Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Tuck in at the new-look Lotherton Stables Tea Rooms

Caption: Leeds City Council Executive Member for Leisure Cllr John Procter samples the homemade cakes in the Stables Tea Rooms with Catering Assistant Pam Pickering (left) and Outlet Manager Annmarie Matthews (right).

Visitors to Lotherton Hall this Easter will be able to feast on the homemade cakes in improved surroundings as the Stables Tea Rooms and courtyard has undergone a major £100,000 refurbishment.

As part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of the historic house and estate near Aberford being made open to the public for the first time in 1969, the tea rooms and courtyard area has been given a makeover to offer a greatly enhanced visitor experience.

Now re-opened to the public, the Stables Tea Rooms now feature a new heating system and improved lighting, along with a new floor, windows and doors and a complete redecoration. A new double door means that the rooms can be extended into a function space with additional seating for 60 people, and is available for conferencing and private hires for parties. A further change has seen with new furniture added both indoors and outside in the courtyard, allowing for increased alfresco dining in the summer.

The Stables Tea Rooms also now features a significant slice of history as the final picture of Sir Alvery Gascoigne in the gardens at Lotherton Hall taken in 1969 is on display. The Gascoigne family wanted the house and estate to be open to the public so in 1968 passed ownership of it to Leeds City Council.

Now on display inside Lotherton Hall itself is a fantastic new exhibition looking at British fashion in the 1960s and 1970s. ‘Fashion Revolution’ reflects back 40 years to the fashion of the time showcasing the iconic designs of famous British designers such as Mary Quant, Ossie Clarke, Zandra Rhodes, Celia Birtwell and Janice Wainwright.
The costume galleries also reveal the way in which the fashion of this period has influenced high street fashion today and help to make Fashion Revolution a must-see for all true fashionistas.

Lotherton Hall is also renowned for its notable collections of furniture, paintings, sculpture, silver, china, costume and Oriental art. It is surrounded by beautiful formal, wildflower and wooded grounds featuring a red deer park and one of the country's most impressive and important collections of rare and endangered birds in the bird garden.

Leeds City Council’s executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

“We are very pleased to have been able to carry out this refurbishment of the cafĂ© and we are confident it will prove very popular with visitors.

“With the house, the grounds and the bird garden Lotherton Hall is a great day out for all the family and over Easter would be an ideal time to pay it a visit.”

For further details on Lotherton Hall, visit the website at or call 0113 281 3259.

Admission:House: adults: £2.93, child £0.98, conc: £1.46, family £4.89. Parking £3.60.

Opening Times: Tues-Sat, 10am-4pm, Sun 12noon-4pm, open 10am-4pm Easter Monday.
Bird Garden: Daily 10am-4pm, Stable Tea Rooms: Daily 9.30am-4pm.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

New arrivals on the farm

Caption: Leeds City Council Executive Member for Leisure Councillor John Procter (right), Home Farm Manager David Bradley (left), and three-year-old Lorna Colling of Ulleskelf feed the new-born lambs.

The sure sign that spring is here is the growing number of new arrivals at Temple Newsam’s Home Farm.

There are already over 70 new-born lambs to see on the farm, along with over 50 rare-breed cattle calves and more entering the world every day. The lambs are a variety of breeds, ranging from the smallest Boreray Sheep to Kerry Hills and Longwooled Wensleydales, while the cattle include Vaynols, Irish Moiled, Red Polls, Gloucesters and Shorthorns.

All the new arrivals can be seen by paying a visit to Home Farm, which is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Apart from the lambs and cattle there are also pigs, goats, chickens and ducks to enjoy at the largest Rare Breeds centre of its kind in Europe.

Home Farm and the whole Temple Newsam House and Estate is gearing up for a busy Easter holiday when a packed programme of activities and events will be taking place.

A new exhibition has now started within Temple Newsam House - the stunning Tudor Jacobean mansion which is one of the most celebrated country houses in the country.

The exhibition entitled Watercolour Masterpieces: Turner and his Contemporaries draws exclusively from the superb collections of Leeds Art Gallery and features works by JMW Turner – one of Britain’s best-loved artists. The exhibition, which runs until Sunday 1st November, features over 50 watercolour masterpieces which will be display in two shows: Part I Watercolour Masterpieces of the Northern Landscape from 9 April – 19 July, and Part II Watercolour Masterpieces of the Southern Landscape from 4 August – 1 November.

The exhibition features works by Cozens (1752-1797), Girtin (1775-1802), Varley (1778-1842) and Cotman (1782-1842) alongside Turner (1775-1851) and includes some well-known pictures including Cotman’s A Ploughed Field, Turner’s Valley of the Washburn, Girtin’s Bolton Abbey and Towne’s Vale of St John among many other famous works. There is also the chance for visitors to create their own tactile landscape as for younger visitors there is a special landscapes explorers guide to follow.

Watercolour Masterpieces: Turner and his Contemporaries is accompanied by a special events programme including talks, meet the curator and family activities. Events taking place over Easter include an evening lecture on the exhibition by former Curator of Leeds Art Gallery Corinne Miller on Thursday 16th April and a special lunch with the exhibition’s curator James Lomax from 12:30pm on Thursday 23rd April.

The exhibition will be on display in Mrs Aston’s Room at Temple Newsam and is free on general admission to the house. Adults £3.43, child £2.44, family ticket £8.81. LEEDSCard holders free. Visit for further details about the exhibition and associated events.

Away from the house there is also plenty going on in Home Farm and on the estate for people of all ages, including the chance to make seasonal egg covers, bonnets and boaters, make 3D Easter chicks, storytelling, cheese and butter making along with expert woodworking and metalwork by a visiting blacksmith.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

“This time of year is the perfect time to pay a visit to Home Farm, as the new-born animals look fantastic and the place is a hive of activity.

“Along with the wonderful watercolours exhibition in the house and all the Easter events on the estate, there is definitely something for everyone to enjoy at Temple Newsam.”

Temple Newsam House is open Tuesday to Sunday 10:30am-4pm and will also be open on Easter Monday. Last admission is 45 mins before closing. For further information on Temple Newsam and its events, visit the website at for all the details.

Notes to editors:
List of Easter events at Temple Newsam House as follows:

Watercolour Landscapes with Corinne Miller
Thursday 16 April
Corinne Miller, former curator of art at Leeds Art Gallery, will give an fascinating evening lecture on the watercolour landscape exhibition. A buffet supper with wine is also available. Tickets are £25. Tickets for the lecture only are £5.

Lunch with the Curator
Thursday 23 April, 12.30pm
Join James Lomax, Curator of Watercolour Masterpieces, for a closer look at the exhibition and a two course lunch in the Dinning Room of Temple Newsam House. £20 per person.

Watercolour Masterclass with local artist Jack Chesterman
Saturday 23 May
Local artist Jack Chesterman leads a days practical class on painting watercolours. All abilities are welcome and materials are provided. £15 per person. To book call 0113 264 7321.

Make your Own Idyllic Landscape
From 9 April – October
As part of the exhibition visitors can 'have a go' at making your own idyllic landscape from materials provided. Be inspired by the exceptional works on display! No booking required. A drop-in activity for all to enjoy.

Events at Home Farm and the estate as follows:

Friday 10th April – 1-3pm Joiners Shop
Cosy creations for your boiled egg. Decorate and make a cover ready for breakfast.

Sat 11th April – 1-3pm Joiners Shop
Create and decorate your own bonnet or boater.

Sun 12th April – 1-3pm Joiners Shop
Hatch your own 3D Easter chick from a sheet of card.

Mon 13th April – 12noon-1pm & 1:30pm-3pm Laundry Room
Learn how to make butter and find out how cheese is produced

Tues 14th April – 1-3pm Joiners Shop
Tales by the fireside. Suitable for all ages.

Thurs 16th April – 1-3pm Blacksmith’s Shop
Watch the visiting blacksmith turn a lump of metal into a useful tool.

Fri 17th April – 10am-3pm Joiners Shop
Wood-turning. See an ordinary piece of wood transformed into a beautiful object.

For details on all Home Farm and estate activities, call 0113 264 5535.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

Bronze glory for Leeds diving twins

Caption: Leeds duo Helen and Carol Galashan are making a big splash in the diving world

Date: 8th April 2009

Leeds divers Carol and Helen Galashan continued their meteoric rise by claiming bronze medals in the European Championships in Italy this weekend.

The identical twins, who became national champions in February just two years after taking up the sport, followed that up with a superb third place in the 10m Women’s Synchronised Platform event in Turin.

Competing against the finest divers from across Europe, the City of Leeds duo who train at the Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport as part of Leeds City Council’s Diving Training Scheme moved up from fifth to third with a fine final dive which was enough to secure a place on the podium.

The competition was won by Russia with Germany second and the 21-year-old Galashans taking third in their first-ever appearance in the event.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

“Congratulations to Carol and Helen and everyone involved in securing this fantastic result. They are a wonderful success story for Leeds and the speed with which their diving careers are developing is a real credit to themselves and their coaches.

“There has been a great deal of media interest in Carol and Helen since they won the national championships, but it is clear that they remain totally focused on their diving and we look forward to seeing them continue to develop in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics.”

As a result of their achievement the twins are on course for a possible return to Italy in the summer for the World Diving Championships which take place in Rome from 18-25th July. If selected they will join the other City of Leeds national champions Charles Calvert (3m Men’s Springboard), Rebecca Gallantree (1m and 3m Women’s springboard) and Sarah Barrow (10m Women’s Platform) who have already qualified to take on the world’s best.

Other City of Leeds divers in action in the European Championships included 13-year-old Hannah Starling, who finished in a creditable 14th place in her first international appearance in the 3m Women’s Springboard event, and Charles Calvert who was 25th in the Men’s 3m Springboard. Garforth diver Callum Johnstone finished 21st in the same competition.

Notes to editors:
Leeds City Council’s Leeds Diving Training Scheme is managed by Adrian Hinchliffe and has been running since 1986. The scheme provides opportunities in the sport of diving for all ages and from recreational to elite level. In total there are over 300 people taking part in the scheme on a daily and weekly basis, making it one of the biggest diving programmes in Britain.

For further information about the scheme contact Adrian Hinchliffe at, Edwin Jongejans at or call 0113 395 7363.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

Grafton Learning Centre wins Arts Award Centre prize

A centre which works with children who are unable to attend mainstream school because of their medical needs has received recognition for helping young people achieve a national arts award.

The Grafton Learning Centre in Woodhouse, part of the Hospital Home and Teaching Service provided through Education Leeds’ East SILC (Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre), received a prestigious Drawing Inspiration Award from the Campaign for Drawing at a recent ceremony at the British Museum.

As part of The Big Draw 2008 competition, participants were invited to draw a memorable journey or dream in rough outline - similar to ways Aborigines draw to remember important paths they take in life - and add interesting encounters and landmarks along the journey.

Adam Wood, who studies at the Grafton Learning Centre and took part in the competition, travelled to London with his mother and a teacher, Tim Boardman, to collect the prize on behalf of the centre.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:
“The Grafton Learning Centre provides an important service to the children and young people who attend. This national award is recognition of the excellent work that goes on and everyone who has taken part should be extremely proud of themselves.”

Chris Edwards chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“My congratulations go to the talented children and young people who have taken part in this competition and produced some brilliant pieces of work.

“Our colleagues at the centre also deserve praise as their commitment and dedication to helping every child and young person achieve their very best is second to none.”

The winning drawings submitted for the competition will be illustrated in the campaign’s new book, which will be sent to thousands of museums, galleries, schools, heritage and community venues as inspiration for the Campaign’s tenth birthday Big Draw in October 2009.


Notes to editors:
The Hospital and Home Teaching Service (HHTS) was formed in April 2007 to provide education for children and young people who, because of their medical condition, are hospitalised or unable to attend mainstream school due to ill health. This service is provided by the East Leeds Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre (SILC) John Jamieson School, on behalf of Education Leeds.

For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577

Water way to spend Easter

Budding Ben Ainslie’s from north west Leeds will be making waves this Easter with free sailing taster sessions at Leeds Sailing and activity centre at Yeadon Tarn.

Around 150 young people will be taking part in a number of water based activities at Leeds City Council’s sailing centre thanks to funding from the outer north west area committee.

The open day will give youngsters, aged 8 to 14, a chance to try their hands at sailing, canoeing, kayaking, raft building and off road biking, all for free.

Media Opportunity:
Members of the media are welcome to attend the open day and possibly take part in some of the activities. If you wish to send a reporter/ photographer or film crew, please contact the press office to arrange on 0113 2474713.
Date: Thursday 16 April
Time: 12pm – 4pm
Venue: Leeds Sailing and Activity Centre, Cemetery Road, Yeadon, LS19 7UR

Each young person will have a go at one or two of the activities to help them discover what opportunities there are on their doorstep, which could possibly lead to a long-lasing interest.

The open day has been organised by Leeds City Council’s sport and active recreation service, and staff from the centre will be providing professional coaching with additional support from coaches from British Cycling and the Royal Yachting Association.

This is just one of a number of projects the outer north west area committee has provided funding for, to increase levels of participation and raise awareness of what the Yeadon Tarn centre can offer both to adults and young people.

The centre provides activities for every age group and ability, from canoeing to kayaking and dinghy sailing, raft building, water safety, canoeing and learn-to-sail courses, plus land-based sessions such as mountain biking, off-road biking and orienteering.

Councillor Les Carter, executive member responsible for area management said:“This is a great example of what area management and area committees are all about. Different groups working together to provide young people with enjoyable opportunities in their own locality.”

Councillor Chris Townsley, chair of the outer north west area committee, said:
"The area committee is really pleased to be able to support projects like this, which allows young people to have a go at something a little bit different - something they wouldn’t normally try.

“Maybe some will consider taking it up as a hobby or even further. There's a chance these youngsters could be the Olympians of tomorrow!”

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council Press Office, on (0113) 2474713

Council campaign says: Shop local and spend your pounds in Pudsey

A campaign to encourage people in Pudsey to shop local and support businesses in the area during the recession is to be launched over the Easter weekend.

Leeds City Council will be launching a ‘shop local’ campaign to encourage local people to spend their pounds in Pudsey and think twice about going ‘out of the town’ to shop.

******************** MEDIA OPPORTUNITY ********************

What: Launch of Shop Local campaign
Where: Pudsey Market and Market Place Car Park Pudsey, Leeds
When: Friday 10th, Saturday 11th April, between 11am and 3pm

******************** MEDIA OPPORTUNITY ********************

A special logo will be used on promotional material such as t-shirts, bags, badges, car stickers and fridge magnets, while promotional events and incentive days will be staged over the forthcoming year and beyond. Local traders will be wearing their ‘shop local’ t-shirts and goodie bags will be handed out to people who attend the event.

It is hoped that people will be persuaded to spend money in Pudsey, boosting the local economy and helping locally-run shops and business.

Funded by the council’s Town Centre Management, the campaign is just one of several initiatives to boost support for local businesses and retailers and increasing the commercial viability of Pudsey. The overall long term strategy is to hold regular events and promotions to support the shop local campaign, increase Pudsey’s profile and what it has to offer among local people and across a wider area of Leeds.

On Saturday 11th an Easter egg hunt will be taking place with a first prize of a giant chocolate Easter bunny. Second and third prizes will be Easter eggs and all children who qualify will receive eco-friendly goody bags containing chocolate mini Easter eggs and other surprises. Entry forms can be collected from the Town Centre Managers market stall in the market from 11am the last entry should be in by no later than 2.45pm. The draw for the winner will be made at 3pm in Market Place car park. The competition will be open to ages from seven to 13 years of age only.

In the Market Place car park on Friday and Saturday there will be a Made Science event with a two-hour workshop for children to introduce them to the exciting world of science. There will be other events happening over Friday and Saturday in the car park, including Punch and Judy show on the Saturday.

Councillor Andrew Carter, leader of Leeds City Council and executive board member responsible for Town Centre Management, said:
“Locally-run businesses are one of the lynch pins of our city’s economy and anything we can do to encourage people to support them during this recession, ensuring that Leeds is in a good position for when things improve.
“It is also important in these difficult times that people support local businesses in whatever part of Leeds they live in”

For media enquiries, please contact;
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937

Council projects honoured at Leeds Awards for Architecture

Keith Bradley, winner of last year’s RIBA Stirling Prize, the most prestigious prize in UK architecture, was the guest assessor and keynote speaker at last night’s Leeds Awards for Architecture.

This year’s presentation, which took place on 7 April at Leeds Metropolitan University’s Rosebowl, was principally sponsored by Leeds Metropolitan University with additional sponsorship from the Property Forum Steering Group members.

Leeds City Council won an award for its refurbishment of Leeds Grand Theatre, and the new school build at Ralph Thoresby High School was also commended.

The aim of the awards, now in their 22nd year, is to recognise innovative and sustainable architecture, conservation and landscape in Leeds, and to increase awareness and interest in the design of buildings and their surroundings.

Councillor Andrew Carter, leader and executive member for city development said:
“These awards confirm Leeds as a city of outstanding and innovative architecture, not only with its stunning new buildings but with the fantastic refurbishment work taking place in some of our older buildings.

“Leeds is a city that is constantly changing but is renowned for its visionary approach to architecture, which is a source of great pride to us and something which we will continue to celebrate.”

Sue Ansbro, planning director at WYG, said on behalf of the Leeds Chamber Property Forum:
“The forum is delighted to support these awards. They celebrate architecture in Leeds and promote design excellence as a benchmark and an aspiration for the city. The re-emergence of Leeds as a city with a strong sense of place and civic pride is now self evident”

Eligible schemes for this year’s awards need to have been completed between 1 January 2006 and 10 October 2008. There are four categories of award; new building, altered building, conserved building and landscape design.

Judging takes place in two stages. All entries are initially judged by photo and then all shortlisted schemes are visited by a panel of 11 experts, led by Keith Bradley. In reaching their decisions the assessors gave consideration to appearance, relation to setting, enhancement of the area, sustainability, appropriate use of materials, lasting qualities, fitness for purpose and consistency of design

Notes for editors

A near record number of schemes won awards and commendations this year with the results announced at the presentation evening [and embargoed before]:

The Grand Theatre
The Round Foundry, Holbeck Urban Village
Whitehall Riverside footbridge
Majorie and Arnold Ziff Building, University of Leeds
Stage, The Performing Arts Centre
Shine, Former Harehills Middle School
The Gateway [ part only ] East Street
One Brewery Wharf
The Ellington Hotel, 23 - 25 York Place

St James' Hospital Oncology Wing, Beckett Street
Ralph Thoresby School, Holtdale Approach
Miller Homes, Millennium Village, Allerton Bywater

The guest assessor and keynote speaker at the event was Keith Bradley of Fielden Clegg Bradley, winner of the Stirling prize last year.

The RIBA Stirling Prize is given for the RIBA Building of the Year. It is run in association with The Architects' Journal and is presented to the architects of the building which has been the most significant for the evolution of architecture in the past year.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578

Noticeboards to improve communications in inner east Leeds

Fourteen community noticeboards have been installed at key locations across Gipton and Seacroft in a bid to improve communications between local services and community groups.

A community consultation exercise in 2007 identified the need for clearer, easily accessible communications between service deliverers and local residents. As a result of this, fourteen noticeboards have been positioned outside primary schools and shopping centres in the area to keep as many people as possible informed about local activities and support. Local councillors have been involved in the process throughout and have chosen and approved the locations for all the noticeboards through forums, one to one consultation, area management committee meetings and tasking groups.

Local schools, extended services, Gipton and Seacroft neighbourhood policing teams, East North East Homes Leeds, West Yorkshire Fire Service, East North East Area Management Team, the Anti-social Behaviour Unit, Youth Services, local voluntary organisations and community groups have signed up to provide regular, up-to-date information for the noticeboards.

******************** MEDIA OPPORTUNITY ********************

Date and time: Thursday, 9 April, 2pm
Venue: Community noticeboard, St Augustine’s Primary School,
St Wilfred’s Circus, Gipton, LS8 3PF
Event: Inspector Nik Adams (neighbourhood policing team), Susan
Blackburn (extended schools cluster co-ordinator), Wendy
Breakwell (neighbourhood warden) and Hayley Clifton
(neighbourhood manager) will be available for photos/comments
about the new community noticeboards.
******************** MEDIA OPPORTUNITY ********************

Councillor Les Carter, executive board member responsible for neighbourhoods, said:
“This is a great example of how area committees are working with and listening to the needs of the communities that they serve.

“I hope that the noticeboards will be useful and provide local people with the information that they need to engage with services in their area.”

Councillor Brian Selby, chair of the inner east area committee said:
“I see these community noticeboards as a way for us to improve how we communicate with local people. The sites have been chosen carefully to make sure that as many people as possible see them regularly.

“They will be really useful to let people know about services that the council is offering. They will also offer advice on how to contact us with any concerns or make suggestions about how we do things.”

Notes to editors

The noticeboards have been paid for from the government's Safer, Stronger Communities Fund allocated to neighbourhoods in the bottom 3% nationally in terms of deprivation indicators. The project is being overseen by the local neighbourhood manager, Hayley Clifton (tel. 2007753).

Neighbourhood wardens will hold the keys for the noticeboards, and be responsible for updating the information. Area management and the inner east area committee will retain ownership and responsibility for the boards. Ten noticeboards will be located outside schools, who have all been involved in identifying the exact location for the noticeboards to help maximise their impact. Local shopowners have been consulted about the boards where applicable.

The locations for the noticeboards are as follows;

Killingbeck and Seacroft ward:

Location and wording on the noticeboard
On the public footpath outside Seacroft Grange Primary School, Moresdale Lane, Leeds 14 - Seacroft Community Noticeboard
On the public footpath outside Blacks shops, South Parkway, Leeds 14 - Seacroft Community Noticeboard
On the parks and Counrtyside land just outside Parklands Primary School grounds, Dufton Approach, Leeds 14 - Seacroft Community Noticeboard
On the public footpath outside Beechwood Primary School, Kentmere Avenue, Leeds 14 - Seacroft Community Noticeboard
Within the grounds of Alston Lane Community Centre (owned by Environment & Neighbourhoods Directorate, Leeds City Council) - Community Noticeboard
On Seacroft Green, Old York Road Leeds 14 (on Parks and Countrysides, Leeds City Council land) - Seacroft Community Noticeboard

Gipton and Harehills ward:
Location and wording on the noticeboard
On the public footpath outside Oakwood Primary School, Gipton, Leeds 9 - Gipton Community Noticeboards
On the public footpath outside Harehills Primary School, Darfield Road, Harehills, LS8 - Community Noticeboard
On the public footpath outside St Augustines Primary School, St Wilfreds Circus, Gipton, Leeds 9 - Gipton Community Noticeboard
On the public footpath outside Hovingham Primary School, Hovingham Avenue, Harehills, Leeds 8 - Community Noticeboard
On the public footpath outside St Nicholas’ Primary School, Oakwood Lane, Gipton, LS9 - Gipton Community Noticeboard
On the public footpath outside Woodlands Primary School, Foundry Place, Gipton LS9 - Community Noticeboard
On the public footpath outside Wykebeck Primary School, Brander Street, Gipton LS9 - Gipton Community Noticeboard
Coldcotes Circus Shopping Parade, Coldcotes Circus, Gipton Leeds 9 - Gipton Community Noticeboard

For media enquiries please contact:
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 395 1578

Leeds Arena: Bulldozers move in to demolish Brunswick Building

Caption: Cllr Andrew Carter, Leader of Leeds City Council and John Sutherland MD of SMG Europe watch the demolition of the Brunswick building.

The next stage in the development of the Leeds Arena began this week when bulldozers moved in to begin work on demolishing a former university building.

The 5-storey high Brunswick Building, formerly owned by Leeds Metropolitan University, will be pulled down to make way for construction of the arena on a 5.1acre site at Clay Pit Lane in Leeds city centre.

The demolition of the Brunswick Building is the next stage in the programme to build the Leeds Arena, which is planned to open in 2012. Work to demolish the building and clear the Claypit Lane site is expected to take around 18 weeks. Once the site has been cleared and levelled part will be used as a temporary public car park.

Councillor Andrew Carter, Leader of Leeds City Council and executive member for city development, said:
“This is a key stage in the Arena development. A lot of people have worked hard to get us to this position, where we are actually able to start work on the ground and I am delighted to be here to mark this important event.

“We are now progressing quickly on this project and the council remains committed to turning it from an ambition into a reality. Design work has started and the intention is to submit an outline planning application for the development in the autumn. The arena will act as a gateway into Leeds, it will benefit from excellent transport links and will complement the activities of the universities, creating a real buzz in this part of the city. "

John Sutherland, Managing Director of venue operators SMG Europe said:
“This will be the first tangible step in turning the vision of an arena for Leeds into reality. Once work begins, the public and the wider entertainment industry will appreciate that Leeds really is going to have a venue which puts it on the map for world class entertainment.”

The arena will be a 12,500 seat venue able to accommodate a range of events and establish Leeds as a top class city for entertainment and sport. It is expected to create over 300 new jobs and bring in over £25m to the Leeds economy as visitors take part in other activities and spend money while they are in the city.

Leeds City Council acquired the Brunswick Building in November 2008. The council paid £6m for the 2.91 acre plot which makes up the whole 5.1 acre site for the arena development at Clay Pit Lane.

The council will appoint in the next couple of days an architectural design team who will begin work on designing the arena. An announcement on the appointment will be shortly.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3602