Friday, 11 September 2009

Inspection and investigation works to Gelderd Road Footbridge

The southbound carriageway of the A643 (the Ingram Road distributor) will be closed for 18 hours this weekend to allow essential works to take place on Gelderd Road Footbridge.

An inspection was carried out on the footbridge earlier this year, which has highlighted the need for further investigation into its current condition.

Gelderd Road footbridge is a short footbridge crossing the A643 southbound carriageway just after the Armley Gyratory. It was constructed in 1977.

The essential inspection and investigative works on the footbridge will be carried out between 6am and midnight on Sunday 13 September 2009. This will mean that the southbound carriageway of the A643, just after it leaves the Armley Gyratory, will have to be closed for that period and the traffic diverted. This is so that the works can be completed safely. The northbound carriageway will remain open during the works.

The works will help to identify the condition of the bridge and whether there is a need for further maintenance works to be carried out to the structure.

Councillor Andrew Carter, joint leader and executive member with responsibility for development said:
“We appreciate that the closure of this busy section of road is inconvenient for road users, which is why we have chosen this time slot to keep any disruption to a minimum.

“We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused and appreciate your understanding whilst the works are taking place.”

For more information please contact Philip Matson on 07976 344239.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578

Leeds Arena – tell us what you think

Caption: UK's first 'super theatre' interior

Caption: Fanshaped arena showing clear sight lines from each seat to centre stage

Caption: Image showing the shape and sight lines of traditional arenas

Caption: Sky shot showing shape of arena on site

Caption: View of stage from far right of arena

Caption: Eye level image of arena

This weekend sees the start of the public consultation giving the people of Leeds the chance to have their say on the next stage of planning for the Leeds Arena.

Members of the public will be able to have the first glimpse of initial images showing the location and layout of the proposed development, including its groundbreaking ‘super theatre’ interior, at public exhibition stands at city centre venues until 3 October.

This is the first opportunity for people to see the interior layout of the development. Leeds Arena will be the first in the United Kingdom to boast a ‘super theatre’ layout, which will give its customers the best viewing experience in the country. The seating bowl will ‘fan’ out from the stage in two tiers, with the furthest seat being just 68 metres from centre stage. This compares to 95 metres away in typical arenas making every seat in the Leeds Arena the best seat in the house!

During the consultation, people will have the opportunity to speak directly to officers and complete a questionnaire giving their views on the arena project, which will be used to help inform future design developments. This will include questions on how they would like the arena to look from the outside, and ideas about how the public space immediately outside the arena could be used.

Councillor Andrew Carter, executive board member with responsibility for the arena development said:
“Plans for the new arena are really taking shape, and we are keen to involve the people of Leeds in the next stage of the planning process.

“We would like as many residents as possible to come along to the public exhibition stands where they can see for themselves what the arena will have to offer and give us their views on how they think it should look.

“The arena is going to be a fantastic addition to Leeds and I think residents will be genuinely excited when they see what it will have to offer."

John Sutherland, managing director of SMG Europe, the company chosen to operate and manage the venue said:
“SMG has over 50 arenas in its worldwide portfolio, but the innovative design and location of the Leeds Arena makes this one of the most exciting projects we have been involved with. I have no doubt that it will put Leeds back on the international stage for top class entertainment.”

Additional info

Leeds Arena project public exhibition stands can be found at the Merrion Centre (Saturday 12 to Saturday 19 September), Leeds City Museum (Monday 21 to Sunday 27 September), and Leeds Central Library (Monday 28 September to Saturday 3 October).
The deadline for returning completed questionnaires is Friday, 9 October 2009.
The outline planning application for Leeds Arena, which will seek to determine the building’s location on the site, its orientation and height parameters, will be submitted to Leeds City Council in the autumn. Details on external design and landscaping will follow in spring 2010. There will be further opportunities to make comments through this process.
Please visit the website or contact for more details on the project.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578

70 years on, the people who experienced World War II first hand meet again

Past and present are to come together as a former prisoner of war and a member of the armed forces currently serving their country help mark the anniversary of the start of the Second World War at a sheltered housing scheme in Armley.

We’ll Meet Again will take place on 12th September from 11am to 3pm at Phil May Court in Armley, marking the 70th anniversary of the start of hostilities.

Survivors and veterans from the war will indulge in music, food and memorabilia from the time – as well as being joined by schoolchildren and also a serviceman who recently completed his second tour in Iraq.

Grace Clarke was working in an office in France when war broke out in 1939. As a foreign national, she was arrested and held captive for the duration of the war. Tomorrow is also her 94th birthday.

Soldier Stuart Haley recently completed his second tour in Iraq. The 25-year-old joined the army in 2000 and is currently working towards promotion to the rank of corporal. He is the son of a member of staff at Phil May Court and elderly people who use the service sent him many care parcels during his time away.

Other veterans include two Polish servicemen, someone who served with the Medical Corps, one who worked for the ATS and a woman who helped the war effort by making munitions.

Schoolchildren will be asking the ex-servicemen questions about their experience in the war while there will be a raffle with prizes from Rigtons tea, a firm established around the time of the Second World War.

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

Hong Kong delegation to be given 'grand' tour of Leeds

The senior representative of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government in the UK and her colleagues will visit Leeds on Tuesday to meet with the city's business and civic leaders and find out more about what Leeds has to offer as one of the UK's leading centres for business.

Director general of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London, Sarah Wu, deputy director general Andy Lam and principal investment consultant Adela Liew will be given a tour of the city and take part in a day-long series of meetings with representatives of the Leeds business community.

******************** MEDIA OPPORTUNITY ********************

When: Tuesday 15th September, 1pm - 1.15pm
Where: Blue Room, Leeds Civic Hall
Who: Cllr Andrew Carter, joint leader of Leeds City Council and Sarah Wu, director general of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office

The delegation will also be taken on a tour of the newly restored Grand Theatre, home of Opera North, and meet with Richard Mantle, director general of the award-winning opera company.

The visit has been organised following a highly successful 'Leeds in London' event in May which took place at the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show.

Attended by senior diplomatic staff and trade officials from UK embassies around the world, the event was organised by Leeds City Council, Marketing Leeds and UKTI as part of the campaign to raise the profile of the city as an international business location.

Miss Wu and her team were invited to visit Leeds by Cllr Andrew Carter, joint leader of Leeds City Council, who is keen to raise the profile of Leeds on the international stage and promote opportunities for Leeds businesses abroad.

The economies of Hong Kong and China are expected to be amongst the first to emerge from the current global recession and as growth resumes there will be a wealth of opportunities for UK companies in engineering and construction, manufacturing and financial and creative services.

Councillor Andrew Carter, joint leader of Leeds City Council, said:
"Leeds is increasingly recognised as the UK's biggest centre outside London for financial and business services and many home-grown Leeds companies are now operating internationally with offices in Hong Kong and other global business centres.
"The city has a great many assets including two internationally recognised universities, a superb cultural offer, epitomised by organisations such as Opera North and Northern Ballet, and a dynamic business community which has fuelled the city's growth."

Miss Sarah Wu, director general of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, said:
"We were delighted to accept Cllr Carter's invitation to visit the city of Leeds and look forward to exploring opportunities for future cooperation and collaboration."

For further information, contact:
Liz Cashon, Senior Business Development Officer, Leeds City Council
Tel 0113 220 6350

Notes to editors

The itinerary for the visit of Miss Wu and her team includes:
• 10.00 - 11.00: meeting with Deborah Green, chief executive of Marketing Leeds
• 11.15 - 12.00: meeting with Howard Kew, chief executive of Leeds Financial Services, and Teresa Lindsay, deputy director Yorkshire Forward
• 12.00 - 13.00:
• 13.00 - 14.45: lunch with Cllr Andrew Carter and representatives of the city's business community
• 15.00 - 16.00: meeting with Richard Mantle, director general of Opera North
• 16.00 - 17.00: meeting with Tim Bailey, Chamber International, and Giles Blackburn, China Britain Business Council

Unions’ refusal of strike exemptions puts city’s most vulnerable at risk

A senior councillor has reacted with disbelief at news that the Trade Unions have refused to protect some critical services from strike action potentially causing distress to thousands of vulnerable people across the city.


The council has requested that a number of high risk services are exempted from the strike action to ensure the city’s most vulnerable people do not suffer. These ‘vital’ services include:

  • A daily home-call collection service of medical and clinical waste for frail and vulnerable people;
  • Collections from high-rise properties where residents use a central refuse chute which could pose a fire risk if a backlog builds up.
  • Gully cleansing and emergency call out work e.g. serious flooding and clearing up after road traffic accidents

Council chiefs have warned that the Trade Union’s response to this request is putting people at risk.


Cllr James Monaghan, executive board member for environmental services, said:

“We sought to protect a small number of vital services from the strike action but both Trade Unions have refused point blank. It is very disappointing that they are not prepared to make an exception for medical waste collections, therefore putting the city's most vulnerable people at risk.


"Obviously, the council will do all it can to keep disruption to a minimum, and we are prioritising the limited staffing we have to try and cover these but I ask residents to bear with us during this difficult time."


The GMB suggested that the council cover this specialised work using private agency workers, although they are well aware of the regulations and restrictions over the use of agency staff during industrial action and their implications.


Refuse collection and street cleaning services do suffer from high sickness levels and agency staff are used to cover this temporarily. Last year in the refuse collection service the average level of absence was almost 30 days per person. Staff cover for this absence costs nearly £1 million a year. Sadly on the first day of the strike action the council saw normal sickness levels nearly double, and this has increased over the last few days.


Cllr James Monaghan, said:

“The problem of spiralling sickness absence is something we’re acutely aware of and we are working hard to tackle this. To experience this increased sickness level now is obviously a massive blow when we are already under pressure to try to maintain services during this period of strike action."


Throughout the strike the council will be keeping residents up to date through their website. For the latest information please go to


Notes to editors:

The council received 50 sick notes from staff during w/c 31 August and a further 12 staff telephoned in sick on 7 September.


During industrial action, the council will only request the use of agency staff as permitted to do so by the law.

Posted via web from Leeds City Council

Round-the-clock help for anti-social behaviour victims

When you’re suffering from anti-social behaviour, it can be difficult to know who to turn to.

So West North West Homes Leeds (WNWHL) has launched a dedicated round-the-clock phone number that tenants and residents can call to report incidents of anti-social behaviour and nuisance – the first of its kind in the city.

By calling 07891 273 625, they can now speak directly with officers between 6pm and 7am, seven days a week to report incidents of anti-social behaviour.

Officers can offer reassurance and advice to ensure that the caller is contacted by a member of their local Neighbourhood Housing Office team the next working day. Officers also offer a call back service.

The service covers the WNWHL areas of Otley, Pool, Bramhope, Guiseley, Yeadon, Cookridge, Rawdon, Holt Park. Tinshill, Horsforth, Kirkstall, Burley, Armley, Bramley, Pudsey, Woodhouse, Wortley, Farnley, and New Farnley.

It is hoped that this facility will ensure victims of anti-social behaviour and residents have more confidence that WNWHL takes all incidents of anti-social behaviour seriously and will investigate all allegations, ensuring appropriate action is taken against perpetrators.

In addition to the out-of -hours telephone line, tenants and residents can also report incidents of anti-social behaviour and nuisance at any Neighbourhood Housing Office or via the WNWHL website.

Cathy Clelland, chair of the West North West Homes Leeds board, said:
“When you’re suffering from anti-social behaviour, knowing that there is someone to talk to can make a big difference – particularly if you are elderly or vulnerable.
“Because most anti-social behaviour problems occur outside of office hours, we’re pleased to offer this service, which we hope will give residents a little bit more security and confidence.”

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for housing, said:
"I welcome the fact that West North West Homes Leeds has launched this service. It promises to really help tenants experiencing anti-social behaviour problems.
“This is something I'd like to see the other ALMOs taking up so that tenants across the city can benefit from this kind of out-of-hours contact."

Notes for editors
West North West Homes Leeds
is one of three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO) which manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council. It is wholly owned by the council, which retains ownership of housing stock and sets rents.
West North West Homes Leeds covers the areas of Otley, Pool, Bramhope, Guiseley, Yeadon, Cookridge, Rawdon, Holt Park. Tinshill, Horsforth, Kirkstall, Burley, Armley, Bramley, Pudsey, Woodhouse, Wortley, Farnley, and New Farnley.

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