Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Third day of talks to resolve bin strike in Leeds

Representatives from Unison, the GMB and Leeds City Council are to meet for a third day of talks to try and resolve a bin strike currently affecting Leeds.

This afternoon, the two sides met again for more than three hours of discussions.

They are trying to reach agreement on how to end a five week old strike which has been causing disruption to street cleaning and refuse collection services.

Councillor Richard Brett, council leader, said:

“These exploratory talks appear to be going well and that is good news.

“However, I recognise that there is still a lot to be worked out and our negotiations shouldn’t be rushed.”

Neil Derrick, from the GMB said:

“We are committed to continuing negotiations and we believe there is a solution to be found to this dispute.

“We are not there yet but we will continue explore both side’s proposals over the days ahead.”

Tony Pearson from Unison said:

“There are a number of options available to end this strike and we’re happy to listen to what the council has to say.

“But there is a lot of detail to discuss if we’re to reach an agreement.”

Unison, the GMB and Leeds City Council will continue their talks on Thursday.

Ends

Posted via web from Leeds City Council

Consultation proposed on the future of Leeds secondary schools

Education Leeds is to ask Leeds City Council to approve a consultation to discuss the future of three Leeds secondary schools.

Education Leeds is proposing to formally consult on the closure of City of Leeds, Primrose High School and Parklands Girls’ High School as it aims to meet the government’s National Challenge which requires at least 30 per cent of young people at each school to achieve 5 A*-C GCSEs, including English and maths.

Part of the proposed consultation also includes discussing the establishment of an academy in east Leeds on the Parklands site, establish a 14-19 hub on the City of Leeds site and establish an academy on the Primrose site by 2011.

Leeds City Council’s executive board will meet next Wednesday (14 October) where it will be asked to agree for a formal consultation on the proposals to go-ahead.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:
“The proposal for this consultation to go ahead has been made following in-depth discussions regarding National Challenge and the futures of these three schools. Standards have been raised in many of our secondary schools and this consultation is the next step in the process.

“We feel, in light of the National Challenge situation and with the options we available to us, the proposed changes are the best way of achieving improved standards. This consultation will be meaningful and comprehensive and the end result will be even more young people achieving better GCSE results.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“We have to ensure all our schools meet national standards for GCSE achievements. We have already seen huge improvements in our secondary schools over the last five years, achieved by partnering stronger schools with weaker ones and improving leadership and teaching.

“If approved, this consultation will allow us to continue our efforts to improve learning across the city and ensure every young person has access to the best possible education.”

In 2008 Leeds had 14 secondary schools included in the National Challenge but 2009’s GCSE results reduced that figure to six.

These three remaining schools are the only ones which Education Leeds feels needs structural changes to raise standards.

Parklands Girls’ High School has made good progress and exceeded the national floor target but due to the declining roll and difficult financial situation presents a challenge for sustaining progress.

City of Leeds and Primrose High School both face major challenges to improve teaching, attendance and behaviour standards and require major changes to ensure the National Challenge target is reached.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577
Email: jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk

Have your say about parking in Headingley

Residents in Headingley are invited to have their say as plans for a parking strategy for the area move ahead.

Staff from Leeds City Council and Mouchel, the consultants for the strategy, will be on hand at two public involvement events to be held in Headingley Library, North Street on Friday 16 October, 12 noon - 6pm and Saturday 17 October, 10am - 4pm to hear your views.

If you have an opinion about parking in Headingley this is the perfect opportunity to get your views across and feed into the strategy, which will help us to better manage parking in Headingley centre for shoppers, commuters, residents, visitors and businesses.

Maybe you live in the area and find it difficult to park your car near home? Maybe you visit the area to shop and have problems finding a car parking space? Maybe you don’t know what all the fuss is about, think that there is loads of parking and can always find a space?

Information from recent surveys will be on show, leaflets will be available and everyone will have the opportunity to discuss parking issues and give written responses and ideas. These will be used in Mouchel’s work over the next few months to develop recommendations for a parking strategy in Headingley.

Councillor Andrew Carter, joint leader and executive member responsible for development said:
“We want as many residents as possible to come along and get involved in this public consultation, and tell us about all their parking experiences in Headingley – good or bad.

“This is the best possible way to make sure that your views are noted and used to shape the new parking strategy that is being developed for the area.”

ENDS
Additional info

An online feedback form will also be available from Wednesday 13 October until Friday 13 November 2009 at www.leeds.gov.uk/headingleyparkingstrategy

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

Dog wardens to tackle foul problem in south Leeds

Inconsiderate dog owners in Morley and Rothwell are to be targeted in a council crackdown, over claims from residents that dog fouling is becoming a major problem.

Leeds City Council’s Outer South Area Committee has commissioned the council’s dog warden service to tackle dog fouling in Morley and Rothwell following concerns from residents that it is a growing problem.

The project will see council dog wardens conduct out-of-hours patrols in dog fouling ‘hotspots’ until early November, as well as two events where people can get their dog microchipped. A leaflet will be distributed to promote how residents can report dog fouling and raise awareness of the dangers of leaving dog waste on the streets.

The next microchipping event will be at Springhead Park, Rothwell, on Sunday 18th October, from 11am to 2.30pm.

Leeds City Council takes a zero tolerance approach to dog fouling offences. Dog fouling is dirty, unsightly, a nuisance and also has serious health implications, especially for children and pregnant women.

It causes a major problem across the city and the council spends thousands of pounds cleaning up after inconsiderate dog owners, who face a £75 Fixed Penalty Notice or – if they fail to pay – prosecution in the Magistrates Court where the maximum fine is £1,000.

To report any incidents of dog fouling or to contact the council’s dog wardens, call 0113 222 4406 or e-mail environmental.action@leeds.gov.uk

Councillor James Monaghan, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental health, said:
“If you don’t pick up after your dog then you’re not just leaving a mess, you’re creating a health hazard and contributing to a problem we have to spend a lot of money dealing with.
“We want to promote responsible dog ownership and we’d encourage both residents and owners to come along to these events so that we can work together to stamp out the problem of dog fouling.”

Councillor Terry Grayshon, chair of the Outer South Leeds Area Committee, said:
“I am pleased that we are able to bring a crackdown to an area our residents have told us has a growing problem with dog fouling.
“The majority of dog owners are considerate, but there are still those who do not take their responsibilities seriously.”

Notes to editors:
It is an offence for a person who is in charge of a dog to allow it to foul on land which is open to the air and fail to remove the faeces immediately. Being unaware of the fouling, whether by reason of not being in the area or otherwise, or not having a device for or suitable means of removing the faeces is not a reasonable excuse for failing to remove it.

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

Top barks for pet policy that brings high cat-isfaction

The advice council house tenants in Leeds get about keeping pets has won an award.

Leeds City Council has been handed an RSPCA award by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) for its policy on pets in council housing.

The bronze ‘Community Animal Welfare – Housing Footprint’ annual award is designed to recognise good work by local authorities and registered social landlords. This includes putting together a good, well-considered pets policy that ensures high welfare standards, and taking positive action to promote responsible pet ownership.

Permission to keep a pet in a council property is not generally refused, unless there is a good reason. Leeds’ policy was developed in 2007 by the council, its council housing organisations and animal charities.

The policy explains the rules about pet ownership in council properties, including information about which animals are illegal. It gives help on responsible pet ownership and advice on what to do if any problems are caused by other people’s animals. It also gives contact details of a number of animal charities.

The RSPCA commented that it was ‘particularly impressed with the layout of the questions section in the pets policy guide for tenants’.

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for housing, said:
“Pets in council homes can sometimes be a contentious issue.
“But by making it clear what is and is not allowed, as well as giving advice on looking after their pets, we make sure our tenants know where they stand.
“This award is testament to the hard work of staff and we will be aiming to achieve the Silver or Gold award next year.”

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