County news

Yorkshire bank on Headingley development

ESPNcricinfo staff

June 5, 2014

Comments: 4 | Text size: A | A

Drawing of proposed development at Headingley, June 5, 2014
Drawing of the proposed 'Masterplan' development of Headingley © Yorkshire CCC
Enlarge
Related Links
Teams: England | Yorkshire
Grounds: Headingley

Yorkshire have unveiled an ambitious development plan to ensure that Headingley remains a viable international venue. The 'Masterplan', which will involve the building of a new pavilion, erecting permanent floodlights and increasing capacity to 20,000, could cost £50m but, despite the club's precarious financial position, is seen as vital to the ground continuing to host England.

While Headingley is guaranteed international matches until 2019 under the staging agreement with the ECB, Mark Arthur, Yorkshire's chief executive, said the overhaul was needed to secure its future. Colin Graves, the club chairman who has sunk much of his personal fortune into Yorkshire, described it as "the most ambitious project" undertaken at Headingley in more than a century.

Graves said the 'Masterplan' would help transform Headingley into one of the finest international grounds in the world and called it his "lasting legacy" to the club.

The development, which will be in conjunction with Leeds City Council and Leeds Rugby, is scheduled to take place in six phases over the next 20 years. Arthur warned that increased competition for Test and limited-overs internationals had led to Headingley slipping down the pecking order.

"I believe we are eighth in the list of Test match venues," Arthur told the Yorkshire Post. "I believe our facilities are behind Hampshire and Durham for international cricket, as well as those of the other Test centres.

"Unless we develop the ground over the next few years, our chances of retaining international cricket post-2019 are very slim, which is why we have put together this masterplan for Headingley. If we didn't take action, we might get the odd one-day match against one of the smaller cricket countries, but the days of Test matches here would be gone."

Yorkshire chose not to bid for Ashes Tests in 2013 and 2015, due to the staging costs, and struggled to sell tickets for the visit of New Zealand last summer, despite the presence of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow in the England team. Headingley will host Sri Lanka later this month, and again in 2016, with another New Zealand Test scheduled for next year. ODIs featuring India, Australia and Pakistan might be expected to bring in bigger revenues.

"This is the most ambitious project the club and the venue will have undertaken since the ground was first established 125 years ago," Graves said.

"Our ambitions are clear. We want to create a stadium that is amongst finest in the world and enable Yorkshire to continue to stage major international fixtures over the long term. It is vital that we don't lose sight of our objectives. As other venues around the country continue to invest in their facilities, we cannot afford to standstill and expect that Headingley will always host international cricket. The stark reality is that if our stadium fails to evolve we will lose our Test Match status, which would be a devastating blow to the region."

The scheme to install floodlights, which received planning permission last week and will require the club to raise £1.1m in addition at a £700,000 grant from the ECB, could be completed by the start of next season. The North/South Stand - shared with the adjoining rugby ground - will be rebuilt in the second phase, creating additional seating and corporate facilities, with work expected to take two years from 2017.

Building a second pavilion, at a cost of £15-20m, alongside the existing Carnegie Pavilion will be the other major construction project, installing new dressing rooms and an entrance to the ground from Kirkstall Lane. Other work will include erecting a translucent cantilever roof over the White Rose Stand. The project will see Headingley's capacity will rise from 17,090 to 20,362.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (June 5, 2014, 20:58 GMT)

YCCC equivalent of HS2. £M50 for 3,000 seats. Fails any extra capacity/increased revenue model. I have little time for accountants in sport but we need one here! Sheer folly. We have a great team/team to come system which we are looking to ruin by for the sake of 3,000 seats. Is this more about making a mark than sound planning/economics. Bewildered by the lack of ROI, not to mention diligence. More like a shot in the darkness. I was hoping to believe in Colin but faith is now dwindling.

Posted by superkingdav on (June 5, 2014, 19:40 GMT)

I wonder if they run a nursery school art competition to design the new stands like they did with the new pavilion.

Unfortunately for Yorkshire the location of the ground limits the amount of seating in the better viewing areas for cricket. There is no space at the rugby stand end, obviously, and little at the other end.

It's not like there is a desperate need for more capacity given recent ticket sales. Other grounds have flexible capacities with temporary stands etc to help with the infrequent nature of big crowds but the layout at Leeds makes that unworkable.

Posted by real_gone_gadd on (June 5, 2014, 16:45 GMT)

It can't be sustainable for so many county clubs to spend fortunes on ground upgrades - welcome though they are - when there are not enough international games to go around all of them.

Posted by   on (June 5, 2014, 14:39 GMT)

Needs something doing to it but not at 16k per extra seat. Doesn't sound great value to me. Adding an extra tier to the west stand and getting capacity towards 25-30k would sound a better use of money, or developing the area between the Carneige Pavilion and the East Stand/Hotel.

Comments have now been closed for this article

TopTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
ESPNcricinfo staffClose
News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days