Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Leeds Arena – work begins on site

Work has started at city centre site where the Leeds Arena will be built to prepare it for construction of the 13,500 capacity super theatre venue.

People passing the Clay Pit Lane site can now see hoardings going up and sewers and drains being diverted to prepare for construction work to begin.

The preferred construction contractor for the 13,500 capacity venue, BAM, have been appointed to undertake the enabling work, which once complete, will allow construction of the venue to begin.

A huge £55million construction project, the arena is expected to add around £25.5m per year to the city’s economy and create around 450 construction jobs, with potentially 90 apprenticeships.

Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive member the city development, said:
“It’s great news that work has started to prepare the site for the arena – everything remains on schedule for construction of this exciting venue to start early in 2011.

“Once complete, the arena will bring an addition 1million visitors to Leeds and an annual economic benefit of over £25 million all of which is hugely important for creating employment for local people and attracting investment to the city.

“With work also starting on another major city centre retail development project, Trinity Leeds, which is a £100million construction project, the city’s development and construction industries are being given a major boost. This shows the strength of the Leeds property sector and what can be achieved by the combined efforts of the public and private sector.”

The work at Clay Pit Lane is the first activity to take place on the site since the Brunswick building was demolished in 2009. Since then, the site has been used as a temporary surface car park. This has now permanently closed and Elmwood road, which currently splits the arena site, is also permanently closed.

The start of work on site follows last month’s publication of the proposals for the external design of the Leeds Arena which revealed it to be a striking honeycomb design with a kaleidoscope of coloured lights which will come alive on an evening and change colour or pattern to reflect the mood of the arena event at the time.

Notes to editors:

1. The Leeds Arena will open late 2012. The venue will be a unique ‘super theatre’ fan shape design which guarantees every seat in the house perfect sightlines of the centre stage - 68 metres the longest distance from the stage as opposed to 90-110 metres at a conventional arena.
2. BAM is part of Royal BAM Group. Royal BAM has a strong pedigree in large prestige buildings and is a key contractor behind two of this year’s stadiums in the FIFA World Cup – including Soccer City, home to the FIFA World Cup Final. They are also currently leading on a £9.2m refurbishment of the Leeds City Varieties theatre and previously constructed the award-winning Leeds Metropolitan University building, the Rose Bowl.

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

Discover the hidden secrets of Leeds’ historic venues

Caption: The iconic Leeds Town Hall will be open for visitors to explore during Heritage Open Days

Historic venues all over Leeds will be throwing open their doors for free this week as part of the national Heritage Open Days.

The annual celebration which runs from Thursday 9th September to Sunday 12th September sees a wide range of free events and activities happen all over the country encouraging people of all ages to discover the buildings and facilities around them and find out any ‘hidden secrets’ they may hold.

In Leeds, a range of city council-managed venues are taking part including the most iconic building in the city – Leeds Town Hall – being opened up to visitors who will be able to see the historic courtroom and police cells below.

Kirkstall Abbey will see guided tours taking place, while Temple Newsam House, Lotherton Hall, Abbey House Museum, Leeds Museum Discovery Centre, Thwaite Mills Watermill and Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills will also be free to visit.

One of the newer Leeds venues, The Carriageworks theatre, is taking part with behind-the-scenes tours of the building, while the city’s parks and green spaces are not to be outdone with guided tours on offer at Farnley Hall, the Meanwood Valley, Otley Chevin Forest Park, Roundhay Park and Lawnswood Cemetery.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“Heritage Open Days is a great national celebration of our historic buildings and areas and offers the ideal opportunity for people to visit places they’ve never been before and to find out the interesting hidden secrets many of them hold. We are delighted to once again be taking part and look forward to people of all ages exploring our fantastic facilities.”

For further information on Heritage Open Days, visit the website at


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

Statement about Connaught

A spokesman for Leeds City Council said:
“Connaught is one of the major contractors for the council and we are watching the situation very closely and with concern.
“However, we were well aware of the emerging situation and this announcement from the company has not been unexpected.
“It has given us time to develop detailed contingency plans – these are now in place and ready to begin should Connaught be officially put into administration.
“We are committed to minimising the disruption to housing and school projects across the city because of this, and people should not worry that work will not go ahead because of it.”

The contracts Connaught currently holds with the council include:
• School building maintenance
• Responsive repairs and maintenance for Aire Valley Homes Leeds and West North West Homes Leeds.
• Replacement of uPVC windows
• Defective properties (general and specialist)
• Whole house improvements
• Kitchens and bathrooms
• Domestic and commercial electrical testing

For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council Press Office (0113) 224 3937