Thursday, 17 September 2009

Talks to continue over Thorp Arch training facility

At a special meeting of the executive board today, senior councillors have authorised officers to continue discussions with Leeds United regarding the buy back of the club's Thorp Arch training facility from a private company.

Any deal would secure use of the training facility for the Olympics, the 2013 & 2015 Rugby World Cups, and the 2018 Football World Cup, along with increased Leeds United community activity across the city.

As part of their current lease agreement the club has the option to buy back the facility from the private company, but this option expires on 10th October 2009. The club approached Leeds City Council for assistance with buying back the training facility.

At a meeting of the executive board last month members agreed to investigate whether it was appropriate for the council to be involved in the matter. At that meeting it rejected any possibility of a loan being made to the club and asked officers to examine an alternative option where the council borrow money to buy the facility and then lease it back to Leeds United.

Councillor Andrew Carter executive board member responsible for city development said:
“Officers have been in discussions with Leeds United and have been investigating the financial and legal considerations. Our main concern is that this arrangement must not ultimately be paid for by the council taxpayers of Leeds, so before we agree to anything we must be satisfied that all of our costs would be fully covered by the club's rent payments and security bonds.

“We will now be putting a proposal to the club based on a set lease. We have made it very clear on what basis we are able to help and hope Leeds United are able to accept these terms.”

Councillor Richard Brett, leader of the council added:
“A successful Leeds United is undoubtedly a great asset to the city so we have explored many options to see how we can help. We hope the proposals we will be putting to them will be acceptable.

"However there are still some key legal issues to be resolved here and a deal is by no means certain, but the two parties continue to work together well to try and deliver the best outcome for the club and the city".

Council officers will now report back to the main party leaders, prior to the deadline, to finalise the decision.

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

New community garden with hammocks and toadstools opens

A joint partnership community garden was opened at Thwaite Mills Watermill last weekend as part of the National Heritage Weekend.

The Aire Valley Community Garden has been a working partnership with Aire Vally Homes and Thwaite Mills Watermill. The £12,000 funded garden was officially opened on Sunday 13th September as part of the museums celebrations for the National Heritage Weekend.

The garden comprises of two bespoke gazebo's both of which are wheelchair accessible, one for adults and one for children, as well as two large hammocks which can seat up to 15 children as well as toadstool seats.

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

“The garden is a wonderful asset to the already picturesque area at Thwaite Mills Watermill. The garden will be excellent for the local residents and children alike, and will provide a great space for childrens parties, entertainment and relaxing.”

The community garden will be available for use by the general public, Aire Valley Homes residents to hire, free of charge for children's parties, as well as being used as part of the schools workshop programme.

For further information on Thwaite Mills Watermill visit:


For media enquiries please contact:
Catherine Milburn, Leeds City Council, 0113 247 8285

Posing, flexing and pumping iron at Leeds Town Hall

Stars of the muscle-mad bodybuilding world including Gladiators Atlas (Sam Bond )and Warrior (Daniel Singh) will be flexing their muscles at Leeds Town Hall on 27th September.

The Yorkshire and North East bodybuilding championships held at Leeds Town Hall, will showcase the lean mean muscles of local men and women aged 18-60 and stars of the bodybuilding world as they flex their abs and guns to win a place in the 2009 British Bodybuilding Championships which will be held three weeks later in Nottingham.

Scott Wright, ex-Coronation Street actor and fan of bodybuilding will be emceeing the night, along with appearances from guest stars including Roelly Winklaar, the Dutch sensation who won the super-heavyweight and overall titles at the amateur Arnold Classic this year, the amazing over 60’s World Champion Bernie Cooper, who is 63-years young and young bodybuilding star Livia Kallayova. Local bodybuilding enthusiast and winner of several past world titles, Jenny Garside, a 37-year-old mother of two from Morley will also be competing at the show.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:
“It is great to have The Yorkshire & North East Bodybuilding Championships here at the Town Hall. I hope the event is a huge success and that it helps to promote fitness and health across Leeds and the region.”

John Plummer, event promoter, said:
“This is the third time the event will be held at Leeds Town Hall and we expect it to eb the biggest and best so far. Most competitors are average men and women with jobs and families who use competing as an excuse to get in shape. It is a great chance for people who are interested in getting in shape to come along and be inspired and to get advice from the many experts who will be manning the trade stands”

Tickets for the event are available now. For more information call the box office on 01423877057 (daytime) or co-promoter Geoff Evans on 01423 819142 (evenings and weekends).

Notes to editors:

Last year's event attracted almost 1,000 spectators and 72 competitors. The winners of each class qualify for the UK Championships in Nottingham three weeks later where the winners get to turn pro and 'live the dream' by competing for cash in America

Tickets for the event cost £15.00 (£7.50 for under-12s) and can be booked on 01423877057 or 01423 504516 or 01423 819412 (weekends). Subject to availability, tickets may also be purchased on the day. Tickets are valid for the afternoon pre-judging, which starts at 1pm and the evening show which starts at 6pm

For further information on the event or press accreditation contact co-promoter John
Plummer on 07919 285085, email:


For media enquiries please contact:
Catherine Milburn, Leeds City Council press office, on 0113 247 8285

Council is top dog with award for keeping those tails wagging

Caption: Leeds City Council dog warden Gavin Jarrett with rescued dog, Sandy

They’re meant to be man’s best friends, so when dogs are treated badly it’s only fair that their rescuers treat them well – and they’re guaranteed that in Leeds, where dog wardens have won an award.

Leeds City Council’s Dog Warden Service has been awarded an RSPCA Bronze Footprint Award for Animal Welfare for how it deals with stray dogs.

It was achieved through demonstrating the wardens’ skills, experience and "good, clear policies" in respect of safeguarding dogs that they handle, for the brief time that they remain in their care.

The award demanded that all the animals wardens handled received veterinary care where appropriate, were contained humanely, and that the kennels where strays are impounded meet the model licence conditions for dog boarding establishments as set out by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

Between April and August this year, the city’s dog wardens dealt with 567 requests to deal with stray dogs; compared to 3,834 in the 12 months between April 2006 and April 2007 and 3,906 in the same period in 2007 and 2008.

The bronze is the top award that the service can qualify for, as animals only remain in the council’s care for a short time and the silver and gold awards apply more to organisations that look after dogs for longer.

Councillor James Monaghan, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental services, said:
“We are very pleased that the experience and dedication of our dog wardens has been recognised on the national stage.
“Dealing with stray dogs and treating them in a humane and caring manner can be a difficult and, at times, thankless task but, considering this is the first time the service has been nominated for an award, winning the bronze is a fantastic achievement.
“However, we will do everything we can to continually improve the service.”

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