Thursday, 14 January 2010

Barwick in Elmet conservation area - have your say

Residents in Barwick in Elmet are being asked for their views about the village’s conservation area - what they think is special about it and how they think it could be enhanced.

The historic settlement of Barwick in Elmet first had a conservation area designated in 1981 to safeguard the special architectural and historic character of the village, and protect important buildings from demolition. A review of the boundary is now due.

It is proposed that a new conservation area will remain largely unaltered, but will be modified to include more buildings of historic interest. An appraisal and management plan will also be produced to make sure that the special interest of the conservation area is documented.

Members of the public who are interested in the future of the conservation area are being asked for their comments on the proposed alterations. The draft appraisal document will be available online throughout the consultation at www.leeds.gov.uk/conservation

A public meeting and drop-in session will also be held on Thursday 28 January, 7pm, at the John Rylie Centre, Elmwood Lane, Barwick in Elmet. A Leeds City Council conservation officer will present ideas about the changes and answer any questions from the public. A more informal drop-in session will follow at 7.45pm until 9pm.

Buildings within a conservation area are protected from unauthorised demolition, and new developments have to meet higher standards of design than elsewhere. Other planning rules are slightly different and permission from the council is needed for certain activities such as tree felling.

Councillor Andrew Carter, council leader and executive board member responsible for development, said:
“It is important that we safeguard the special architectural nature and historic character of these villages and protect important buildings from demolition. The best way to do this is by designating a conservation area.

“The opinions of local people are an integral part of the process and these two public meetings are an opportunity for people to speak to a conservation officer and make their views on the issue known to the council.”

The outer north east area committee, with the support of the ward councillors, have made this work a priority and allocated money from their ‘Well Being Fund’ to ensure Barwick in Elmet has an up-to-date conservation area protection.

The public consultation will begin on Monday 11 January and will run until Wednesday 17 February. Posters will be displayed in the village to tell people how they can comment. The proposals should be approved by council officials in February 2010.

People can also request a copy of the draft appraisal from the conservation team at: Sustainable Development Unit, Leeds City Council, Leonardo Building, 2 Rossington Street, Leeds, LS2 8HD

ENDS

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

Bad weather closes Pontefract Lane market for another week

The continuing snowy conditions have meant that this Sunday’s market at Cross Green on Pontefract Lane has again been cancelled.

Weather conditions permitting, the event will operate as usual on the following Sunday, 24th January, and each Sunday thereafter.

As many regular traders as possible have been contacted to inform them of the closure of this week’s market. For more information please contact the Market Information Centre on 2145162.

From fair to good – housing in east and north east Leeds improves

Good with promising prospects – that’s the judgement on one of the organisations managing Leeds’ council housing

East North East Homes Leeds (ENEHL), one of the city’s three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs), is ‘good’ and has ‘promising prospects for improvement’ according to an independent report released today by the Audit Commission.

On a scale from zero to three stars, the Audit Commission inspection team raised ENEHL’s rating from a ‘fair’ one to a ‘good’ two star rating. This was because its estates are well managed and significant improvements are being made to thousands of homes to bring them up to modern standards.

Strengths include:
• Customers are involved in decision-making
• The ALMO has demolished unpopular homes and will bring the rest up to the government's Decent Homes Standard by December 2010
• Most services are effective and the ALMO is working hard to deal with anti-social behaviour and address financial exclusion
• The ALMO has done well in delivering value for money savings

Weaknesses include:
• Customer satisfaction remains relatively low
• Re-letting of vacant homes is slow
• Rent arrears are high

To help the service improve, inspectors made a number of recommendations. These include:
• Improvements in access to services
• Improvements in planning and performance management

Domini Gunn-Peim, the Audit Commission’s Lead Housing Inspector for Yorkshire and Humberside, said:
“East North East Leeds has done a lot in the last year to improve the service from one to two stars. Its governing body, managers and staff demonstrate a strong commitment to service improvement and customers can have confidence that services will continue to get better.”

Angelena Fixter, chair of the East North East Homes Leeds board, said:
“We’re pleased that the Audit Commission has recognised the improvements that the hard work of our staff have produced, all on the back of recommendations from the inspection in 2008.
“In the short space of time since then, all of the team has worked hard to improve and that work has clearly paid off.
“We know that we still have work to do though and together with the council we will address the latest recommendations and continue to improve our services for the benefit of residents.”

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for housing, said:
“This is very good news and is down to the hard work of people on the ground.
“The council has pumped hundreds of millions of pounds into bringing the city’s council housing up to the Decency Standard, which has been a significant challenge for us to achieve. So it’s good to see that despite having to deliver that, East North East Homes Leeds has still managed to improve across the board.
“It’s now important that they take the criticisms on board and ensure that services improve still further for council tenants.”

Notes for editors:
East North East 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.
East North East Homes Leeds manages 19,000 council-owned residential properties in Boston Spa, Burmantofts, Chapel Allerton, Chapeltown, Collingham, Gipton, Halton Moor, Harehills, Linton, Meanwood, Moor Allerton, Moortown, Richmond Hill, Seacroft, and Wetherby.

The Audit Commission is an independent watchdog that audits £200 billion spent by 11,000 local public bodies.

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