Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Council and police move to close down Armley crack house for second time

Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Police are applying to close a crack house in Armley that was raided on Sunday.

The moves comes after complaints from neighbours that they were being plagued by drug-related anti-social behaviour at 54 First Avenue in Armley led to a search warrant being executed yesterday and the premises closed.

Yesterday an application was made by the council, the police and West North West Homes Leeds (WNWHL) at Leeds Magistrates Court for closure of the property, under Section 2 of the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003. The case was adjourned for two weeks.

If granted the property will remain closed for a period of three months during which time WNWHL, one of the three Arms Length Management Organisations that manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council, will apply for possession of the property.

On 21st December 2009 a search warrant was executed at the same address, which is a WNWHL property. Two women are currently on bail for drug offences relating to the raid.

Since the warrant, local residents have reported anti-social behaviour around the property with drug users abusing residents, an increase in burglaries in the area and drug users mixing with parents and children at the nearby Castleton Primary school. Used needles have been discarded onto the school playing fields, presenting a serious health risk to children. The pathways leading to 54 First Avenue have also become littered with rubbish and discarded drug paraphernalia, un-capped syringes, citric acid packets and burnt foil.

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for community safety and chair of Safer Leeds, said:
“We have already had cause to close this address down before and I’m sorry to see the message has not got through.
“What has been going on at First Avenue is unacceptable and we will take whatever action we need to address it.
“Hopefully this will put an end to the problem behaviour at this property.”

Sergeant John Glennon from the West Yorkshire Police's North West Division said:
“The police along with Leeds City Council have acted on the concerns raised by the local community, and are determined to act positively in respect of premises that are the cause of anti-social behaviour within our communities.”

Notes to editors:
Safer Leeds is the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) dedicated to tackling drugs and crime in the city. It is a partnership between a number of local agencies including Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police, NHS Leeds, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and West Yorkshire Police Authority.

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

Awards highlight schools’ commitment to pupil development

Over 140 children from 65 primary, secondary and special schools across the city are to take part in the first Leeds Healthy Schools and Wellbeing Team celebration event.

Taking place at Elland Road on Wednesday 24 February, the schools involved will be presented with 75 awards recognising their commitment to being healthy, sustainable and better places for children and young people.

**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********
Media are invited to Elland Road between 10am and 12.15pm on Wednesday 24 February. Awards will be presented to the schools by Radio Aire presenter, Rich Williams, and BBC weatherman, Paul Hudson. Please call 0113 3951577 or email jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk to confirm attendance.
**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********

The Leeds Healthy Schools and Wellbeing programme has been a huge success in supporting schools to achieve their National Healthy Schools Status and it was recently announced that 97 per cent of schools have achieved the award.

Awards being presented at Elland Road include National Healthy Schools, Sustainable Schools, Investors in Pupils and Smoke Free Schools.

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, and Dr Ian Cameron, director of public health for NHS Leeds, will give speeches and the awards will be presented by Rich Williams, from Radio Aire and weatherman Paul Hudson from BBC Look North.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:“Being healthy, staying safe, and looking after each other and the environment are all important issues. The schools should be proud of their achievements and are a shining example of the great work being carried out in Leeds to provide our children and young people with a complete education.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:“I would like to congratulate each and every school which has achieved an award. These awards highlight that our schools teach our children and young people about a wide range of issues which all help prepare them for their rest of their lives. Each school, and each young person who attends them, should be very proud of these achievements.”

The total number of awards which will be presented includes: Advanced Healthy Schools Status, four schools; National Healthy Schools Status, 25 schools; Investors in Pupils award, 17 schools; Sustainable Schools award, 26 schools; Smoke Free Schools award, three schools.

The National Healthy Schools Status is awarded to schools which meet certain criteria in four areas: PSHE, healthy eating, physical activity and emotional health and wellbeing. The criteria includes having a lunch service that meets national standards, providing free drinking water, having a no-smoking policy and a clear anti-bullying policy.

The Sustainable Schools award recognises a school’s and its pupils’ understanding of the issues of human impact on the planet. The Smoke Free Schools award is given to schools which have ensured the entire school site is smoke-free.

The Investors in Pupils is a West Yorkshire based scheme that sets out to ensure pupil participation is at the heart of school life. To achieve the IIP award, schools must involve their students in setting targets, in managing the classroom and in inducting new students and staff.


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

Primary school statutory notices published

Statutory notices regarding the expansion of primary schools in Leeds have been published.

The notices, outlining expansion plans and proposed special educational needs (SEN) facilities, will be published in the local press, schools and local libraries from this week (Monday 22 February onwards).

A total of 21 notices are being published – 15 for primary school expansions in September 2010; two for primary school expansions linked with the addition of two SEN facilities in September 2010; one for the expansion of Gildersome Primary School in September 2011; and one for the expansion of Richmond Hill Primary School in September 2012.

The 15 primary schools which are proposed to expand in 2010 are: Beeston, Blenheim, Brudenell, Ebor Gardens, Greenmount, Highfield, Hugh Gaitskell, Ireland Wood, Ingram Road, Iveson, Mill Field, Moor Allerton Hall, , Swarcliffe, Victoria, , and Thorner Church of England.

The deadline to respond to the expansion of these 15 schools as well as the expansion of Gildersome primary in 2011 and Richmond Hill primary in 2012 is four weeks from publication (Sunday 21 March).

The deadline to respond to the linked proposals for SEN provision and expansions at New Bewerley and Whitkirk primary is six weeks from publication (Sunday 4 April).

Copies of the notices will be available to parents and carers from the individual schools and complete proposals are available at www.educationleeds.co.uk/schoolorganisation.

Any comments or objections should be sent to: The chief executive, c/o School Organisation Team, 9th Floor West, Merrion House, 110 Merrion Centre, LS2 8DT, or emailed to: educ.school.organisation@educationleeds.co.uk.


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

Fair bit of fun set for the city

This week (22 Feb) sees the start of the national initiative Fairtrade Fortnight, and as one of the largest Fairtrade cities, Leeds will be hosting a wide variety of events, from coffee mornings to Fairtrade circuit training to raise awareness of the issue.

The Fairtrade initiative guarantees that farmers and producers receive a fair price for their crops and labour, providing stability and protection from fluctuating and low prices in international trade.

The fortnight was launched at the ‘Hungry for Activism’ event on Saturday 20 February at Leeds Civic Hall, and will be followed by a visit to the city by Nioka Abbott who has been a banana farmer in St Vincent for 23 years. She was one of the first female farmers involved in shipping Fairtrade banana’s from St Vincent and has been involved in Fairtrade for the last 10 years. She will visit schools and also attend a special ‘Meet the producer’ event which is open to the public at the University of Leeds. (4 March).

Further events include the ‘Making Fairtrade Normal Trade’ event being hosted in the council chamber at Civic Hall (Friday 26 February), and a Fairtrade Frenzy (Tuesday 2 March) hosted by Re’new, which will include Fairtrade circuit training, food tasting, cookery sessions and more.

The John Charles Centre for Sport will be visited by the President of Asoapia, a Columbian Fair-Trade consortium on Tuesday 23 February. The state of the art sports centre linked with a company called Cafeology who are a 100% Fair-Trade supplier a few years ago to change all their tea and coffee supplies.

The fortnight will finish with a Fairtrade stall at the International Women’s Day event (Friday 8 March) which will include beauty therapies, advice and information and a Fairtrade raffle.

Councillor Richard Brett, joint leader and executive board member with responsibility for international relations said:“Fairtrade Fortnight is always well received in Leeds, with many businesses and local people getting involved in some or all of events. I am confident that this year will be no different, and the activities taking place will raise awareness of this good cause throughout the city.”

To keep up to date with events and news from across the fortnight visit the dedicated website; www.fairtradeleeds.org.uk or email; steeringgroup@fairtradeleeds.org.uk

Notes to editors:

Cafeology get their Fairtrade products from sole supplier Asoapía, based in Columbia.

Asoapía is a non-profit group, formed mainly by small farmers who do not depend on work contracts, but their own work done with their families.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

Safety cameras to keep eye on those who abuse parking staff

For MP3 audio of this video, please right click here and select 'save as'.

Finding out you’ve received a parking penalty can be frustrating, but new technology is being used to make sure that frustration doesn’t tip over into violence.

Last year alone there were 172 recorded incidents of violence or intimidation towards Leeds City Council’s parking enforcement officers – a figure the council finds unacceptable.

So some officers are now policing the parking in Leeds with shoulder-mounted cameras on their jackets, designed to deter aggressive behaviour and ensure vital evidence of it is captured.

The council is using the 10 cameras in the areas with the highest number of incidents and, since they were introduced, there has so far been a 48% reduction in reported incidents compared with the same months last year.

The cameras are not on permanently – they are only switched on when the officer feels threatened. The footage is not used for any other purpose and the recordings are deleted every day unless they need to be kept for further action, such as a referral to police. Evidence from the cameras has been handed over to the police for further action on two occasions.

Leeds has previously seen three prosecutions for assault, all of which resulted in a conviction.

Councillor James Monaghan, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental enforcement, said:
“The council considers the safety of its staff incredibly important and this is just a device to help them feel more secure when they’re out doing the job that they’re employed to do.
“They are just doing their jobs and deserve protection. These cameras are a last resort for problem areas in the city but I think they send out a strong message that physical abuse of our staff is unacceptable, regardless of people’s motivations.”

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

Community engagement sessions for east Leeds

Residents will be given the chance to speak up about what they would like to see happen in their communities in inner east Leeds at four upcoming community engagement events.

Organised by the Inner East Area Committee covering east Leeds, the events will be attended by local ward councillors and staff from council services, neighbourhood policing teams and East North East Homes.

The events will help the area committee agree a plan for the year ahead and decide how local budgets will be spent. This could include activities for young people, actions to help make neighbourhoods cleaner and safer, or opportunities for community activities.

The same events held this time last year came up with ideas such as an extended holiday programme for children and young people, property marking schemes to prevent theft, action on drugs and anti-social behaviour, and investment in local community centres, amongst many others.

Councillor Brian Selby, chair of the inner east Leeds area committee said:
“These events provide a great opportunity for local communities to come together and discuss plans for their local area with their area committees. The events provide very useful local information for the area committees and how they can work with communities to introduce new initiatives for the future.”

The events are also themed around the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering, so residents will also have the opportunity to speak to other local people who give their time up to make the areas a better place.

The drop-in style events will take place in Seacroft and Harehills and forum meetings will be organised for Burmantofts and Richmond Hill on the following dates:

Seacroft event – Thursday 25 February 2010; 3.30 – 5.30pm at the Kentmere Community Centre, Kentmere Avenue. The event will include a debating room, free fire safety advice and information on children centre services

Richmond Hill forum – Monday 1 March 2010; 6.00 – 8.00pm at Victoria primary school, Ivy Avenue. The event will include discussion on police priorities and updates from Friends of East End Park

Burmantofts forum – Tuesday 2 March 2010; 7.00 – 9.00pm at St Cyprian’s church hall, Coldcotes avenue. The event will discuss the agreement of the latest local Police and Communities Together priorities

Harehills event –Monday 8 March 2010; 3.30 – 6.00pm at Shine, Harehills Rd. The event will include an arts exhibition displaying local school children’s work and chance to meet your local police team

A similar event in Gipton has already taken place which included a lively debate on the use of public spaces in Gipton and what local activities residents want to see in summer.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk