Since the club made the Arena its new home in 2016, the team has won three consecutive national championships.

The Arena has three partners, Leicester Riders, Leicester College, and Leicester City Council, who were joined by Sport England and the Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership in funding the £6m project.

Kevin Routledge, Chairman of the Leicester Riders and a Director of the Arena operating company, said: “This was an incredibly successful project.

“It’s a based on a design that works in terms of its function and this was translated into a construction project that meant it was delivered ahead of schedule. As a result we were able to get a lot more out of the building that we’d originally contracted for. Every aspect of its design works.”

“The Arena gives the Riders and their under-age teams a venue to train and play, as well as much-needed income from a wide variety of sporting and entertainment events, and it’s the envy of every other club in the top flight, the BBL.”

It was designed by Lee Batten, one of the partners of the Clague sports focus group for Ball Hall, the specialist sports hall design, construction and refurbishment company.

The playing arena, the most important part of the building, was designed to be as flexible as possible. It can be one large space or a small intimate space by using drapes and moving the seating close in. The facilities are compliant to Sport England Guidance and are therefore suitable for wheelchair sports use too. It has a capacity for up to 3,000.

Lee Batten, partner of Clague, said: “The design focused on the needs of the club, other users and spectators. The sports hall is of a simple portal frame design with a two storey steel frame to provide the first-floor accommodation. The architecture reflects the industrial nature of this part of the city, but with a contemporary feel.”

“The Arena is an excellent example of how sports facilities can help regenerate our local communities. Located adjacent to the Grand Union Canal, and linked to Abbey Park via a new footbridge provided by the City Council, means it will provide a much needed connection for pedestrians and cyclists to get to this part of the city easily.”

Community benefit

Operated on a not-for-profit basis by Riders charity, the Leicester Riders Foundation, all surpluses are re-invested in the Arena or in sports community outreach activities in deprived local communities.

When not being used by the Riders, or as a sports facility for Leicester College, the Arena is used for conferences, exhibitions, music and comedy events, large-scale dinners, celebrations, product launches, parties, weddings, or any other special event.

Site selection

The Charter Street site was selected by the City Council after 10 possible locations around the city were shortlisted and consulted on with the local community. It involved all relevant stakeholders, over the period from September 2013 to January 2014. The first phase of the project involved decontamination of the site, which was previously a gas works, as well as may other industrials users over the last 200 plus years.

Community management

LCC owns the site at Charter Street and provided a 125 year lease 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 has been designed to allow the development of future additional facilities on site.

 

 

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