Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Council chiefs set to sign up Arena operator

Council chiefs will meet next week to consider the lease of the Leeds Arena to the world class operators selected to run the venue, SMG Europe.

If given the go-ahead by Leeds City Council’s executive board at their meeting on Wednesday 22 July, the lease agreement will officially signal the start of the relationship with SMG as the tenant operating the venue, and the council as the landlord owning the building.

The completion of the lease will enable the council and SMG to work together with confidence on the development of the detailed design of the arena.

The drawing up of the Agreement for Lease follows recent progress made on the project with the demolition of the Brunswick building and appointment of the design team, planning agent and quantity surveyor. The Arena project team is now looking at appointing a contractor to build the Arena with the chosen contractor anticipated to be finalised by September 2010.

The super-theatre style arena is expected to generate £25.5 million a year for the local economy and will bring 330 jobs to the city. With the venue expected to host some 110 world class entertainment events per year, it is also expected to significantly improve the city’s national and international profile.

Councillor Andrew Carter, Leeds City Council executive board member responsible for the development of the arena, said:

“SMG are world class arena operators and the approval of the lease agreement will be another huge stride forward in the scheme’s progress.

“Our excellent project team are continuing to progress the scheme, sorting out the financial arrangements, working to select a contractor, getting the site cleared and ready to be built on and creating a design for the venue.

“It is clear that once delivered, the Leeds Arena will be a massive boost to the city economically and culturally, creating jobs and attracting investment and tourism to the wider city region. It will also help boost the construction sector which will play a vital role in building the venue.”

The report on the Leeds Arena will be presented to Leeds City Council’s executive board on Wednesday 22 July. The meeting starts at 1pm and copies of the report are available by contacting the council’s press office on the number below or on the council’s website at: www.leeds.gov.uk.

Notes to Editors:

1. SMG Europe was appointed as the preferred operator for the arena in May 2008. SMG is the largest operator of sports and entertainment venues in Europe, including Manchester Evening News Arena and Bridgewater Hall, the Odyssey Arena, Belfast, and Oslo Spektrum. SMG has considerable industry knowledge and has largely defined the optimum internal design of the arena.

2. The council's executive board at its meeting on 5 November 2008 agreed to terminate the developer procurement competition for the arena without the award of a contract and, determined that the city council should proceed as the developer of the arena itself. The Board also agreed to approve Clay Pit Lane as the preferred site for the arena development. The venue’s prime city centre site will ensure that visitors will have a good choice of public transport travel options.

3. Leeds City Council appointed its strategic design partner, Jacobs, to take on the role of developing the design for the venue in April this year. Subsequently, Jacobs appointed Populous to provide the design team with the specialist architectural expertise for the arena design. Populous have a track record of delivering high profile and complex development including Wembley and the Arsenal Emirates stadiums, the O2 arenas in London, Dublin and Berlin, and Wimbledon Centre Court.

4. In June this year the council appointed one of the world’s top cost consultants in the field of arena developments, Davis Langdon LLP, to provide cost management services and Ove Arup and Partners Ltd were appointed as the external planning agent responsible for preparing and submitting an outline planning application. Ove Arup are a global firm of designers, engineers, planners and business consultants whilst Davis Langdon have performed similar cost-management roles for the O2 Dublin; the Echo Arena Liverpool; Odyssey Arena Belfast; the MEN Arena Manchester; Manchester Velodrome and the National Indoor Arena Birmingham.

Ends

For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office(0113) 224 3602
Email sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk

Children’s centre closes its doors after 28 years of service

Pudsey people are being asked to take a trip down memory lane and share some happy memories of a popular children’s centre which is closing after 28 years of service to the community.

St Lawrence House early years centre will finally close its doors this week but is holding a special Teddy Bears picnic for children and families who are currently using the centre and and then opening its doors for anyone who has used the centre since it opened in 1981 to pop in for some cake and tea.

The St Lawrence early years centre building is now old and badly in need of refurbishment, which led to the decision to move the services provided by the centre to new facilities at Swinnow Primary School at and Southroyd Primary School.

Both schools have fantastic new facilities for children up to the age of five, including access to Job Centre advisors and a range of health information and services, and a family outreach service which works with families in the area.

Councillor Richard Harker, Leeds City Council executive member with responsibility for children’s services, said:

“The staff at St Lawrence House have provided a fantastic service for local families and I am sure there will be lots of people looking forward to joining the them on Thursday to share some happy memories.

“The new facilities at Swinnow and Southroyd will provide families with a full range of child care, early education and family support services to meet the wider needs of families with young children.”


The Teddy Bears Picnic is on Thursday 16 July from 1.30pm to 3pm with the open house for anyone who has used the centre taking place afterwards from 4pm to 6pm.

Ends

For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office(0113) 224 3602
Email sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk