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Leeds Ed Sheeran concerts given final go-ahead

Ed Sheeran

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Richard Beecham at 4:14pm 21st May 2019. (Updated at 4:26pm 21st May 2019)

Picture credit: Greg Williams

Two Ed Sheeran concerts in Roundhay Park in Leeds have been given the final go-ahead. 

  • There was a licensing issue due to the amount of tickets sold 
  • Council decision makers have today agreed to quadruple the events capacity from 19,999 to 79,999
  • Around 118,000 tickets had so far been sold for the two-night show
  • That makes it one of the largest concert events in the city’s history

It means Roundhay Park has just become one of the biggest concert venues in the country.

Leeds City Council decision-makers have agreed to quadruple the events capacity for the park from 19,999 to 79,999, following a meeting of the authority’s licensing committee this morning.

The decision effectively rubber-stamps permission for two planned Ed Sheeran concerts to take place in the park later this year.

It was revealed that around 118,000 tickets had so far been sold for the two-night show, making it one of the largest concert events in the city’s history.

The meeting followed around 20 letters of objection from local residents, which complained about the possibility of traffic, noise and antisocial behaviour. During the meeting, two Roundhay residents also spoke out against the plans, claiming there could also be a risk to wildlife in the park.

Leeds Council’s events team, which is behind the plans, said that all local objectors had been contacted to discuss concerns around the concert.

An events officer added:

“The last large event we had was in 2006, so it is a long time since we held a large event like this. The park has proven in the past that it can hold a large event.”

He also claimed they had worked on issues to do with traffic and waste management, as well as planning issues.

Committee member Coun Neil Buckley (Con) asked:

“We have had reference in some of the letters to what people describe as antisocial behaviour, using gardens as toilets, as well as lorries driving over flower beds and causing damage to verges.

“What measures are in place to ensure people aren’t doing that?”

An events officer confirmed that there were plans to increase the number of toilets outside the event, as well as increasing security on the periphery of the event site to ensure residents’ property will be protected.

Coun Jools Heselwood (Lab) was concerned about large vehicles encroaching on nearby residential areas, adding:

“What have we put in place? Is there a dedicated area where these vehicles can park up, so they’re not parking in front of people’s homes?”

The officer said there would be no dedicated car parking space for most of the large vehicles, but added that it wasn’t anticipated that there will be huge numbers of vehicles at the site.

One local resident attacked the fact that thousands of tickets had been sold before permission was even granted to extend the capacity of the site.

She told the meeting:

“Who thought it would be okay to start selling tickets and leave it until a couple of months before the event to get permission? How is that democracy?”

Another resident added:

“It seems crazy to have that many people arriving in the park. My main concern is the wildlife – we have such a wonderful array of swans.

“If it does have to go through, could you make sure there is a park ranger to keep an eye on the swans?

“Why do we feel the need to have these great big concerts when we have the arena. How much of this money is coming back to the council rather than the artist and promoters?”

The officer responded:

“We do have a number of people within the service who have an interest in wildlife. It is not in our experience that there have been specific issues in that area. In terms of the revenue, that is not something we can really discuss and disclose in this meeting.”

Another added:

“At the moment, ticket sales for the Friday are at 53,000; and for the Saturday are at 65,000.”

The meeting was also told that a bus company had been commissioned to put on services to shuttle concert goers between Roundhay Park and Leeds city centre.

Coun Hannah Bithell (Lab) asked why tickets were sold before a licence was sought.

The officer responded:

“We discussed it and wanted to see whether or not there was demand for the number of tickets. Originally we anticipated it would be 89,000, but we submitted 79,999 for the data that we had.”

She also suggested that the council may well seek to reduce the capacity again following the event, such has been the lack of interest from promoters and artists in putting on other events of a similar size in the park.

Following the committee’s hour-long deliberation in private, a decision to accept the proposals was announced by council legal officer Amy Taylor.

She said:

“The committee noted the strong objections from the public, Many were concerned about public nuisance. The committee noted further steps in terms of traffic, waste management and security.”

“The committee have been informed that concerns were received from two responsible authorities, but two additional conditions have been made to the plans.”

“In terms of public concerns, on an event day there would be a residential liaison team to note concerns.”

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