New details of Leeds Arena site move revealed

Council bosses today revealed new details about the shock decision to make Clay Pit Lane their preferred home for the new Leeds Arena.

Join us for a live webchat about Leeds arena on Friday, November 21, at 12pm with Martin Farrington, acting head of recreation at Leeds City Council.

Leeds Council sprang a major surprise earlier this month when it chose the five-acre site over locations put forward by rival private sector firms Montpellier Estates and GMI.

The council decision to build the arena itself also stunned Montpellier and GMI, who were shortlisted as developers.

Now the council has confirmed to the YEP that Clay Pit Lane was not even in the running to be the home of the arena until July this year.

The authority also claimed that Montpellier and GMI were "well aware" it was considering going it alone. Asked about the cost to the taxpayer of the developer procurement process, the council said it would be "difficult" to supply an exact figure.

It did say, however, that it was "absolutely confident" the right procedures had been followed.

Montpellier and GMI would not say whether they might take legal action over the arena decision. Run by Yorkshire entrepreneur Jan Fletcher, Montpellier would have built the 12,500-seater facility on land it owns at Sweet Street, in Holbeck.

Join us for a live webchat about Leeds Arena on Friday at 12pm with Martin Farrington, acting head of recreation at Leeds City Council. Martin will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about the council's decision to build the arena at Clay Pit Lane.

It is understood former Leeds United director Peter Gilman and his GMI group wanted to use council-controlled land next to the football club's Elland Road ground.

The Clay Pit Lane site, meanwhile, is jointly owned by the council and Leeds Metropolitan University.

Council chiefs began considering Clay Pit Lane as a potential arena site after plans to create 500 homes and a new 'cultural quarter' there fell through in July.

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