Video: Plans unveiled ahead of Leeds arena opening

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Plans have been unveiled ahead of the opening of Leeds’s £60m arena.

The First Direct Arena is set to welcome US rock superstar Bruce Springsteen as it opens its doors to the public on Wednesday. (July 24)



Council bosses have revealed their plans to show how the city wiill cope with the thousands of music fans expected to flock to Leeds.

Merrion Way will close from 10pm to allow the car park at the Merrion Centre, which is one of two official arena car parks along with Woodhouse Lane, to empty following the concert.

Teams of taxi marshals will take to the streets to help point people to available ranks and extra street cleansing teams will be on duty to tidy around the main arena site.

Extra bins will be in place and bands of buskers will create a carnival atmosphere by performing in events spaces such as City Square, Victoria Gardens and Dortmund Square.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “To welcome Bruce Springsteen to Leeds for our arena’s opening night is incredibly exciting and we intend to do the city proud.

“Visitors will find we have pulled out all the stops, along with our partners at SMG Europe, to make it an unforgettable, amazing experience.

“It has been no mean feat at a time of extended downturn in the economy that Leeds City Council and construction company BAM managed to complete the high-tech arena on time and on budget.

“SMG Europe are establishing it as a key venue for national and international artists and it has already been highlighted by US magazine Billboard as the one to watch for this year.

“In a year of high-profile highlights such as the opening of Trinity Leeds and news that we will host the start of Grand Départ of the Tour De France 2014 this is one of our greatest achievements as we finally unveil our world-class new arena.”

Thousands of car parking spaces will be made available within a 15 minute walk of the Clay Pit Lane site and there will be special volunteer city ambassadors to welcome people who arrive at the city’s railway and bus stations.

Special food trading permits have been issued by the council to allow food outlets on pitches near the arena - including an American yellow school bus transformed into a diner and a beach hut selling fish and chips.