'Arena effect' boost for Leeds

The Leeds arena is already promising to boost the city's economy – even before it is built.

Councillors have given outline approval to the 55m scheme to be constructed off Clay Pit Lane in the northern part of the city centre.

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Once open, the 12,500-seat arena is forecast to boost the city's economy by 25.5m a year and create more than 450 jobs.

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And the council's city centre plans panel, which granted approval, heard the arena proposals were already playing a part in attracting developers to a part of the city centre which, over the past decade, had not enjoyed the same levels of investment as some parts of Leeds.

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A report to the panel said: "The site is in a critical location in terms of the potential to economically stimulate this part of the city centre and thereby help to rebalance investment within the city.

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"As an example, since submission of the application, at least three pre-application inquiries for major development associated with the arena have been received relating to premises close to the site."

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It was also likely that investment in nearby areas, such as the Merrion Centre, would be stimulated in the short to medium term.

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The site is close to inner city housing areas, such as Little London, and the report said: "The development will provide work experience, training and employment opportunities."

During construction – which could start at the end of this year – the contractor selected by the council will be required to provide 90 apprenticeships.

Coun Neil Taggart (Lab, Bramley) said: "The building has to be functional butt it has to have a wow factor as well."

Design, landscaping and other details will be included in a later planning application and, in granting approval, councillors stressed they expected a high quality building to be produced.

After the meeting, Coun Andrew Carter, council leader, welcomed the panel's decision and said: "The arena proposal is already bearing fruit."

REVELATION: Mateusz Klich in action. PIC: Tony Johnson

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