Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Landlord receives £366 bill over alarm faults in fire death house

A landlord has been fined for failing to properly maintain the fire alarm at a property where a tenant died in a fire.

At Leeds Magistrates Court yesterday, Paul Turner was ordered to pay a £200 fine, £150 costs and a £15 Victim Surcharge after pleading guilty to not properly maintaining the fire alarm at 7 Cambrian Terrace in Beeston, where the tenant of the basement flat, Paul Mansfield, 45, died during a fire on 14 December last year.

An investigation found that whilst the fire alarm did activate several times during the day, tenants in the flats above believed they were false alarms and, when they could not silence it, just removed the battery and fuse to stop it from sounding.

While the cause of death is believed to be smoke inhalation, it cannot be confirmed as the Coroner is yet to hold a public inquest into the death, though one is scheduled for early November.

Turner, of 28 Stoneleigh Court, Shadwell Lane, Leeds, was charged for a breach of regulations that states that the manager of a house in multiple occupation (HMO) must maintain the fire alarm in good working order.

The alarm has not been regularly maintained by a alarm specialist and not in compliance with rules which state that monitored ‘Grade A’ fire alarm systems must be inspected and serviced at periods of not less than six months.

The property, which is made up of four self-contained flats over four floors, has a ‘Grade A’ monitored fire alarm but Mr Turner has not been able to supply any documents showing the fire alarm has been serviced, something he confirmed during interviews with investigators.

He told investigators that he was aware that there had been many false alarms when the fire alarm had been activated due to cooking.

The owner of the building is Donald Turner, the defendant's father.

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for housing, said:
“This is a sad case and highlights the fact that maintaining a properly working fire alarm system can really be a matter of life and death.
“The vast majority of private landlords in this city take their responsibilities seriously, but we will take action against those who do not.”

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

Serbian Mayor and business leaders visit Leeds to forge investment partnership

Caption: Mayor Milos Simonovic of Nis and Councillor Richard Brett, leader of Leeds City Council

A delegation from Serbia will be given a civic welcome next week when they visit Leeds Civic Hall to sign up as overseas partners of the Central European Business Network (CEBN).

Mayor Milos Simonovic of Nis, who is visiting Leeds with business representatives from his city, will meet the leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Richard Brett, and sign the agreement to formalise partnership arrangements.

The agreement confirms the city of Nis’s commitment to supporting mutual trade activities and working in partnership with the CEBN to publicise and take advantage of business opportunities in both countries.

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Journalists are invited to attend the signing ceremony of the CEBN branch agreement at 12.15pm on Tuesday, 29 September. Councillor Richard Brett and Mayor Milos Simonovic will both speak before signing the agreement.

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Councillor Richard Brett, leader of Leeds City Council and executive board member with responsibility for international relations said:

“We are delighted to welcome Mayor Simonovic and the Serbian delegation to Leeds to sign the CEBN branch agreement. Their commitment is a real boost to the network and will lead the way in getting more eastern European countries on board.”

The delegation will also attend a CEBN networking event on Monday, 28 September, which will be opened by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Elliott. This event will provide an excellent opportunity for businesses in Leeds and the Yorkshire region to come along and develop links with Serbia, and also meet potential partners, customers and suppliers.

The lunchtime networking seminar ‘Doing business in the Serbia’ will take place at DLA Piper’s Leeds Office at Prince’s Exchange, from 11.45am until 2.30pm on Monday, 28 September. Guest speakers will include Mayor Milos Simonovic who will give an overview of trade opportunities in Nis, Miodrag Manic, economic advisor to the Mayor of Nis, and Vladimir Jovanovic, director of Nis Tourist Organisation.

Councillor Brett added:
“Serbia has experienced high economic growth rates over the past three years, with good potential for more in the future.

“The aim of the networking event is to help businesses in Leeds to secure new opportunities, and to encourage mutual benefits to both areas through increased trade.

"I would urge anyone who is interested in finding out more to book a place as soon as possible."

To book your free place at this event, please call Leeds City Council’s International relations team on 0113 247 5325 or email


Additional info

The CEBN network was launched in February 2008, and is currently a collaboration between Leeds City Council, Alfran UK, DLA Piper and PDA International. The objective of the network is to help Yorkshire companies to develop business opportunities in central and eastern Europe.

Nis is a key player in the economy of Serbia, with the city contributing a third of the GDP of the country.

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

The North’s biggest film event just got bigger

Picture caption: The Men Who Stare at Goats (courtesy of Momentum Pictures)

The 23rd Leeds International Film Festival presented by Leeds City Council promises to be bigger and better than last year now running over 19 days and including a host of new venues and films.

The Leeds International Film Festival will run from 4th to 22nd November, with a superb double opening night of exclusive previews on Wednesday 4th November at Leeds Town Hall. Launching the Film Festival is one of the sure-fire hits of the Autumn, The Men Who Stare at Goats, a brilliant satirical comedy about modern warfare based on the acclaimed book by British journalist Jon Ronson. The film follows a war reporter (Ewan McGregor) who meets an ‘ex-jedi’ special forces agent (George Clooney), part of a secret, psychic military unit set up by a Vietnam Veteran (Jeff Bridges).

Opening the Film Festival Official Selection on the same night is Cannes favourite Bright Star, directed by Jane Campion, which charts the romance between English poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, a passionate relationship that ended tragically with the poet’s early death in 1821.

This year the Leeds International Film Festival team is calling all film fanatics who would like a chance to make their own mini-films and be part of the biggest film event in the North. Volunteers are needed for producing videos for the Film Festival’s You Tube Channel, assistance at venues, and helping with guests. In return for being part of the team, benefits will include invites to Galas, free tickets for screenings, and a great learning experience.

The line-up of host venues for the Film Festival has also been confirmed with a number of new venues and some old returning favourites. Returning favourites include the Hyde Park Picture House where the Film Festival began in 1987; Vue Cinemas at the Light , The Carriageworks and Leeds Town Hall which will host many of the biggest screenings including the Opening Gala.

New venues for 2009 include: the Howard Assembly rooms a former cinema restored to it’s original Victorian splendour; and Nation of Shopkeepers, the city’s brilliant new 600-capacity bar and music venue, and now the official Film Festival hub throughout November, hosting events and music nights and providing a great destination for everyone attending the festival.

As part of this year’s festival, input from over 1000 Leeds film fans was consulted to see how the event could deliver an even greater experience. One of the results of the feedback was the extension of the Film Festival to allow more of the outstanding films from around the world to be presented over the Festival period.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:
“Leeds is an outstanding city for culture and our international film festival attracts the very best of contemporary, cutting-edge cinema from all over the world confirming its status as an event of national significance. It is great that the city’s film fans have had an input into this year’s festival and I am sure there will be some great experiences throughout November.”

Chris Fell, Director of Leeds International Film Festival said:
“Securing Bright Star and The Men Who Star at Goats as Opening Galas is a great coup for the Film Festival and for the city. The films are very different but brilliant and will set the scene for an incredible 19 days of exclusive screenings, brilliant guests and breathtaking discoveries, all unique to Leeds.”

Film Festival Passes and Major Event Tickets are now on sale through or the City Centre Box Office by phone on 0113 2243801, or in person at The Carriageworks on Millennium Square. The offer of the special early bird rate for Film Festival passes expires on 20th October.

Even better news for film fans is that the great value Festival Pass at £70 single and £120 double, will remain at the same price despite the extension, giving access to all individual screenings for less than £4 per day. To apply to become a volunteer email the Film Festival office on to ask for a Volunteer application pack or call 0113 247 8398.

Notes to editors:
The 23rd Leeds International Film Festival will run from 4th to 22nd November and is presented by Leeds City Council and supported by the MEDIA Programme of the European Union and Screen Yorkshire, with lead sponsors Northern Rail, Vue Cinemas, ancnoc whiskey, and City Inn Hotels.

Key venues and their dates for this year are the Hyde Park Picture House (6th to 19th November); Vue Cinemas at the Light (6th to 19th November); The Carriageworks (6th to 14th November); Leeds Town Hall (4th and 6th to 10th November); the Howard Assembly Rooms (4th to 7th November) ; and Nation of Shopkeepers (4th to 22nd November).

The official image for the 2009 Film Festival is the work of Leeds photographer Phil Faulks and features aspiring local model Ayesha Smart in a setting of Leeds Town Hall at night. The image is available for reproduction on request.


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