Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Could multi-million pound investment be just the job for south Leeds?

South Leeds could be transformed by injections of millions of pounds of public and private money, if plans to attract investors by Leeds City Council come to fruition.

A plan for informal partnering arrangements will allow Leeds City Council to form collaborations with major property owners, investors, businesses and other key community stakeholders. It aims to develop an investment strategy to help the area’s regeneration.

The initiative, to be guided by a steering group of public and private sector representatives chaired by Councillor Andrew Carter, Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration and Development, will involve a wide-ranging consultation so local businesses, service providers, education and training bodies, and representatives from community and interest groups, will be able to have their say.

Plans for the consultation exercise were approved by the council’s executive board today (Wednesday 17th June). The initial phase of the process will focus on talking to community representatives and key interest groups for the area.

There are a number of challenges facing South Leeds. Economic and social imbalances and pockets of multiple deprivation are prevalent with relatively high levels of worklessness and unemployment, along with lower than average educational attainment and skills.

The area suffers from many disadvantages: poor quality environmental conditions and housing stock which is inadequately integrated; natural geography as well as road and rail lines dissect Morley from Middleton and Beeston. This area includes the White Rose Centre, a range of other employment uses and Elland Road football stadium making it difficult for communities to the east and west to access the main sources of employment if they do not have access to a car.

EASEL, Aire Valley and West Leeds regeneration areas have already been established. But, while there have been some interventions in the Beeston Hill and Holbeck areas, South Leeds as a whole has not seen an overarching and co-ordinated regeneration approach, bringing together economic development, housing, transport, environmental and neighbourhood improvements.

Councillor Andrew Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for regeneration and development:
“We are at the initial stage of creating a vision for South Leeds and by bringing businesses and potential investors together with all those who have an interest in the individual communities that make up south Leeds, we will be able to fully explore the issues, challenges and opportunities in the area.
“This process will inform and guide the development of a strategy which highlights the priorities and opportunities for public and private sector investment, with the ultimate aim of delivering, over the years ahead, physical improvement, more jobs, better housing and improved transport links.”

Among those from the private sector that will play an active role in helping the council to create the vision is Millshaw Property Co. Limited – a joint venture between Land Securities Group PLC and Evans Property Group – which collectively owns substantial assets in South Leeds, including White Rose Shopping Centre and Millshaw Park Industrial Estate.

David Helliwell, of Millshaw Property Co. Limited, said:
“This major initiative flows from a recognition by the council and other stakeholders of the need for this part of the city to attract further investment that will support social, physical and economic regeneration.
“As an existing investor in the area, we welcome the opportunity of working with other property owners, council officers, elected members, local businesses and community interests to come forward with fresh thinking about the future for South Leeds.”

For media enquiries, please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937

Leeds steps up to the Breeze Youth Promise challenge

Caption: Members of the Leeds Youth Council with Cllr Alan Lamb introduce the new Breeze Youth Promise

The young people of Leeds have set the city a challenge … it's called the Breeze Youth Promise and it challenges the city’s chiefs to put their wants and needs at the heart of services for young people.

The promise has been developed by young people from the Leeds Youth Council and ROAR (Reach out and reconnect) and tells young people what they can expect to receive from the different services and organisations that work with young people in Leeds. It also gives them a voice in shaping the future of their city.

A short film directed and produced by young people created to introduce a new element of the Breeze Youth Promise 2009.

The promise, which was first devised in 2007, brings together everything Leeds does for young people aged 13 to 19, including those who are in care or have learning difficulties or disabilities, and it gives them all a voice in shaping the city’s future. The original promise included the themes ‘somewhere to go, something to do, someone to talk to’ and latest version also includes an additional theme called ‘something to say’.

To introduce the new ‘something to say’ theme the short film will be shown in 40 schools across Leeds, on the ‘big screen’ in Millennium square, at the bus station, in some doctors surgeries and at Breeze on Tour events throughout the summer. Members of the Leeds Youth Council and ROAR will now be taking the message back to their schools by putting together a lesson plan and developing workshops which will be held at the Breeze on Tour events.

Covering a wide range of services, the promise commits everyone in children’s services to provide the very best advice and guidance for young people as well as safe and enjoyable events, activities and venues. In addition, better information and publicity will make sure that no-one misses out.

Councillor Alan Lamb, lead member with responsibility for Youth Services, said:“Young people want information, advice and guidance about the things that matter to them. That means help with career choices, education, lifestyle choices, health issues and relationships. They want places that are safe, secure, welcoming and where they actually want to go, places to chill out as well as places where they can get active or involved.

“The Breeze Youth Promise is about helping young people enjoy and achieve, whether it’s through learning, work or what they do in their spare time, and giving them opportunities to have their say.”

Three young people from Leeds Youth Council, explain why the Breeze Youth Promise is important:
Joseph Bennett, 16 from Benton Park High School said: “Young people know what they want, but they don’t always know how to get their message across. In this group we can raise awareness and help give young people a voice – which is why we felt is was important to add the ‘something to say’ theme in to the promise.”

Jade Tosney, 14, from Mount St. Mary’s High School, said:
“This is all about promising the young people that the city will provide suitable things for them to do, places to go, people to listen to and opportunities to have their say. But not many young people know about it, so we have made this film to get the message across. Being involved in the Youth Council means we can give the young people of Leeds a voice.”

Yasmin Rhodes, 16, from Cockburn High School, said:
“The Breeze Youth Promise will only work if we scrutinize it, and make sure the authorities are keeping up to their part of the promise, which is why it’s so important that the young people know how to have their say.”

For more information and to view the film go to

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council Press Office, on (0113) 2474713

Adapt services for the disabled says council watchdog

Council services to support disabled adults must be changed for the better according to a Leeds City Council watchdog.

The Adult Social Care Scrutiny Board has today agreed a report which marks the completion of its inquiry into how homes are adapted to improve the independence, health and wellbeing of disabled residents.

Ten proposals have been made recommending improvements to customer advice and to the budget provided for this service each year. The board also thinks the amount of time a person has to wait before they receive their adaptations is unacceptable and has stated that delivery should be speeded up.

Councillor Judith Chapman, Chair of the Adult Social Care Scrutiny Board said:

“This inquiry was by no means straight forward, it became much more involved the deeper we dug.

“We have established what I consider to be some positive recommendations in order to improve the service provided to those who require major adaptations to their homes.

“The board will continue to watch how our suggestions are put into practice, and how useful they are to those who rely on the council for help.”

The scrutiny board paid particular attention to the length of time it takes for an adaptation to be installed in a person's home, the level of service experienced by customers and if value for money is being achieved.

The inquiry identified that despite significant improvement in funding for this service over recent years, the need to adapt homes will continue to rise, not only in Leeds but nationally due to the increasing ageing population. The board recognises that long term planning to meet this demand is essential.

For media enquiries please contact:
Andy Carter, Leeds City Council Press Office (0113) 395 0393

Notes to Editors

The full scrutiny board report can be downloaded here

The report is due to be presented to the council's Executive Board in August 2009.