Businesswoman Jan Fletcher set to make offer over Leeds Arena legal costs

MILLIONAIRE businesswoman Jan Fletcher has moved to try to end her stand-off with Leeds City Council over money it is owed from her failed Leeds arena legal challenge.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 5th February 2014, 1:13 pm
Jan Fletcher
Jan Fletcher

Council bosses recently announced they were bringing a bankruptcy action against Ms Fletcher, who owes the local authority £2m in interim costs following the arena case.

But, during an initial bankruptcy hearing at Harrogate County Court today, her legal team said she would be making an offer to the council regarding the costs.

The hearing was adjourned, leaving the council waiting to see what form the entrepreneur’s offer would take.

A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: “We are determined to pursue recovery of the very significant costs to us of defending this case and will look at any offer very closely to see if Ms Fletcher can come forward with credible proposals for meeting her debts to council taxpayers in Leeds.”

Ms Fletcher took the council to court following its surprise decision in 2008 to make Clay Pit Lane, in Leeds city centre, the home of the arena.

It had been thought that Sweet Street in Holbeck – a site owned by her Harrogate-based Montpellier Estates firm – and land next to Leeds United’s Elland Road ground were the only places in contention to win the scheme.

In the event, however, the council not only chose the Clay Pit Lane location, it decided to build the venue itself.

Ms Fletcher alleged that she had been duped by council bosses into taking part in a sham selection process but her £40m damages claim was rejected by a High Court judge.

A court gave her four weeks to pay the council’s interim costs in October last year but no money was forthcoming, which in turn led to the authority’s bankruptcy move.

When a person is made bankrupt, they have to hand over their assets to a trustee such as the official receiver.

The trustee then oversees the sale of the person’s assets – possibly including their home – to pay their debts.