Call to make Leeds arena dreams come true

LEEDS council leader Andrew Carter is urging his fellow politicians to put aside their differences and unite in support of the city's concert arena dream.

Coun Carter (Con, Calverley and Farsley) is determined that the scheme will not be derailed by claims it could damage trade at Sheffield's existing arena.

And he wants local MPs and councillors of all parties to do everything they can to make sure Leeds gets the entertainment venue it deserves.

Coun Carter's rallying cry comes as regional development agency Yorkshire Forward prepares to decide whether to part-fund the proposed 12,500-seater arena.

He said: "I expect our partners to 'put their shoulders to the wheel'' and all declare their 100 per cent support for what we are trying to achieve.

See what's in store for us with our video weather forecast

"They have to punch their weight and see off the ridiculous complaints from certain Sheffield Members of Parliament.

"We should also be seeing a lot more vocal support from the opposition Labour group on Leeds City Council.

"We all have to stand together to ensure the delivery of this high profile and hugely important project."

Responding to Coun Carter's comments, Labour group deputy leader Coun Richard Lewis (Pudsey), pictured above right, said: "We have always supported an arena for Leeds and continue to support the idea, especially if it delivers economic regeneration and quality jobs."

Some Sheffield MPs believe it would be inappropriate for Yorkshire Forward to pump public money into the council's scheme, as its brief is to improve the regional economy as a whole.

A bid for planning permission for the arena is due to be submitted by September, with a view to work starting next year at the Clay Pit Lane site chosen as its home.

Council chiefs have said some of the funds for the project will come from the 51m windfall they received from the sale of Leeds Bradford Airport.

They are also understood to be confident of securing the additional cash they need from Yorkshire Forward.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS STORY. CLICK THE COMMENT BUTTON BELOW TO HAVE YOUR SAY - WE'LL PUBLISH THE BEST IN FRIDAY'S YORKSHIRE EVENING POST.

Library image

New war of words as three more train strikes announced on Northern