be replaced with a new South Stand for the rugby club, while the existing north/south stand, which is shared by the Leeds Rhinos rugby league club and Yorkshire County Cricket Club, will also be demolished and replaced.
The combined stand will provide 4,200 seats facing the cricket and 3,800 facing the rugby pitch, while the south stand for the rugby stadium has a proposed capacity of 7,700, of which 2,200 will be seated. The rugby club will continue to play its home games at the stadium while construction work is ongoing.
Leeds Rhinos had originally planned to build the new South Stand during 2017 with a completion date in 2018, but the whole project was delayed after the club struggled to secure funding.
The rugby club had hoped to sell land in the city to help fund the scheme, with housing developments proposed at two locations.
However, both these planning applications were withdrawn following opposition from local residents. Then in March this year, Leeds City Council confirmed a private backer had been found.
Under the deal, which was signed off by the authority in April, funding will be provided “at no cost to the council taxpayer”, according to Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake.
Initial plans for the scheme pointed to a mixture of public and private funding, but there had been uncertainty around the funding arrangements before the deal was agreed.
The rugby club has also pledged £5m towards the project’s cost. Plans for the refurbishment were approved in January this year.
Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “The South Stand has been the heartbeat of our club for nearly a century and this will be a historic occasion.
“While we are excited about the future and the modern facilities we will be able to offer our supporters moving forward, we will also be taking time to reflect on the incredible memories down the years and recording them for the next generation with a number of initiatives planned over the next two months.”