Council DID know about New East Leeds – Chamber promises “full and correct version of events”

The local Chamber of Commerce says that Leeds City Council DID know about the setting up of its major development initiative New East Leeds and that a report published recently on the Council’s website is “broadly incorrect”.

Chief Executive of Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce Gary Williamson has told the leeds citizen:

“The Chamber has worked and continues to work closely with the council in regards to New East Leeds and other projects.

We and our members have worked with the council on each step of the project, from the ‘embryonic idea’ of New East Leeds to the current position where developers will be undertaking extensive consultation with local stakeholders. It is certainly not a ‘runaway train’ as insinuated by certain parties.”

The Council report – which is to be discussed at a Council meeting attended by Mr Williamson on Monday 31st October – said that “the New East Leeds initiative and company was launched without knowledge of anyone at the Council”.

“Hasn’t exploited Council”

In a letter sent today to the leeds citizen, Mr Williamson says: “The report that you base your article upon is broadly incorrect.”

He also denies that the Chamber exploited the Council over the New East Leeds project.

“The establishment of the Local housing and Regeneration Board for East Leeds is not a Chamber initiative, although we support in principle the board’s objective of delivering growth. Nor has the Chamber exploited the council in order to serve its own agenda in regards to New East Leeds, we simply supported ideas to revive the local economy,” the letters says.

To be fair, neither the Council report nor the leeds citizen post suggested that the setting up of the board is a Chamber initiative, merely that the Chamber somehow became involved in an attempt to set the board up.

Mr Williamson says that the “full and correct version of events” will be aired at Monday’s meeting of the Council Scrutiny Board.

For completists, the full text of Mr Williamson’s letter is here.

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