Friday, 12 November 2010

Planning chiefs give go-ahead for Leeds Arena

Planning chiefs have given the seal of approval to detailed designs for the Leeds Arena, opening the door for construction of the long-awaited venue to start in the spring.

Members of the Leeds city centre plans panel approved ‘the reserve planning matters application’ for the 13,500 capacity venue at a meeting today, Friday 12 November. The reserved matters decision follows the arena gaining outline planning permission in March.

The panel also approved plans to refurbish Woodhouse Lane car park which will act as one of the two key Leeds Arena car parks once the venue opens in early 2013. The other main arena car park is at the Merrion Centre.

The planning approval comes on the back of the venue recently securing an entertainment licence which will allow it to legally operate as an arena and the completion of excavation work at the city centre site where it will be located at Clay Pit Lane.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive member responsible for city development said:
“This is a major step forward for the arena project. It means that all the necessary planning and licensing approvals have been secured and everything is in place for building work to start in the spring.

“It was extremely encouraging to receive the positive response to the external and internal designs of the building and the Leeds Arena design will add something really special to Leeds.

“More importantly, this is great news for the local businesses and residents and all those people who will benefit from this project, from the hundreds of jobs it will secure, to the huge economic and regeneration benefits it will bring to the city.”

The report discussing the reserved planning application to the city centre plans panel outlines the detailed design work which has taken place and how it takes account of the views of individuals and organisations consulted throughout the planning process.

The exterior of the building – which will be a striking honeycomb design - is described as a valuable addition to the cityscape with surrounding landscaping which will radically improve the existing environment at a site which is an important gateway to the city centre.

The external honeycomb design will use a unique LED lighting system to create a changing 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.

The work to Woodhouse Lane car park will involve essential concrete repair and strengthening work and the creation of a new stair and lift tower and a pedestrian access bridge will be built. Improved lighting and CCTV surveillance will be installed and better access created for traffic going in and out of the car park due to the existing pay on foot system being changed to a pay and display operating system.

Notes to editors:
1. The Leeds Arena will open early 2013. 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. The Leeds Arena project has used a two stage planning application process, with an outline application being followed by a reserved matters application. The outline planning application approved maximum design parameters, design principles, highways and access plans. This was approved on March 22nd 2010.
3. The reserved matters application has given the project planning permission for detailed design plans, including external elevations and the public realm around the arena.
4. The preferred construction contractor is BAM - 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.
5. The Leeds Arena project team has some of the most experienced experts in arena design and operation: the operator, SMG Europe, is the largest operator of sports and entertainment venues in Europe.

Notes end

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

Photography exhibition of people that ‘do’ it for Leeds

Stephen Waller, volunteer with Gipton Community Gardens

Volunteers at Hyde Park Source

An exhibition of photographs celebrating volunteers in Leeds opened at Leeds City Library this week.

Martin Maybank, who graduated from Leeds College of Art and Design this summer, took the photographs as part of his final year project for his degree.

The ‘Do’ project features pictures of volunteers from a range of organisations in the city. The superb images can be viewed for free at the 1st Floor Gallery, Leeds Central Library between now and 30 November, and give a real feel for the diverse range of volunteers that we have in the city.

Martin, 22, found out about the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering at college and decided to look into doing some volunteering work himself. Through the Do-it website he found an opportunity with Groundwork where we could use his skills in photography and do his bit for the community. As well as providing him with great images for his portfolio, the experience completely changed his perception about what kind of people get involved in volunteering. He decided to offer more of his time to support the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering and the ‘do’ project was born.

Martin said:
“Doing this project gave me the chance to talk to and photograph loads of interesting people from all over Leeds.

“It was a real eye-opener for me, and completely dispelled my pre-conceptions about what kind of people volunteer. Volunteers don’t all look the same; they come from all different backgrounds and can be any age, young or old. They all have one thing in common though; they are people that give up their own time for the benefit of others and the city of Leeds.

“I would like to thank everyone who took part in this project for sharing their unique stories with me and allowing me to photograph them”

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering said:
“Martin has done a fantastic job in creating this exhibition, which captures the wide range and diversity of people that get involved in volunteering, as well as their feelings about why they do what they do.

“I hope that lots of people are able to go along and view the photographs, and that it helps to illustrate that volunteering really is something that anybody can get involved in.

“The 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering has given us a platform to highlight the benefits of volunteering and the opportunities that exist in the city. This will continue next year for the European Year of Volunteering, and I hope that the people of Leeds will continue to support their city and local communities by giving up a little of their time and expertise for the benefit of others.”

The exhibition features volunteers from organisations including the Dry Stone Walls Association, Gipton Community Gardens, Green For Go, BTCV Hollybush, Hyde Park Source, Multiple Choice, Older People’s Action in the Locality, Sue Ryder Care and Young Leaders. Martin also recorded the thoughts of some of the people that he photographed.


Additional info

For more information about volunteering opportunities visit Volunteer Centre Leeds, 12b St Paul's Street, Leeds LS1 2LE, telephone 0113 395 0405 – open Mondays to Friday 10am to 3pm. Alternatively visit our website

For more information about Martin Maybank please visit

Leeds Central Library opens 9am to 8pm Mondays to Fridays, 10am to 5pm on Saturdays and 1pm to 5pm on Sundays.

The European Year of Volunteering 2011 will enable volunteers all over Europe to meet and learn about best practices in each European country.
Public authorities, volunteer organisations and businesses will learn more about volunteering and how to make it easier for people to contribute.
People who have never heard about volunteering will learn to appreciate what volunteers do and might become volunteers themselves one day.
Visit the official campaign website:

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

Music and arts extravaganza in Garforth

A spectacular music and arts showcase promises to bring a night of fun and entertainment to the people of outer east Leeds.

To celebrate the launch of a host of new music and arts groups in the area, people are being invited to Garforth Academy to see what is on offer.

To launch Arts Live – a community arts partnership between Garforth Academy, Brigshaw High School and Education Leeds’ music and arts service ArtForms, a free event has been organised for Wednesday 17 November at 5.30pm to 9pm.

The talented ‘Arts Live’ music groups; the Garforth Jazz Rock Band; mixed-genre Shiny Band; folk group Slania and; adults and children’s steel-pan bands Steel Crazy and Panic Attack will also be entertaining the crowds.

People attending will also be able to take part in free taster sessions in Samba drumming, streetdancing, guitars and steel pans.

A sensational fire show including fire breathing and juggling will end the night with a bang.

The event is free, but it is recommended to book a place on the workshops.

Lisa Roberts, Arts Live coordinator said:
“I am so excited about the Arts Live Showcase! It’s going to be wonderful to see over 500 children, young people and adults all involved together in what promises to be a spectacular night of performances and workshops. ”

In addition to the free showcase, youngsters from seven primary schools will be taking part in a streetdance performance alongside Garforth Academy’s Boys Dance Club, for just £2 a ticket. Tickets are available from Lisa Roberts on 07790562771 or by emailing:

Arts Live is a community arts provision with a wide variety of arts groups for young people and adults from anywhere in Leeds to get involved in, including children’s theatre, mixed-genre music groups, circus skills and dance.

For more information about Arts Live, or to book a place on the workshops, please contact: 07891277828 or visit

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