Monday, 16 March 2009

Let’s talk action in Gipton

Residents are being invited to attend a free community event which gives them the chance to find out exactly what is going on and available to them in Gipton.

The 'let's talk action' event is the 're-launch' of the Gipton Forum, and sees the traditional meeting-style forum transformed into a fun packed interactive session held at an accessible local venue. The re-launch came about following dissatisfaction from forum members about the level of attendance and participation at their meetings and concern they weren't involving enough residents in discussions on local issues and how local services are run. The event is also a response to ‘consultation fatigue’ felt by residents who just want to hear about what is actually being done.

The event, organised by the Inner East Area Committee, will include a 'debating' room, an 'I love Gipton because…' comment board and interactive maps to collect views. It will also feature a range of activities to attract and entertain residents of all ages including free face painting, refreshments, a visit from a fire engine (call-outs permitting!), a 1960's police car and police dogs.

There will also be information stalls and presentations from council services and local organisations about their actions for the coming year, including the chance to meet and talk with the staff who work in Gipton every day, and to obtain their autographs as part of a competition to win a £50 shopping voucher. There's also a chance to win a Wii games console.

If successful, the forum will continue in this format with the focus over summer being on supporting the annual Gipton Gala and other local events such as school fairs. A forum event will take place in the autumn where residents will be invited to help set the priorities for action in 2010.

The event will take place on Wednesday, 18 March, 3.30 – 6.30pm at Gipton Working Men’s Club, Coldcotes Circus, Leeds, LS9 6QE.

Services attending include Leeds City Council's area management team, the local Neighbourhood Policing Team, East North East Homes Leeds, recycling and education, Jobs and Skills, GIPSIL, Action for Gipton Elderly, Youth Services, Gipton Together, West Yorkshire Fire Service, Parks and Countrysides, Leeds NHS, Learning Partnerships and EASEL, amongst others. Residents can find out what actions these services will be delivering in the coming year and there will be an opportunity to say what you think and meet your local councillors.

Councillor Les Carter, executive board member responsible for neighbourhoods, said:
“The area committees across the city are in place to represent the views and opinions of the communities they serve, so it is essential that residents are given the chance to find out what is planned for the coming year.

“I hope that local people will take this opportunity to find out about the priorities that have been set as a result of what they have told us in the past.”

Councillor Brian Selby, chair of the inner east area committee said:
“This event is an important way for us to communicate with local people about plans for the Gipton area for the coming year.

“The area committee has an annual budget and the views that have been collected from local residents in the past help us to shape the way that services are delivered in future.

“The event is also a really useful way for people to find out more about council and other local services, voice any concerns and give us feedback about local matters.”
For more information please contact Hayley Clifton, neighbourhood manager on 0113 200 7718.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

A £1.1M renaissance for Chapeltown

A scheme to plough £1.1million into preserving the cultural and historical heritage of one of Leeds’ most vibrant areas is being launched today.

The Chapeltown Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI), jointly funded by Leeds City Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and private investment, will help to revitalise the face of Chapeltown as well as provided a much needed economic boost to local traders.

The exciting five year regeneration scheme will target many fine Victorian and Edwardian buildings within the Chapeltown Conservation Area that are in need of repair and restoration. The scheme’s main aim is to ensure the special architectural character of this unique area is preserved.

It is hoped the plans will spark a renaissance potential for this unique area, which is a key commercial gateway into and from Leeds City Centre. The area exists as a ‘hub’ for the surrounding community and has a diverse, specialist character that reflects the many peoples that live there.

The agencies involved are stressing that Chapeltown does not need to be ‘reinvented’ but instead should be enhanced and protected from poor development.

The THI will provide grants towards the cost of high quality restoration to heritage standards for three key historic shopping parades along Chapeltown Road. Applications are invited for façade improvements such as reinstatement of architectural features, shop front repair and renewal.

There will also be grants to bring historic floor space back into use with particular emphasis placed on repairing several properties as part of the same scheme contract. This will bring an increase value for money and the visual impact of the finished scheme.

Cllr Andrew Carter, council leader and Executive Board member for Development, said:
“Chapeltown Townscape Heritage Initiative is a fantastic opportunity to return these buildings back to their former glory while also assisting and supporting existing and future local businesses.
“We are also co-ordinating and investing in a number of other schemes within the area such as the Joint Service Centre and Town and District Centre Regeneration Scheme which together with the THI will revitalise this unique area of Leeds.”

Fiona Spiers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for Yorkshire and the Humber said:
"Our townscapes and landmarks are a visual reminder of our shared heritage but today many areas are in need of a helping hand to be restored to their former glory.
“The Chapeltown Townscape Heritage Initiative will breathe new life into the area's historic buildings so that they can play a full role in the community again and provide a springboard for economic revival.”

The Chapeltown THI is funded by Leeds City Council and Heritage Lottery Fund and the council will administer grants from a pot worth around £1.1 million. This pot will also be supplemented by private investment. As well as financial aid for building improvements the council and other business organisations will work with owners and tenants to help them support new and existing enterprises.

The THI launch event will be followed by a public debate organised by the North East (Inner) Area Committee exploring the impact of the current economic downturn in Chapel Allerton, Roundhay and Moortown wards. Representatives from Jobcentre plus, local training and business support organisations will be present.

Chapeltown THI scheme is within the Chapeltown Conservation area, which was extended in 2007 to cover development along Chapeltown Road. It also encompasses the recreation ground on Savile Mount and Savile Drive and includes the buildings along the south side of Savile Mount, including the nearest shopping parade on Chapeltown Road.

Further information can be found on www.leeds.gov.uk/thi

To speak to someone about the scheme please ring 0113 395 0608 and ask for Tom Stenger or e-mail projects@leeds.gov.uk

Notes for editors:
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported more than 28,800 projects, allocating over £4.3billion across the UK. Website: www.hlf.org.uk.

ENDS
For media enquiries, please contact;
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937
Email: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Why your council needs you

The search is on across Leeds to find someone with an interest in local politics and the skills required to help keep the city’s 99 councillors in check.

It’s because a new independent member is needed to join the council’s standards committee from May this year in a role which is important for upholding local democracy and increasing public confidence in local government.

The standards committee has responsibilities for promoting and maintaining high standards of conduct among elected members and co-opted members of the council and to help them understand their code of conduct.

It also listens to and considers allegations of misconduct against elected and co-opted members of Leeds City Council and parish and town councils in Leeds, and imposes sanctions when appropriate.

In addition, standards committee assesses initial complaints against members, and conducts reviews of these decisions when necessary.

Applicants will need to be able to devote enough time to attend meetings; have a keen interest in standards in public life; a wish to serve the local community and uphold local democracy; have high standards of personal integrity; have the ability to be objective, independent and impartial; have sound decision making and questioning skills; possess a good level of assertiveness and have leadership qualities, particularly in respect of exercising sound judgment.

However, there are restrictions on who can apply. People who work for Leeds City Council or have done at any point in the last five years, are related to any council worker or elected councillor, or are members of a political party or pressure group are not eligible.

Involvement in a number of other organisations may also preclude a candidate. Full details of the restrictions are available to applicants.

Independent members of the standards committee are entitled to an allowance of £2,366 in addition to travel and subsistence allowances.

Councillor Richard Brett, joint leader and executive board member with responsibility for corporate governance said:

“This is a really important role – members of the council’s standards committee have a vital job to do when it comes to considering issues like complaints against councillors.

"It’s likely to be challenging but rewarding and I encourage the people of Leeds to apply.”


ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Andy Carter, Leeds City Council Press Office (0113) 395 0393
email: andy.carter@leeds.gov.uk