Wednesday, 28 July 2010

VIDEO: Cllr Peter Gruen responds to suggestions that ASBOs may end

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

Leeds City Region puts business in the driving seat

Businesses across Leeds City Region will have the chance to shape the city region agenda at an event hosted by York Business Forum and Leeds City Region Partnership on Thursday 29 July.

‘Business in the Driving Seat: Innovation in the Leeds City Region’ takes place at the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall in York from 4-6pm.

Any city region business can attend the event, which will officially launch the Leeds City Region Partnership’s Innovation Capital Programme – an ambitious strategy to attract investment to the city region and stimulate economic growth through enterprise and innovation.

The event will also include a discussion on the recent agreement by Leeds City Region Leaders to develop a Local Enterprise Partnership in the city region, which will take on certain roles and responsibilities currently undertaken by the Regional Development Agency, Yorkshire Forward.

Adam Sinclair, Chair of York Business Forum said:

“The Government’s proposals to reform sub-national economic development and create local enterprise partnerships put business at the forefront of shaping local investment priorities. York Business Forum is delighted to be hosting this event with Leeds City Region Partnership and we look forward to welcoming private sector colleagues from across the City Region to hear about work with business to date and proposals to form a Local Enterprise Partnership.”

Cllr Mike Gardner, Chair of the Leeds City Region Partnership’s Economic Drivers and Innovation Panel said:

"Leeds City Region is the largest city region outside London and has a wealth of world-class economic assets, including over 100,000 businesses, a £50bn economy and one of the largest clusters of research universities in Europe. The Innovation Capital programme is about harnessing these assets to drive innovation and enterprise, attract talent and investment, and promote prosperity for the benefit of everyone who lives and works in the city region."

Kersten England, Chief Executive of City of York Council said:

“The Leeds City Region is home to some of the brightest and most successful entrepreneurs and businesses in the UK, and world-leading research in a wide range of disciplines. This programme is about connecting these assets and harnessing their tremendous potential for wealth creation. It is about supporting innovative, energetic entrepreneurs to find markets and buyers for their products and making every part of Leeds City Region more competitive in a global economy.

"As local authorities we have a key role to play in this programme. By understanding our economic strengths and the needs of our businesses, we can more effectively direct our efforts and investment to create a better business environment in which innovation and ingenuity can thrive – a workforce with the right skills, a transport infrastructure that is reliable, housing that suits the needs of those living and working here, and a quality of life that will retain graduates and attract talent and investment to the area.”

The Innovation Capital Programme, which was endorsed by City Region Leaders at their Annual General Meeting on 15 July, has been developed with the involvement of over 160 businesses across the city region. It will form part of the proposals to develop a Local Enterprise Partnership, building on work undertaken over the past six years to support economic prosperity at city region level.

The role of local enterprise partnerships will be to encourage strong collaboration between local businesses and councils to create the right environment for economic growth.

Businesses can register to attend the event on 29 July by emailing Further events are planned this summer at venues across the city region and details will be available on the Leeds City Region website –

For media enquiries please contact:
Andy Carter, Leeds City Council (0113) 395 0393

Notes to Editors:

1. Leeds City Region Partnership brings together the 11 local authorities of Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield, York and North Yorkshire to work across administrative boundaries to promote economic growth and a better quality of life for our communities.

2. With close to 3m people, a resident workforce of 1.3m, over 100,000 businesses and an economy worth over £50bn each year, Leeds City Region is the largest city region outside London.

3. On the proposal to develop a city region LEP, Councillor Stephen Houghton, Leader of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council and recently appointed Chair of the Leeds City Region Leaders Board said: “City Region Leaders have taken the decision to develop a local enterprise partnership for the City Region on the basis that this is the level at which our businesses operate and communities live their day to day lives. We have a strong track record of working together across boundaries over the past six years and we look forward to working with business in the coming months to develop a joint approach to driving growth and rebalancing our economy.’

4. For more information about Leeds City Region Innovation Capital programme, please see

South African guests help Leeds get into Olympic spirit

Caption: (left to right) Wikus Weber, Claude Eksteen, Lady Mayoress Cllr Andrea McKenna, Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr Jim McKenna and Richard Murray outside Civic Hall

Three leading athletes from South Africa were given a special honour in Leeds this week as the city celebrated two years to go to the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The group of South African triathletes - Claude Eksteen, Wikus Weber and Richard Murray - as well as colleague Erhard Wolfaadt, have been training in Leeds this month with World Triathlon Champion Alistair Brownlee as they prepared for Sunday’s World Championship Series event in London.

To mark their visit and also to recognise two years to the day until the start of the London 2012 Games, Claude, Wikus and Richard were special guests at a civic reception hosted by the Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Jim McKenna at Civic Hall.

Two of the South African athletes (Eksteen and Wolfaadt) are currently ranked in the top 50 triathletes in the world while Weber and Murray, who have both been African Under-23 triathlon champions, are expected to be stars of the South African team in London for 2012.

The group have been based at Leeds Metropolitan University for their training in the build-up to Sunday’s event, working under the watchful eye of Jack Maitland, Leeds Met’s triathlon coach who guides world champion Alistair and his younger brother Jonathan Brownlee.

Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Jim McKenna said:

“It is great to have these international athletes from South Africa training in Leeds and to help us celebrate two years to the start of the London 2012 Games. With schools projects, sports and cultural events being planned and other teams making use of the excellent training facilities we have in the city, it is clear that the Olympics will be a big event in Leeds as well as London.”

All four South Africans performed creditably in the event held over the course to be used for the triathlon on 2012 in Hyde Park, with Wolfaadt first home in 48th place. At the front end of the race Jonathan Brownlee put in a career-best performance to take a superb second-place finish behind Spain’s Javier Gomez while Alistair Brownlee faded badly in the closing stages to end in 10th position.

Triathlon South Africa High Performance manager Emma Swanwick has been pleased with the way the South African athletes have responded to training in Leeds, saying:

“The weeks our athletes have spent training in Leeds has given them a boost and really sharpened their attitude and performance. The chance to train in Leeds with the best triathlete in the world has got to help in our preparations for the current ITU World Championships series and longer term, for London 2012.”

With the countdown to London 2012 now in even sharper focus, Leeds is also stepping up a gear in its planning for how the city will celebrate and ensure a lasting benefit from the Games.

There are already over 50% of all Leeds schools taking part in ‘Spirit Alive’, the mini-Olympic Games that is organised and managed by the pupils through their own Olympic committee. The target is for all schools to be taking part in Spirit Alive and celebrating the London Olympics in 2012.

In the field of business, 25 Leeds-based companies have secured direct contracts from the London Olympics with a number of others benefiting through the supply chain opportunities that are part of the largest construction project in Europe. With over £700 million worth of contracts from London 2012 still to be allocated, there are plenty of business opportunities for Leeds still to come.

There will also be financial benefits to the city through international teams using Leeds as their pre-Games training base. The successful Dutch swimming squad will spend the two weeks before the Games training at the John Charles Centre for Sport., while the Serbian Olympic team, estimated to be made up of over 150 athletes and coaches from 11 different sports, will be based in Leeds and Sheffield. Discussions are continuing with other countries regarding their training plans for the Games.

The Cultural Olympiad will also impact on the city. ‘Don’t Just Sit There’ uses dance, theatre, music and rugby to encourage people to move and helps them to see how their region connects with the Games in London and the Olympic ethos. Leeds Canvas has received a grant of £500,000 through the ‘Artists Taking the Lead’ theme and have appointed the Quay Brothers, identical twins born in Pennsylvania but who studied at the Royal College of Art. These acclaimed film–makers will explore water and flow as themes within the city in an art display that will receive national and international interest.

The London 2012 volunteering programme, ‘Games Makers’, is also launched this month. The Games will need 70,000 Games Makers - these will be the people who bring the Olympics to life by being passionate, enthusiastic and inspirational. There will also be volunteering opportunities closer to home as Leeds will have a number of teams training before the Games, all needing volunteers to help ensure their preparation time in Leeds is successful. Over 2,500 potential Games Makers from West Yorkshire have already registered on the London 2012 volunteering site along with over 300,000 from across the UK for the chance to be part of the biggest sporting event in the world.

For further information on Leeds’ work towards the London 2012 Games, visit


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

Writing is on the wall as council purges illegal ads

Caption: Just some of the 400 illegal signs seized by Leeds City Council in a single day

A purge of illegal advertising across Leeds has seen hundreds of signs – for everything from new housing development to hairdressers – taken down.

Officers from Leeds City Council have been taking down placards, banners and flyposters found on council-owned road barriers, lamp posts and signposts across the city. In one day alone more than 400 such adverts were confiscated.

Advertising on council street furniture – such as lamp posts and signs – is not only illegal, it spoils the appearance of our streets and can cause hazards to drivers and pedestrians by blocking lines of sight and causing a distraction.

The council’s Health and Environmental Action Service has served 194 notices under the Highways Act in the last 12 months on companies and individuals, requiring them to remove their signs within 48 hours.

Companies that persist in illegal advertising will be prosecuted by the council and, under the Highways Act 1980, illegal advertising can result in fines of £1,000.

Councillor Tom Murray, Leeds city Council’s executive board member for environmental services, said:
“Illegal signs can be a blight on our city’s streets, making streets look untidy and causing a distraction for drivers.
“Having to take down 400 signs in just one day shows the scale of the problem and we will continue to protect the public by tackling these signs. The trouble is that it is so easy for people to attach these signs, and once one person does it, many others follow.
“I appreciate that in these difficult times advertising is necessary for businesses, but we really do need to emphasise that lampposts are not free advertising hoarding.
“If you are thinking about using this type of advertising, don’t – it could land you in court.”

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