The brand new Leicester Community Sports Arena is set to open its doors for the first time on January 30.
Whilst the new GBP£4.5m state-of-the-art arena will be the new home of the Leicester Riders basketball club, anchor tenants for the arena, and used by the Leicester Cobras wheelchair basketball team, it will also be open to the general public and Leicester College as a multi-use facility. All providing funding, along with Sport England and the Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).
On completion, in just over a week’s time, the Arena will become the new home to the Leicester Riders and Leicester Cobras Wheelchair Basketball Teams. In addition, the facility will be recognised as a regional basketball centre of excellence and serve as a large multiuse sports venue for the College and the local community.
Charter Street is formerly part of a gas works, as well as having a variety of industrial uses during it’s nearly 200 years of industrial heritage, and as a result the ground was contaminated. Therefore, before the Arena construction commenced, a remediation strategy was agreed with the Environment Agency and the City Council, and decontamination works then completed in January 2015.
Arena construction began in earnest then in April 2015, once the contractor – B&E Boys of Rossendale, Lancashire – had been chosen following a competitive tendering process.
Kevin Routledge, a Director of Leicester Community Sports Arena Limited, said:
We are delighted with the progress of the project, which is a testament to many contributors and contractors. Working on brown field sites poses unique challenges but we have managed to work through the remediation, and the construction has gone very smoothly.
I am delighted with the support we received on the legal side from EHL, who worked extremely well with the legal team in the Council and Sport England. The site has a complex ownership history and the EHL team support was critical to addressing these points to the satisfaction of everyone.
About the Leicester Community Sports Arena
The Arena project has three partners, Leicester Riders, Leicester College, and Leicester City Council (LCC). All are providing funding, along with Sport England and the Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).
LCC owns the site at Charter Street and will provide a long term lease of the site (125 years) to a new company, Leicester Community Sports Arena Limited (LCSAL), owned by the Rider’s charity (Leicester Riders Foundation), with the company paying a commercial rent for the site. The Arena project is being designed to allow the potential for the development of future additional facilities on site.
The Charter Street site was selected by the City Council following a detailed site selection process, which involved 10 possible locations around the city, and involved all relevant stakeholders, over the period from September to December 2013. It is noted the location is on a route of Connecting Leicester (to Abbey Park).
The £4.5m Project also includes remediation of the previously contaminated site and the provision of car parking and landscaping.
The Arena project build was led by the Riders through LCSAL, with an agreed management and governance structure with the Council and Leicester College.
The Arena will be operated on a not-for-profit basis with all surpluses re-invested either in the Arena or in sports community outreach activities in deprived local communities, as are already being delivered by the Riders through the Leicester Riders Foundation.
The Arena Business Plan leverages the very large community development programmes of Leicester Riders. The Arena will deliver highly structured community sports participation opportunities for the community.