Crucial decision on Headingley cricket floodlights next week

20131114093500_sw05_headingleyaerialYorkshire County Cricket Club’s plans to install permanent floodlights at its Headingley ground are back before councillors next week – this time for a decision.

And they’re still facing opposition from local residents and at least two local councillors.

Getting the lights in is a top priority for the cash-strapped club if it’s going to continue as an international cricket venue beyond 2019, when its current agreement with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) runs out.

What objectors are mostly concerned about are the visual impact of the four static columns which will carry the lights – initially set at 58m – and light spill affecting people living nearby.

The club has gone some way to allay the concerns since January, when councillors on one of Leeds City Council’s planning panels had a first look at the plans: they’ve reduced the columns’ height by two metres and re-designed the lights to cut spillage.

Whether that’s enough to convince the councillors will become clear when they meet again on 29th May.

“How do we finance that?”

The club hasn’t gone far enough for some objectors, who have been calling for the lights to be fitted on retractable telescopic columns.

Chief Exec Mark Arthur

Chief Exec Mark Arthur

The club says retractable columns would still be 30m high when lowered – and the cost would be prohibitive.

If it gets the go-ahead for its static-column plan it’s already going to have to find over £1m towards the £1.8m overall cost (the ECB would help with the rest).

Putting the lights on retractable columns would mean major construction works inside the ground – and the club having to find a further £1.2m.

“We are one of only two international grounds without floodlights at the moment, and that’s a serious issue,” the club’s chief Executive Mark Arthur said last week. “It is very high on the agenda because in order to be an international ground in the future, you have to have floodlights”.

A picture of Fred Trueman in 1953 with St Michael's in the background. Why not?

A picture of Fred Trueman in 1953 with St Michael’s in the background. Why not?

“We are going to have to have floodlights, there are no two ways about it. But how do we finance that?” he said.

He’s hoping the lights will be up and working by the time the Headingley ground hosts a one-day England-Australia international on 11th September 2015.

The club’s application may not have received any letters of support from local residents, but it has from three venerable institututions: Welcome to Yorkshire, the Chamber of Commerce, and the ECB.

One way or another next week’s decision is going to be pretty crucial for the county club’s future.

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One Response to Crucial decision on Headingley cricket floodlights next week

  1. Techno says:

    Is there anybody more selfish than an English homeowner? If you don’t like floodlights, maybe you shouldn’t live near a sportsground. It’s like the people who buy houses near churches and then complain about the bells ringing.

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