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Northern Ballet deal goes to Barr

CONTRACTS - WEST YORKSHIRE

A MARATHON race to build a ballet theatre in Leeds has finally been won by Scottish firm Barr.

The company has beaten Laing O'Rourke and Shepherd to the £20 million Northern Ballet Theatre in the middle of the city for Taylor Woodrow Developments.

It was thought the theatre would have to be redesigned after all three bids came back too high.

One of the losing contractors said: 'We all put our bids in and, as far as we were concerned, they had all bust the budget.

'The next thing I heard was that Taylor Woodrow Construction was going to do the job and negotiations were taking place.' But Taylor Woodrow Developments has instead gone with Ay r-ba sed Ba r r. Nego t ia t ion s are currently taking place but it is unclear when the deal will be signed off or when work will be able to star t.

The venue, which will double up as the new base for the Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance touring companies, will be the country's biggest dance complex outside London.

It comprises f ive dance studios and a smaller performance studio and will be built in the city's Quarry Hill area.

The developer, which will build 120 apartments as part of the deal, was given the land for free under the scheme.

KW Linfoot had won the contract back in 2002 but was forced to step down because of funding problems on the project.