The Yorkshire County Cricket Club today announced a start date for the demolition of The Main Stand to enable major redevelopment of the cricket facilities.
Construction work is due to begin in earnest on Monday October 2, with the process of dismantling the existing structure set to last around eight weeks. The work, confirmed in April, is part of a £35m deal with a private investor to redevelop the cricket and rugby stadiums.
The Main Stand, originally built in 1899, was completely destroyed by a fire on Good Friday in 1932. It was rebuilt in its current form in May 1933; designed by JC Proctor and built by William Airey & Sons at a cost of £20,000.
Headingley Stadium, unrivaled in history and tradition, finally got another deserved makeover late last decade and more ambitious development plans are set to be realised to ensure it remains a viable international venue beyond 2019.
The development work will undoubtedly throw up a series of challenges, but Steve Pitts, Project Manager for Caddick Construction, insists he and his team are determined to deliver on time.
“There has been a lot of dialogue between the three clubs, in particular the past 12 months – and years actually,” he said. “We’ve got a plan and it’s going to be a logistical challenge, everybody knows that. It’s quite a tight site and we’re limited for access and egress but we’ve got a plan in place. There are still plenty of meetings scheduled to finalise the finer detail but we’re looking forward to the challenge. As long as everybody accepts it’s a challenge, and there are lots of hurdles to get over, then we’ll be fine.
“The demolition phase will be around eight weeks and as the building is demolished the materials will be segregated by the planting machinery. There will be very little human activity in there other than the machine operators. We call it dismantling rather than demolition these days. It will be very much the case of taking it down from one end to the other, sorting the materials as we go. It is a tight area and a challenge, so the aim will be to take it down and get it away as efficiently as possible.”
A temporary stand is due to be erected on the rugby side of the North-South Stand in time for the start of the Super League season and the Club have kindly agreed for both the Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire Carnegie to use the changing facilities in the East Stand net area. The Emerald Stand, as it will be known, will also boast a 450-seater banqueting suite overlooking both sports pitches.
Caddick Group, who own Headingley Carnegie Stadium and Leeds Rhinos, took control of the rugby league club in 1996 and Paul Caddick has remained chairman throughout this period.
“It is an exciting challenge and as Caddick construction we’ve already got a huge involvement with the stadium anyway,” he added. “It’s close to our hearts and our Chairman’s heart. There’s lots of hard work to go through and there will be heartache and a lot of angst as we’re trying to marry up the demolition and construction with Yorkshire, Carnegie and Rhinos too.
“We’ve had lots of meetings with Mark Arthur, Sam Hinchliffe and Sue Ward, as far as the logistics of people playing on the surfaces and where they’re going to access on matchdays. But we have settled on the principles of what we need to do. We’re really looking forward to taking ownership of the site and we’ll be doing a little bit of preparation work over the next few weeks, some soft stripping in the areas we can’t get to with machines, but week commencing October 2 we’ll be fully into it.
“For the spectators, when they come back for the start of next season in the spring they’ll see a completely different stadium. The new structure will be starting to go up and there will have been a lot of work done in the ground on foundations and drainage. Ultimately, we’ve all got our eyes on May 2019 and being ready for more Test Match cricket here.”