Friday, 30 July 2010

Work starts transforming row of shops into green homes

Caption: Chief executive of Yorkshire Housing Association Ged Walsh (left) and the Mayor of Morley, Councillor Paul Cook officially mark the start of work at Morley Bottoms

A row of empty shops is to be transformed into 22 environmentally friendly homes for people from an area of Leeds.

Work has now begun on the £4 million pound regeneration scheme at Chapel Hill in Morley Bottoms, which will completely regenerate shops and flats dating from 1908 to provide the much needed two-bed apartments by March next year.

The Mayor of Morley, Councillor Paul Cook, and chief executive of Yorkshire Housing Association, Ged Walsh, along with officials and local councillors officially marked the beginning of work on the site, which has already been cleared for construction.

The new development – built through a partnership between Leeds City Council, Yorkshire Housing, Aire Valley Homes Leeds and the Homes and Communities Agency – will be built to extremely high environmental standards. The roof tiles will generate electricity for the homes, also exporting energy back to the National Grid.

There will also be a Local Lettings Plan designed to help local people rent a home, as there is a need in the area for such accommodation. It is hoped the development will free up under-occupied council housing in the area.

As well as providing the site for the development, the council has also provided gap funding of £415,436 to enable it to go ahead. Yorkshire Housing was successful in bidding for a £1.398m grant from the HCA.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for neighbourhoods and housing, said:
"Chapel Hill further demonstrates the commitment from both the council and our partners to deliver more affordable housing across Leeds, even in these difficult economic times.
“These new apartments will compliment the overall regeneration of the Morley Town Centre area and are designed to have a minimal impact on the environment.
“They will be aimed at customers who are under-occupying larger family sized homes which will assist in increasing the number of family sized homes available to customers in the Morley area. That way everyone wins."

Mervyn Jones, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Housing, said:
“We are delighted that work on the site is well underway and we have had a really positive reception from the local community.
”These properties are a wonderful example of how through partnership working, Yorkshire Housing is able to deliver modern and environmentally-friendly homes to the people who need them most.”

Naz Parkar, Head of Area for West Yorkshire at the Homes and Communities Agency said:
“I am delighted that our £1.3 million investment has enabled Yorkshire Housing to deliver these new homes with our partners at the Local Authority.
“This project will enhance the neighbourhood and help develop a sense of place by creating homes where people can not only afford to live but also want to.”

Notes to editors:
Yorkshire Housing is one of the largest social housing providers dedicated to Yorkshire, managing over 14,000 homes and providing a wide range of other services across the region. For more information visit:

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is the single, national housing and regeneration delivery agency for England. Our role is to create opportunity for people to live in high-quality, sustainable places. We provide funding for affordable housing, bring land back into productive use and improve quality of life by raising standards for the physical and social environment. For more information visit

The buildings before work began:

And the same site after clearance:

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

Kids Go Wild

Young people are being encouraged to go wild in the countryside and parks this summer with the help of a packed events programme.

Leeds City Council are offering young people under 12-years-old the chance to go trail trekking, learn survival skills, build shelters and hunt bugs as well as treasure.

Throughout the summer months a series of events to inspire and educate young people about wild plants, animals and environments will be taking place supported by Leeds City Council parks and countryside service in parks and green spaces all over the city.

Leeds City Council’s senior countryside ranger Emma Trickett said:

“This summer programme of events is a brilliant way for children of all ages to explore the parks and countryside surrounding them in a fun and safe way – helping them discover the secrets of the outdoors.

“The events will introduce children to fascinating environments right on their doorsteps and hopefully foster a love of the outdoors that they will take with them into their adult lives.”

Free events will be taking place in the countryside all over Leeds including Otley Chevin, Pudsey Park, Middleton Park, Townclose Hills, Hunger Hills - Horsforth and Meanwood Valley.

Full of hands on activities the action packed events will also be full of information about the plants, animals and habitats which exist harmoniously in these wildlife havens.

Young people will also have the chance to build bat and bird boxes which they will be able to take home with them encouraging wildlife into their gardens so they can witness it on their doorsteps every morning.

Events will be running throughout August and booking is required for most though entry is free and several of the venues offer disabled access so everyone can go wild.

Wednesday 4th August , 1pm – 4 pm
National Play Day - Den Building and Tracks and Trails on Otley Chevin.
Join the Parks and Countryside Rangers for some family fun in Chevin Forest Park.
Meet at The White House, Johnny Lane, Otley.
Booking required – disabled toilets – donations welcome.
To book or for more information contact Dan Malster on 0113 237 5268.

Sunday 7th August, 2pm
Wild Things at Pudsey Park.
An afternoon of wildlife-based activities for Children.
Meet at The West Leeds Country Park visitor centre.
For more information contact Elaine Hill on 0113 3957460.
Disabled access – disabled toilets.

Wednesday 11th August, 1pm – 4 pm
Kids Go Wild! Bushcraft in Middleton Park.
Learn how to build a shelter, purify water, discover wild food and how to light a fire using a flint and steel.
Meet at the Lakeside Building.
Booking required – disabled toilets – donations welcome.
To book or for more information contact Steve Clavering on 0113 2375207.

Wednesday 18th August, 1pm – 4pm
Kids Go Wild! – Wildflowers, butterflies and bugs at Townclose Hills.
A chance to find out who eats who in the minibeast kingdom.
Meet in the leisure centre car park.
Booking is essential – donations welcome.
For more information contact Steve Clavering on 0113 2375207.

Sunday 22nd August, 2pm
Treasure Hunt on Hunger Hills, Horsforth.
Friends of Hunger Hills.
Follow the clues to find the treasure.
Meeting at the Hall Lane entrance to Hunger Hills, opposite the children's play area in Horsforth Hall Park.
For more information contact Elaine Hill on 0113 3957460.

Wednesday 25th August, 1pm – 4pm
Kids Go Wild in Meanwood Valley.
Searching for slugs and dipping for diving beetle get hands-on with the wildlife.
Meet at the Marquee near the children's play park in Meanwood Park (Park in car park off Green Road), Meanwood.
Contact Jenny Watts on 0113 237 5320 for more information.
Donations welcome.

Friday 27th August, 2pm – 4 pm
Kids Go Wild! Bird and bat box building in Pudsey Park.
Construct wooden nest boxes for the bats and birds that use your garden. Suitable for children aged seven and over. Limited numbers of boxes available so booking is essential. Meet at Pudsey Park visitor centre.
Contact Steve Clavering on 0113 2375207 for more details
Booking essential – Cost £3.50 (cost of wooden nest box to take home) – disabled access – disabled toilets

All events are free but donations are welcome. For more information contact the parks and countryside rangers 0113 2375317 or


For media enquiries please contact: Daniel Johnson, leisure communications officer
tel: 0113 247 8285, email: