Council criticised for hiring private venue
Unions have criticised the city council for spending thousands of pounds hiring conference facilities at the Leicester Tigers ground.
The council used the facilities to stage a transport strategy meeting for more than 400 people in April.
The Leicester and Districts Trade Unions Council, which was not among the 50-plus transport groups and organisations invited to attend, said the authority should have used one of its leisure centres rather than a private corporate venue.
It submitted a Freedom of Information request which revealed the five-hour event cost more than £2,200 – including tea, coffee, biscuits and sandwiches at £765.
Union spokesman Paul Southwood said: "At a time when the council is cutting services and making staff redundant, it is not right they should be spending so much money on venues.
"They could have used the Aylestone leisure centre, just up the road, and saved a lot of cash."
The council said it chose the ground because of its relatively central location for most of the delegates and because of its good disabled access, as well as its size and the availability of side rooms for workshops.
Deputy city mayor responsible for transport Councillor Rory Palmer said: "The main thing was the size of the event. The town hall or the council offices could not have held it.
"Perhaps we could have used a leisure centre but they are not so central and they are used for sport during the day.
"There will always be a cost to staging an event like this but it was not lavish or over the top."
Conservative city councillor Ross Grant criticised the union for its stance.
He said: "The alternative suggested by the union, which is a large sports hall, is not suitable. It's use would have been very disruptive to people trying to use the leisure centre for the purpose it is designed for."