Thursday, 20 August 2009

Residents urged to confirm register of electors details

Over 334,000 electoral registration forms will be delivered to residents across Leeds this week as part of Leeds City Council’s annual canvass to update the register of electors.

All households are being urged to respond and confirm their electoral details as soon as possible to make sure they are included in the revised register, which will be published on 1 December. Every household must respond, even if there is no one eligible to be registered at their address.

There are a number of ways to respond to the form including text message, a freephone telephone number or online for those households who have no changes to make to the information on their form. Amendments must be made by returning the form in the post.

Households are asked to ensure they respond no later than 14 September 2009 to prevent a reminder form being sent or a home visit to their property.

Last year around 55,000 households didn't respond to the initial form or reminder form. These properties had to be visited by canvassers which meant an additional, unnecessary cost to the taxpayer.

Alex Meek, Electoral Services Manager for Leeds City Council, said:
“We have strived to make registering to vote as easy as possible, particularly with the telephone, internet and text message service which allows households which have no changes to make to their details to respond without having to return their form.

“People who are not included on the register of electors won’t be able to vote in elections or referendums. There will be a general election not later than June 2010, and the register we are compiling now will be used for that election. Not being registered could also cause problems when applying to open a bank account or take out a loan or credit card. “

“It is also a legal requirement to provide the information requested and failure to do so could result in a fine of £1,000. The easy way to avoid a home visit or a fine is to respond as soon as you receive the form.

The number to send a text message to is 07797 898767; the freephone number to call is 0800 025 1067; and the website address to visit is

Students in the city are reminded they can register at both their home and term-time addresses and are legally required to provide the information, even if they are simply responding to say they do not wish to be registered at their term-time address.

Help to complete the form is available from Leeds City Council’s electoral services on 0113 2224411 and information is also available in other languages, large print, audio and braille.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Laura Ferris, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335

The Carriageworks is shaken, not stirred

As Hull Truck Theatre presents
Written by John Godber and Jane Thornton, directed by John Godber
At The Carriagworks on 7 – 9 September 2009 at 7.30pm

The acclaimed Hull Truck Theatre is taking audiences on a retro-filled trip back to the 1980s this autumn, when they roll into town with their production of Shakers. This classic from the award-winning husband and wife team of John Godber and Jane Thornton offers a great party night out for all those with fond memories of the decade that taste forgot – including huge mobile phones, yuppies and legwarmers!

It is happy hour at Shakers, the trendy high street bar with the neon sign, and the four waitresses – Nicky, Adele, Carol, Mel – are busy serving up cocktails of Vodka Hukla and Southern Gin Cooler. In the bar we meet a group of girls out for a twenty-first to remember, a group of boys downing Malibu and a posh theatre crowd – all in typical hilarious Truck style.

This is the first visit of Hull Truck to The Carriageworks, Leeds’ fastest growing new venue, but the show was first staged in 1985 and is often considered to be a female version of Godber’s most successful play, Bouncers. Jane suggested writing Shakers when she was performing in a tour of Up ‘n’ Under, which was being performed in tandem with Bouncers. Having seen the amazing reaction that her husband’s nightclub-based play was getting, Jane suggested that they collaborate on a female version – and the rest is history.

Shakers features a cast of up-and-coming Truckers, two of whom are making their touring debut for the company. Pippa Fulton, star of the BBC’s Fame Academy, will play Nicky, appearing alongside Liz Carney, Claire Eden and Annmarie Hosell.

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

"Leeds City Council is thrilled with the growing prestige of The Carriageworks and is delighted that Hull Truck Theatre Company is visiting so early in their Autumn tour. It is great to see a theatre company from our region flying so high. This reworking of John Godber's "Shakers" is the perfect show to begin what will be a fantastic Autumn season at The Carriageworks, It is one not to be missed."

Notes to editors:

1. Press tickets and interviews available on request. Tickets available from the Box Office on 0113 2243801 or online at Tickets: £15 (full) / £12.50 (concessions and restricted).

2. The Carriageworks is a thriving theatre at the heart of Leeds’ Millennium Square. It showcases the best new national and regional performance with a dynamic programme of theatre, dance, comedy and film. At the same time it provides support to young and emerging theatre makers, offering them a key platform to develop their work. The Carriageworks also gives opportunities for members of the local community to take part in a variety of high quality arts activities, and is home to the Leeds Civic Arts Guild. This is an umbrella group of performing societies offering the opportunity for local people to experience making theatre in a fully-functioning professional venue.

3. Hull Truck Theatre has a long-standing reputation as a pioneering British theatre company and has been a leading name on the UK touring circuit since 1971, touring several productions to high critical acclaim each year. Recent tours include Ladies Down Under by Amanda Whittington, Two by Jim Cartwright and Our House by John Godber. This is the company’s first visit to The Carriageworks.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde Leeds City Council, Tel: 0113 247 5472 or The Carriageworks office on (0113) 247 4746

Leeds celebrates early A-Level success

Young people across Leeds are celebrating their A-Level grades today (Thursday) with early signs suggesting the city will see its best ever results.

Education Leeds is still waiting to collect the results from all 35 schools but information so far suggests that over one in five entries have achieved the ‘A’ grade standard.

Figures also highlight that the city is set to see an increase in the overall pass rate compared to last year’s figure of 93.8 per cent.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:
“The results so far are impressive and demonstrate that education in the city is improving year on year.

“Every young person can be very proud of their achievements. They are leaving school with skills and qualifications which will help them achieve their full potential and I would like to wish them the very best for the future.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“I am delighted that so many young people are leaving our schools with brilliant A-Level results and would like to congratulate each and every one.

“So far we are on course to see the best set of results the city has ever seen, reflecting the effort and determination of our young people and the exceptional work and quality of teaching in our schools.”

Looking ahead to next summer, the city will see the first sets of results from a range of two year diploma qualifications which started last year. Working closely with schools, colleges and local employers, the diplomas help bridge the academic-vocational divide and allow young people to experience ‘the workplace’ alongside their GCSEs and A-Levels.

Gary Williamson, chief executive of the Leeds Chamber, said:
“Congratulations to everyone who has received their results this year. We are heartened by these promising A-Level results.

“Next year will see the first results from the new diploma qualifications which businesses have supported. These can be studied alongside GCSEs and A-Levels and the contribution of local employers to these qualifications is very important. They will equip students with very specific skills and experience, depending on the diploma they choose, and we are already eagerly awaiting next year’s results.”


For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577

Leeds householders fined over 'Berlin Wall' in their garden

A man and a woman from Leeds have been fined a total of £16,000 and ordered to pay £2000 in costs after they repeatedly breached planning regulations which a magistrate called ‘premeditated and blatant’.

Humrazz Shahid and Siakha Kuser Pinnu from 210 Oakwood Lane admitted failing to comply with an enforcement notice served on a building they’d constructed in their back garden.

The detached structure was higher than allowed under permitted development rules and included a roof light which overlooked the bedrooms of a neighbouring property.

The notice – which they ignored – required them to reduce the height of the building to below four metres and to install obscured glass in the roof light.

It also banned any further permitted development on the site; so any future dormer or additional windows would require planning permission.

The court heard that Mr Shahid and Mrs Pinnu had breached a further two enforcement notices – although no penalty was imposed.

These related to boundary walls and a strip of land in the back garden. Although permission was granted for the land to be used as an extension to the garden, the couple were told to submit full details of their plans for a wall or fence first.

They failed to do so. Instead, a 2.5 metre wall was constructed in block work which gave the impression of a fortress. It was dubbed ‘the Berlin Wall’ by a neighbour.

The couple have been told to reduce part of the wall to two metres and remove altogether the entire section that doesn’t have permission.

Issues relating to a front boundary wall and gates and a raised area of decking, constructed even though permission had been refused remain outstanding, but planning officers are hopeful that another prosecution will be unnecessary given the outcome of this court case.

Mr Shahid has now been in touch with Leeds City Council and is understood to be taking steps to put right the unauthorised works.

Councillor Andrew Carter, executive board member with responsibility for development said:

“The council will not stand by and do nothing when people choose to flout the planning rules or ignore enforcement notices.

“I hope this case sends a clear message that we will take whatever action is necessary to deal with unauthorised building works.

“Mr Shahid and Ms Pinnu are £18,000 out of pocket because they chose to deliberately disregard the regulations.

“They have made the lives of their neighbours very difficult and I am pleased we now have the backing of the court to put this situation right.”

For media enquiries please contact:
Andy Carter, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 395 0393