Friday, 19 June 2009

Second Leeds landlord fined £2,062 over licence failure

A man from Leeds has today become the second landlord from the city to be fined for failing to licence a house in multiple occupation, after Leeds City Council took him to court.

Landlord Mohammed Arass Butt today pleaded guilty to failing to properly licence a property he owned on Stratford Terrace, Beeston. He was fined £840 and ordered to pay £1,207.97 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge – a total of £2,062.97.

The three-storey property of bed-sits occupied by five unrelated people should have been licensed under Leeds City Council’s Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) Licensing scheme. The council told the court that this property type, housing mainly vulnerable people, would be regarded as a higher fire risk.

In August last year, officials targeted HMOs in the Beeston area where no licence application had been received, but according to Council Tax records there may have been some form of multiple occupation.

When the Environmental Health Officer visited the property, he confirmed that there were five let bedsits on three storeys, and a shared bathroom and shared toilet compartment. This confirmed that the property falls within the definition of a licensable HMO.

This prosecution follows one in May, when Futura 2000 Ltd (trading as Apex Homes) was fined £3,500, and was ordered to pay £1,500 in costs and £15 victim surcharge. The company acted as managing agents for a shared student property in Kensington Terrace, Headingley.

The Housing Act 2004 introduced a legal requirement for shared houses and bedsits with more than four occupiers and over more than two storeys to be licensed by the council as House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). The Licence Conditions set standards for fire safety and for amenities.

It was the first time the council has successfully prosecuted a private landlord under the new rules.

Following the introduction of HMO Licensing in 2006, Leeds City Council widely publicised the new legal requirement amongst landlords and managing agents, and has since processed more than 2,600 applications for HMO Licences, which represents 18% of the total number for all the councils in England.

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for housing, said:
“Leeds has a huge private rented sector and ensuring all Houses in Multiple Occupancy are licensed has been a mammoth task – we have dealt with 18% of all the applications in the whole country.
“Thousands of landlords have complied with the requirement to license their property and it would be unfair on them, as well as tenants, if we were not seen to take firm action against those who don’t follow the rules.
“While this case follows a crackdown in Beeston, it should send a clear message to landlords across the city that we will take legal action against those who have not applied.”

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

Stampede sees Party tickets gone - in just four days!


Caption: The Noisettes will be among the performers at this year's Party in the Park

Party in the Park in Leeds really is the hottest ticket in town this summer as all 70,000 tickets have been claimed in just FOUR days.

Organisers Leeds City Council have revealed that the unprecedented rush to secure tickets for the free event to be held at Temple Newsam on Sunday 26th July meant that they were all gone in record time.

The surge began with over 20,000 claimed at the official ticket launch held on Millennium Square on Saturday. By the end of Tuesday, ALL of the remaining general tickets available at outlets across the city had been claimed.

The line-up of names already announced for the biggest free outdoor event in Leeds includes chart-toppers the Noisettes, N Dubz, Booty Luv, JLS, Alesha Dixon, Beverley Knight and DJ Ironik, with more to be added in the coming weeks.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

"For all the tickets to be gone in just four days is amazing. The line-up already announced for Party in the Park is really impressive, and with more names still to be added it is shaping up to be one of the best ever. Everyone who has got tickets is guaranteed a fantastic day out and they are the lucky ones as they have got their hands on the hottest tickets in town!"

Such is the demand for tickets that anyone who has some but finds out in the run-up to the event that they will not be able to use them is urged to hand them in to the reception of 96.3 Radio Aire on Burley Road so they can be redistributed.

Tickets for Opera in the Park, which takes place the previous day on Saturday 25th July, are also being claimed at a rapid rate, but are still available at a variety of outlets. These include the City Centre Box Office at The Carriageworks, Leeds Visitor Centre, Leeds Town Hall, Leeds Central Library and the reception for 96.3 Radio Aire and Magic 828.

A limited number of tickets are also available at number of local libraries: Beeston, Boston Spa, Bramley, Chapel Allerton, Crossgates, Guiseley, Halton, Horsforth, Kippax, Otley, Moor Allerton, Morley, Pudsey, Rothwell and Wetherby libraries. Tickets are limited to four per person and must be collected in person.

Both events are organised by Leeds City Council with support from 96.3 Radio Aire for Party in the Park and Magic 828 and for Opera in the Park.

Party and Opera in the Park are part of the Summer of Fun in Leeds, with details of all the council-managed free or low-cost events and activities going on around the city able to be accessed through the new web portal at www.leeds.gov.uk/summeroffun.

Anyone requiring further details should contact Leeds City Council’s Events team on 0113 395 0891 or visit www.leeds.gov.uk

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472,Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds art project inspires Youth Justice Board chief



Picture caption: John Drew, Chief Executive of the Youth Justice Board and a young person at Leeds Youth Offending Service

Issued on behalf of the Youth Justice Board: Contact Daniel Craig: 020 7271 3009

John Drew, Youth Justice Board (YJB) Chief Executive, was treated to a stunning display of art by young people, all of whom have had a brush with the law, when he visited Leeds Youth Offending Service (YOS) last week.

Many of the young artists had created the work with the YOS, while taking part in a voluntary project that supports young people who have offended, but need extra help to overcome alcohol or drugs problems.

The creative arts fall within Leeds YOS’s plans to engage young people and reduce offending.

As well as providing an opportunity for self-expression and positive achievement the programme also helps young people find academic success - with at least 10 GCSE equivalent awards, out of a possible 15, gained at the end of a recent course. Many of the young people had no previous qualifications, and so these awards will greatly improve their future prospects with at least one young person gaining a place at a local Art College and another on a music course.

There has already been a public display of art held at the prestigious Yorkshire Playhouse and there are plans to hold similar events later in the year.

John Drew, Chief Executive of the Youth Justice Board (YJB), said:
“I am very impressed with how Leeds YOS link up with their local community through the various voluntary groups and agencies. This stunning work is a fine example of how young people, when given the right support, can understand the consequences of their actions, make amends for their offence, and gain those vital qualifications that may help reduce their chances of reoffending.”

Jim Hopkinson, the head of Leeds Youth Offending Service, said:
“Leeds YOS will do whatever it takes to re-engage young people in learning, which we know will ulitimately lead to a reduced risk of reoffending and better outcomes for them and their communities. There is no such thing as one size fits all with young people, but I am continually amazed by how our art based programmes inspire young offenders to turn their lives around.”

The young person (pictured) said:
“I like art and helping make this picture made me realise all the things I can do that I never thought possible. The team (Leeds YOS) here have a good understanding of how you feel and they don’t judge you. Sometimes I get nervous or paranoid, but the team support me.”

Ends
Notes to editors
1. The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales (YJB) oversees the youth justice system in England and Wales. We work to prevent offending and reoffending by children and young people under the age of 18, and to ensure that custody for them is safe, secure, and addresses the causes of their offending behaviour.
2. Specifically, we advise the Secretaries of State for Justice and for Children, Schools and Families on the operation of, and standards for, the youth justice system; monitor the performance of the youth justice system; purchase places for, and place, children and young people remanded or sentenced to custody; identify and promote effective practice; make grants to local authorities or other bodies to support the development of effective practice; commission research and publish information.
3. Leeds Youth Offending Service (YOS) works with children, young people and their families to prevent and to challenge offending, encourage responsibility, develop victim empathy and reduce fear of crime in communities. Over 130 staff and 120 volunteers currently work for the YOS with additional activities under development. Staff are organised into 4 area-based operational teams, the Youth Court and Wetherby Young Offenders Institution. In addition, they have two Intensive Supervision and Surveillance teams (ISSP), a Resettlement & Aftercare Provision team (RAP) and a Referral Order & Restorative Justice Team. Leeds YOS is proud to have retained its Investors in People Status - one of the few Youth Offending Services in the country to hold this in its own right. Leeds is also proud to have achieved the Investors in Volunteers Status through high quality training and support of our volunteers working with the service.

Create your own centre court magic - in Leeds!

As the nation prepares to go tennis crazy with Wimbledon starting next week, fans in Leeds will be able to create their own centre court magic by taking advantage of a special offer.

For a four-week period from Monday 22nd June to Sunday 19th July, which covers the whole of the world-famous tournament taking place at SW19, courts at the Tennis Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds will be available at half-price.

Anyone inspired by the performances of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, the Williams sisters or Britain’s own Andy Murray as he bids to claim the title will be able to emulate their heroes on a selection of 12 indoor and outdoor courts.

A range of pay and play options are available with prices starting at just 95 pence per court for an hour’s play. There are also courses on offer which cater for complete beginners up to competition level. These include cardio-tennis, which provides an ideal workout as well as the chance to improve tennis skills, and lessons with one of the on-site professional coaches.

Any new customers who sign-up for a 12-week coaching course during the four-week offer period will also receive a free goodie bag.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

“Wimbledon is a massively popular event every year, with courts filled up with people watching the professionals in action on television and then picking up a racket and having a go themselves. We have fantastic facilities at the Tennis Centre, and hopefully people of all ages and abilities will take advantage of this great offer, enjoy themselves, and bring the spirit of Wimbledon to Leeds.”

Courts at the Tennis Centre can be booked from 8:30am-10:30pm Monday to Friday, 8:30am-9:30pm on Saturdays and 8:30am-6:30pm on Sundays. To book a court or for more details of courses and casual tennis sessions taking place at John Charles Centre for Sport, please call 0113 3950010 or visit leeds.gov.uk/JCCS.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

Council calls on residents to sign pledge to waste less


Caption: Cllr James Monaghan, giving out the 'Recycle for Leeds' bags at St John's Shopping Centre to launch Recycle Week

A campaign encouraging residents to pledge to waste less is taking to the streets of Leeds next week.

To mark the national Recycle Week (Monday 22 – Sunday 28 June 2009), the council is calling on residents to register a personal pledge to waste less by signing up to one of a selection of pledges – everything from recycling old electrical goods and unwanted clothes to going completely waste free for a day.

Latest figure reveal that last year residents recycled, re-used and composted 30.4% - over 97,000 tonnes, an increase from 25.92% in 2006-07.

Whilst Leeds is recycling more household waste each year, figures show that around two thirds of household waste – around 225,000 tonnes – were sent to land fill.

The council has set targets of recycling 33.9% of household waste during the next 12months and reach over 50% by 2020 in order to reduce the city’s dependency on landfill which creates greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

************************MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********************
When: Monday 22 June at 3pm
Where: St Johns Shopping Centre
What: Interviews/film/photo opportunity as Cllr Monaghan, executive board member for environmental services launches Recycle Week, giving out Recycle for Leeds bags and signing a pledge.

Councillor James Monaghan, executive board member for environmental services, said:
“We’re making progress with recycling and we’re grateful to those households that are playing a part. Now we need to build on this and take the city’s performance up a level over the next 12months.

“We want residents to understand that recycling is not just about separating your waste and putting it in the correct bins. We must also look at the ways we can reuse things and reduce the amount of waste we produce in the first place. Over the next week we’ll be out on the streets of Leeds helping residents improve their recycling habits.”

People will be able to show their commitment to recycling and make their pledge to waste less by visiting one of the events taking place across the city or by visiting www.recyclenow.com or SMS text.

During national Recycle Week the council is planning a roadshow of events to show the different ways that residents can waste less and how to recycle and reuse everyday items. Teams of council recycling experts will be:
• Launching the new ‘Recycle for Leeds’ reusable shopping bag for a 50 pence donation towards the Lord Mayor’s Charity,
• Demonstrating home composting and how to ‘grow your own vegetables’ at a local garden centre/nursery,
• Showing Adsa shoppers how they can recycle, reuse and reduce products bought in a typical weekly shop.
• Holding recycling awareness events with schools.

A full list of activities taking place during Recycle Week are:

Monday 22 June
10.00 – 13.00 Cross Gates Shopping Centre
Information/Roadshow stand promoting ‘let’s waste less’
• Bags for life
• Love food hate waste
• Real nappies
• Home composting
• Recycling
Also ‘Recycle for Leeds’ bags selling for 50p with money to Lord Mayor’s Charity

13.30 – 16.00 St Johns Shopping Centre
(Information/Roadshow stand promoting ‘let’s waste less’ - as above)

Tuesday 23 June
11.30 -14.30 Victoria Gardens, Leeds city centre
(Information/Roadshow stand promoting ‘let’s waste less’ - as above)

Wednesday 24 June
11.00 – 15.00 Asda Morley
Information stand, trolley/basket full of products which can be recycled in council green bins to be raffled off . Also display of Asda products, what can be recycled, what has reduced packaging, what is made from recycled materials.

14.00 – 17.00 St Nicholas Catholic Primary School, Oakwood Lane., Leeds 9
Health Fair – Information/Roadshow stand promoting ‘let’s waste less’
• Bags for life
• Love food hate waste
• Real nappies
• Home composting and recycling


Thursday 25 June
09.00 – 11.00 Pudsey Farmers Market
(Information/Roadshow stand promoting ‘let’s waste less’ – as above)

12.20-16.00 St Johns Shopping Centre
(Information/Roadshow stand promoting ‘let’s waste less’ – as above)

Friday 26 June
14.00 – 16.00 Kirkstall Valley Primary School
(Health Fair – Information/Roadshow stand promoting ‘let’s waste less’ – as above)

Saturday 27 June
09.00-16.00 Thorner Gala
(Information/Roadshow stand promoting ‘let’s waste less’ – as above)

ENDS
For media enquiries, please contact;
Laura Ferris, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335
Email: laura.ferris@leeds.gov.uk