Thursday, 8 April 2010

Team up and take on the GDF SUEZ Leeds Half-Marathon challenge

Caption: The half-marathon is one of the biggest mass-participation events of the year in Leeds

Organisers of this year’s GDF SUEZ Leeds Half-Marathon are calling on runners to join together and take on the team challenge after all the places in the main event were sold out.

All 3,800 places on the main half-marathon entry have now been claimed but for any groups or businesses keen to take part there are still places available in the GDF SUEZ Corporate Challenge for the event on Sunday 9th May.

The GDF SUEZ Corporate Challenge offers the chance for teams of six runners to each run a section of the 13.1-mile half-marathon course around Leeds in a relay format, with various prizes up for grabs. The event is ideal for businesses to enter as a team-building exercise, as well as groups of runners who want a taste of the course without taking on the full half-marathon challenge itself. There are already over 100 teams entered, but it is hoped that figure will be nearer 150 come race day.

The race is run as part of the GDF SUEZ Leeds Half-Marathon which is organised by Leeds City Council and sponsored by utility company GDF SUEZ in association with media partner 96.3 Radio Aire and kit suppliers Up and Running.

One of the biggest mass-participation events of the year in Leeds, the day attracts over 5,000 runners to Millennium Square where it starts and finishes. There is also a fun run and junior run element of the event which is managed by organisers Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All.

Leeds City Council lead member for Leisure Councillor Bill Hyde said:

“The main Leeds Half-Marathon is now sold out but for those keen to take part they still can by joining together with friends or work colleagues and entering the team challenge. The whole day is a great event with a fantastic atmosphere on Millennium Square for everyone involved to enjoy.”

Chief Executive of GDF SUEZ Energy UK Marc Hirt said:

"GDF SUEZ are delighted that all the places for the half-marathon have been filled and we would like to encourage companies to sign up for the Corporate Challenge which is a great team-building event.”

96.3 Radio Aire’s Breakfast Show presenter Joel Ross

“This is a brilliant event for Leeds and it shows with the places going so fast! JK and I are just too unfit to walk to work let alone run a half-marathon so we’ll be sitting this one out but wish everyone luck and will be at the finish line cheering everyone on.”

All the runners will be asked to raise sponsorship money for official event charity Yorkshire Cancer Research, which carries out research into the causes and cures of cancer across the region.

Yorkshire Cancer Research Events Manager Emma Young

“We are really pleased to be chosen as charity partner for the GDF SUEZ Leeds Half-Marathon. Yorkshire Cancer Research is an independent, regional medical charity that funds vital research into the causes and cures of cancer at five centres of excellence around Yorkshire. If you would like to support us by raising sponsorship, please contact Yorkshire Cancer Research on 01423 877 210 or email to receive a fundraising pack.”

New for this year, anyone keen to take part will be able to follow regular updates via twitter at

Entry into the GDF SUEZ Corporate Challenge is £84 per team. For more information or to receive an application form go to or call Leeds City Council’s Sport Development Unit on 0113 395 0001. Application forms can also be collected from Leeds City Council leisure centres and the 96.3 Radio Aire reception.

Notes to editors:

Yorkshire Cancer Research (YCR), now in its 85th year, is the UK’s largest regional medical research charity and provides millions of pounds worth of funding for research into the causes and cures of cancer – all of which is carried out in Yorkshire through universities and associated teaching hospitals in Bradford, Hull, Leeds, Sheffield and York. More information on YCR and the work it funds can be found at


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

VIDEO: builders of Leeds Arena revealed

Note: TV-quality footage and audio of these interviews is available upon request. Please call the press office on 0113 224 3937.

Fire alarm failure lands Headingley landlord with £14,000 bill

A Headingley landlord whose tenants only discovered that the fire alarm in their home wasn’t working when a fire failed to set it off is facing a bill of more than £14,000.

Azmat Anwar of 8 Brudenell Mount, Headingley, Leeds, pleaded guilty to six breaches of her House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) license – including allowing seven people to live there when it was only licensed for six.

Yesterday she was fined £12,000 for six licence breaches and ordered to pay £2,013 in costs at Leeds Magistrates Court.

The tenants of 20 Brudenell Mount contacted Leeds City Council’s HMO team after a fire in the house failed to set off the fire alarm.

The council’s HMO team investigated and found multiple breaches of the house’s licence, including:
• seven people living there when it was only licensed for six
• the basement room had been turned into a bedroom, which the landlord had failed to notify the council about
• the window to the basement bedroom was locked with a metal grill, obstructing a route of escape in case of a fire
• the fire alarm system was not working.

The tenants claimed that the landlord had been made aware of these issues but had made no attempt to resolve them.

In January, a letter from Anwar claimed that her brother, Mohammed Khalil Anwar, was managing the property on her behalf, though she had failed to notify Leeds City Council of a change in circumstances, as she was the named as manager on the licence.

She accepted that there were seven tenants in the house but claimed that the basement had always been a bedroom – she had only applied for six people because of the size of the kitchen, which had been extended in the summer of 2009. However, she had not notified the council of the structural changes to the kitchen and bringing the basement room into use.

She claimed she knew that the fire alarm needed repairing but was ill and had tried to contact two people to inspect it but was unable to reach them.

A further inspection in January confirmed that the alarm system had been repaired. However, the security grille and escape window to the basement bedroom had not been replaced or altered, and no variation to the licence had been applied for to formalise the change in occupancy levels, management arrangements and changes to the property layout.

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for housing, said:
“It beggars belief the danger that these tenants were placed in. Something as vital as a fire alarm should be repaired immediately and I’m pleased the tenants contacted us when they did.
“We have these HMO licences for a reason – to ensure that these large rented properties are fit for people to live in.
“Licence conditions must be complied with and the vast majority of landlords do follow the rules, but the council will come down hard on anyone who thinks the rules do not apply to them.”

A Leeds Magistrates Court yesterday she was fined £7,000 for allowing more people to live at the property than it was licensed for and £1,000 for each of the remaining five offences – including failure to maintain fire alarm and obstructing a route of escape in the event of a fire.

She was also ordered to pay £2013.89 costs and a £15 victim surcharge, making a total bill of £14,148.89.

Mandatory licensing of certain HMOs, those comprised of three or more storeys and which are occupied by five or more people, was introduced by the Housing Act 2004. It came in to force in 2006 and so far around 2,800 licences have been issued by the council for properties across the city. The licences contain conditions relating to matters including fire safety, heating and kitchen and bathroom facilities. They also restrict the occupancy level of a property. Not complying with any licence condition is liable on conviction to a fine.

A HMO licence had been issued for 20 Brudenell Mount on 18 June 2007, following an application made by Anwar on 3 July 2006.

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

Leeds Arena: BAM Construction chosen as preferred contractor

World leading construction company, BAM Construction, has been selected as the preferred contractor to build the Leeds Arena.

Leeds City Council’s formal announcement of the preferred contractor today, (Thursday 8 April) is a major step forward in the delivery of the 13,500 capacity Leeds Arena and a welcome boost to the construction economy locally.

BAM is a construction company with a strong national and international profile. It has built a number of high profile local, national and international stadiums including the new duel-use Pavilion for Yorkshire Cricket Ground at Headingley Stadium, the Berlin 02 Arena and a number of stadiums for the World Cup 2010 in South Africa.

Here in Leeds, the company is currently leading on a £9.2m refurbishment of the Leeds City Varieties theatre and previously constructed the award-winning and striking Leeds Metropolitan University building, the Rose Bowl.

A huge £55million construction project, the arena is expected to add around £25.5m per year to the city’s economy and protect around 100 construction jobs. It will create an additional 100 jobs for local residents with potentially 90 apprenticeships.

The council also announced today that Bovis Lend Lease has been selected as the reserved contractor. They will maintain knowledge of the project and will be ready to ‘step up’ to preferred contractor status should the need arise.

The Leeds Arena will set a new benchmark in arena design, being the UK’s first purpose built arena with a ‘fan-shape super theatre design’ which guarantees that every seat in the house will enjoy perfect sightlines of the centre stage - 68metres will be the longest distance from the stage as opposed to 90-95m at a conventional arena.

The announcement of the preferred contractor and reserve contractor follows a recent decision to grant outline planning permission for the arena building. The project remains on track for the construction contractor to take control of the site this year, with completion fully on course for 2012. Construction work is currently scheduled to start late in 2010.

The Arena operator, SMG Europe, will also shortly seek to enter into a naming rights agreement with an organisation to sponsor the pioneering arena.

Councillor Andrew Carter, leader of Leeds City Council, said:

“I am delighted to announce BAM as the preferred construction contractor to build the Leeds Arena.

“We received huge amounts of interest from contractors and the standards of submissions were extremely high. This shows the prestigious nature of this development and it is fantastic that we now have one of the very best contractors working on it.

“BAM has significant experience in building world leading stadiums and throughout the tender process they have demonstrated huge commitment and enthusiasm for the project. Leeds City Council looks forward to working with BAM and their design team.”

James Wimpenny, Director of BAM in the North East, said:

“This is a fabulous project for BAM to be building. We’ll be bringing the skills and expertise that has gone into building the stadium to host this year’s World Cup Final to the Arena, together with our local knowledge and track record in Leeds. We look forward to working with Leeds City Council, as we are on the prestigious and much-loved City Varieties, to make Leeds proud of this new signature building.”


Notes to Editors:

1. The Leeds Arena construction contract has been procured through a two-stage design and build approach. With the first stage tender concluded, the second stage tender from the preferred contractor will involve developing the design and tendering the physical works to an agreed list of sub-contractors. It is anticipated that contract close will be reached in autumn 2010.

2. Yorkshire Forward has provided a £9.88m grant funding to the project. Yorkshire Forward is the Regional Development Agency behind the economic regeneration of Yorkshire and Humber.

3. BAM is part of Royal BAM Group. Royal BAM has a strong pedigree in large prestige buildings and is a key contractor behind two of this year’s stadiums in the FIFA World Cup – including Soccer City, home to the FIFA World Cup Final.

4. BAM's current work includes the new duel-use Pavilion for Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Leeds Metropolitan University, Carnegie Pavilion. It built Leeds Grammar School, is on site with four new buildings at the University of York, has built numerous colleges and university buildings such as the Rose Bowl building for Leeds Metropolitan University and the new School of the Earth and Environment for Leeds University. Elsewhere in the UK, BAM has worked on the Old Vic, the Royal Opera House, Selfridges, and the East Wing of Windsor Castle after the fire in 1992.

5. BAM is recognised as a successful UK contractor in health and safety and for considerate construction, for construction management, and for its environmental work. It is one of very few contractors to sign the 10:10 environmental campaign and its recycling performance and targets are ahead of most of the industry.


For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office tel: (0113) 224 3602