Greenbelt land sale to fund Headingley Carnegie stadium revamp is opposed

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Controversial plans to part fund a £28.5m transformation of Headingley Carnegie Stadium by selling off two plots of greenbelt land will come under the spotlight at a planning meeting next week.

Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire County Cricket Club want to sell land they own off Thorpe Lane in Tingley and at Tetley Field, Weetwood, to housing developers to help fund an expansion scheme at Headingley.

Plans include the replacement of the existing shared North-South Stand and the replacement of the existing South Stand to the rugby ground.

The Headingley stadium redevelopment plans along with outline planning applications for the two proposed housing sites will be discussed by members of Leeds City Council’s city plans panel next Thursday.

Councillors will be asked to give views on the proposals to “aid progression of the application.”

The redevelopment is needed to improve facilities at Headingley to ensure it can host four matches in the 2019 Cricket World Cup and also for it to be considered to continue hosting international matches from 2020 and beyond.

More than 160 residents have written letters of objection to proposals for up to 150 homes on land south of Thorpe Lane, Tingley.

TV Writer Kay Mellor of Leeds is among hundreds of objectors opposing a planning application to build up to 39 houses on Tetley Field at Weetwood.

Martyn Thomas, chairman of Weetwood Residents’ Association which is leading the Save Tetley Field campaign, said objectors will be voicing their concerns at the planning meeting.

Mr Thomas said: “The principle reasons for opposing it remain the same, the loss of greenbelt, the loss of conservation area, the loss of urban green corridor and the funding of the redevelopment by selling greenbelt land.

“We will take it as far as we possibly can in opposing it. It is just plain wrong and that is what we are determined to show.”

A report to the city plans panel meeting states: “The proposals are the subject of three separate but linked planning applications.

“The three applications are linked by virtue of the cross funding case put forward by the applicant that the stadium redevelopment will be part funded through the sale of the two housing sites should planning permission be granted.”

In July, senior Leeds councillors approved a £4m taxpayer-funded grant to Headingley stadium towards the major redevelopment which would help keep international Test cricket in the city.

The authority’s executive board approved a request by Yorkshire County Cricket Club for council support for its proposed redevelopment of the North-South Stand.

Coun Richard Lewis, the council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, told that meeting: “Yorkshire and cricket are practically synonymous and Headingley rolls off the tongue of people worldwide when discussing some of the great international cricket matches. Cricket at Headingley also makes a significant contribution to the economy in Leeds, bringing people in to see our wonderful city.”