Leeds Council sued over arena bid process

A BUSINESSWOMAN has started a High Court action against a Yorkshire council over claims that her firm was deceived during the bidding process for the £75m Leeds Arena project.

Montpellier Estates filed a claim at the High Court, in London, yesterday against Leeds City Council "for deceit in the procurement of an arena for the City".

The row centres on the council's shock decision more than two years ago to choose to develop the venue on a site in Claypit Lane, despite never having said that this location was under consideration.

Harrogate-based Montpellier had been one of two bidders thought to be in the running to host the arena at its site in Sweet Street in the centre of Leeds.

The firm has already taken Leeds Council to the High Court over a claim that the authority breached European Union procurement rules.

Now it has issued deceit proceedings.

Montpellier's chairman Jan Fletcher said: "I am deeply saddened at the need to file this deceit case. No-one is more passionate about Leeds than I am.

"I have spent two years trying to work with Leeds City Council to find a solution to this claim, but we have now exhausted all options.

"The Government is relying on the private sector to pull this country out of the recession and play an active part in our city regions.

"That will only happen if the business community can have absolute confidence any public procurement process, knowing it will be carried out strictly under European procurement law and be able to weigh up the genuine risks involved."

Montpellier is claiming that it incurred a year of unnecessary costs bidding to host the Arena because it was unaware Leeds Council had developed plans to find an alternative venue rather than use either of the short-listed sites.

A Leeds Council spokesman decline to comment on the High Court claim last night.