Top-level meeting in Leeds arena row

SHEFFIELD'S objections to a proposed 12,500 seat entertainment venue in Leeds are to be raised with the head of the government agency due to help finance it.

Critics in Sheffield say there is no room for another indoor arena in the region – and one in Leeds would undermine the viability of the one in Attercliffe.

In particular there is strong opposition to redevelopment agency Yorkshire Forward helping Leeds City Council to pay for the project.

Bosses from the Sheffield International Venues, which managed the Sheffield Arena, and local MP Clive Betts are urging a rethink and now Yorkshire Forward chief executive Tom Riordan has agreed to meet SIV chief executive Steve Brailey and Mr Betts.

The MP said: "We have concerns about the inappropriate use of government funds for a project such as this. The meeting will be an opportunity to examine this and the economic impact a second arena in Yorkshire will have on Sheffield.

"I recognise that Yorkshire Forward will fund a variety of projects to help regeneration throughout the region but I do feel that, where that funding could lead to the project being funded damaging another existing facility in the region, then Yorkshire Forward has to think of the wider consequences.

"I want to get assurance that, before any decision is made to go ahead, the full impact of such funding on Sheffield Arena will be assessed by an independent organisation."

Mr Betts added that findings should be shared with the council and the Sheffield Arena so they could make their views known before any decision is made.

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