New look for Headingley

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The Independent Online
Headingley is to have pounds 30m spent on it,in order to make it the pre-eminent venue for both cricket and rugby league in the 21st century, writes Dave Hadfield. Plans announced jointly by Leeds Rugby League Club and Yorkshire Cricket Club yesterday amount to a complete rebuilding of the complex over the next 10 years.

The cricket ground, perceived as beginning to fall behind the standard of facilities at other Test grounds, will change beyond recognition, with only the current pavilion remaining.

Much of the rest of the ground will be double-decked, with seating brought down to the boundary's edge, doing away with the track around the playing area .

The Yorkshire chief-executive, Chris Hassell, said that protecting Headingley's status as a Test ground was a vital consideration. "In all honesty, the facilities here are not as good as we would want them to be," he said. "When they are, we will be playing more county cricket here to the exclusion of some of the other grounds, although that is an emotive issue."

The first phase of the redevelopment, provided the planning permissions applied for yesterday are secured, will be a new, 2,000 seat members' pavilion, incorporating hospitality suites and a Yorkshire cricket museum.

Work at the adjoining rugby ground will start with the replacement of the South Stand, described by Leeds' chief executive, Alf Davies, as "a disgrace in the era we live in." The ultimate plan is for a 25,000, all-seater stadium, with two decks on each side and a single-decker stand at each end.