Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Derelict inner-city land transformed into wildflower meadow

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Derelict inner-city land transformed into wildflower meadow

A former derelict and neglected part of inner-city Leeds has been transformed into a lush green space with wildflower meadows, fruit trees and havens for butterflies, birds and other wildlife.

Holbeck Urban Village and Holbeck are within a mile from Leeds City Centre and with strong ties to the city’s industrial past, they are some of Leeds' most deprived areas with pockets of neglected wasteland located alongside new regeneration areas.

But thanks to a Leeds City Council project, these neglected areas of land have now been turned into a green corridor creating precious green space for children and local residents to enjoy and connecting the communities of Beeston and Holbeck to the city centre with an improved footpath route along the line of an ancient footpath.

The Holbeck Green Corridor Project has been so successful it has now attracted national attention and will be featured in a new BBC programme on the importance of flowers to the environment and bio-diversity, and to human health and wellbeing.

The Holbeck scheme has been chosen for being “one of the best examples of flowers in an inner-city landscape ever seen.” And this week local residents will be stars of the show when a camera crew descends on Holbeck to film them talking about what they think of the green corridors which are now in full bloom and teeming with wildlife.

Photo/film opportunity
The Holbeck meadows are now in full bloom. If you wish to send a photographer to take pictures of the meadows please call the council press office on tel: 0113 2243602 for further information. The BBC will visit the meadows today, Wednesday 11 August. They will be talking to local residents about the project and are also bringing a team from Birmingham City Council which wants to create a similar project in Birmingham.

Local groups including Holbeck in Bloom, Holbeck Elderly Aid, the Cupboard Youth Project and Ingram Road Primary School have all been involved in the development of the project. Further improvements for the area are currently being proposed and will be consulted on over the coming months.

The green corridor project is one piece of the jigsaw in the work to regenerate Beeston, Holbeck and Hunslet. Beeston Hill now has a new community enterprise centre and this is soon to be followed by an innovative low carbon housing development.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive member with responsibility for city development, said:

“This is a hugely successful project and we are delighted that it is now attracting national interest. It provides precious green space for children and residents to enjoy and is a wonderful way to encourage greater bio-diversity in our urban areas.

“Our aim is to regenerate the environmental degradation in this part of Leeds and ensure local residents are better connected to the city centre so they can benefit from its economic success.”


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

Olympic recognition for Leeds coaching course

Caption: The 'Inspired by London 2012' logo

A Leeds disability tennis coaching course has achieved a major honour by becoming the first of its kind in the country to be given official Olympic approval.

The disability tennis coaching course run by Leeds City Council at the Tennis Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport is the first disability tennis course in the UK to have earned the prestigious ‘Inspired by London 2012’ mark for excellence and innovation and only the second disability project in the whole of Yorkshire to be awarded the honour.

The course, run by disability sports development officer Ross Bibby every Friday during term times from 5:30-6:30pm for young people aged 11-19 with any impairment, sees those taking part play and pick up new skills from a team of Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) coaches. Specially-adapted tennis wheelchairs are available at the sessions for those wishing to play.

The ‘Inspired by London 2012’ mark is part of a national programme which recognises exceptional and innovative projects inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Sebastian Coe said:

“Disability and wheelchair tennis coaching is encouraging young disabled people to fulfil their potential. I am proud that partners such as Leeds City Council are delivering on our vision to use the power of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to boost participation in disability sport.”

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“It is fantastic that our disability tennis coaching here in Leeds has been recognised for excellence in this way. Ross and the team do a wonderful job and it is great that their efforts and those of all the staff in the tennis centre have been rewarded with this honour. Hopefully it will encourage more and more young disabled people to come along and give it a go themselves.”

Sessions are priced at £2.60 per person and for further information about the coaching contact disability sports development officer Ross Bibby on 0113 395 0159 or email

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


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

Spectacular new images of Leeds Arena revealed

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The journey to deliver the Leeds Arena takes a giant step forward today as proposals for the building’s exterior design are revealed for the first time.

A striking honeycomb design has been chosen with an ever-changing kaleidoscope of coloured lights which will come alive on an evening and change colour or pattern to reflect the mood of the arena event at the time. Perhaps purple if a certain ‘artist’ requests - or maybe pink for Pink!

Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Keith Wakefield, said:

“The design has been carefully chosen to ensure the building is an exciting addition to the Leeds night-time scene helping to draw in visitors, boost the evening economy and act as an commanding gateway to the city centre. It has also been developed to take account of the views of nearly a 1000 Leeds people who took part in the public consultation on the scheme.

“The Leeds Arena will bring over 500 construction jobs to Leeds, many of these for local people and it estimated to boost the local economy to the tune of £25.5m. It is extremely important for the regeneration of that part of the city.”

The stunning images, published today, are the first external design images of the 13,500 capacity arena to be revealed since the widespread public consultation into the development was completed last year.

The public outlined a desire for a building that was distinctive to Leeds and had environmentally friendly features, good acoustics, glazed panels and outside seating areas and this has all been carefully incorporated into the design.

Opportunities have been used to make the building energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Heating will come from air source pumps, the roof collects rainwater to be re-used in the running of the building and an area will have a green sedum roof to help enhance the environment.

The internal layout of the Leeds Arena is also unique with a ‘super theatre’ fan shape design which guarantees every seat in the house has perfect sightlines of the centre stage - 68 metres the longest distance from the stage as opposed to 90-110 metres at a conventional arena. With 4000 square metres of public space, 24 executive boxes, flexible seating lay-outs and a 100 seat restaurant, the facilities will also be top-notch.

Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member responsible for development, said:

“The internal design will give the best spectator experience of any arena in the country in terms of sightlines and acoustics. Add this with the vibrant, memorable external design, and we have a venue that is of international significance.”

John Sutherland, Managing Director and Senior Vice President of SMG Europe who are the operators for the arena, said:

“This is not another 'me-too' arena which you can find in many cities. The concept and innovative design will make Leeds one of the most exciting and innovative performance spaces in Europe. I am confident that under SMG's management, the Leeds Arena will be one of the top 10 places to play in the world, attracting top class artists and up to a million visitors each year.

“The race is now on to secure the naming rights for what will be one of the UK’s ‘must play’ venues. This brilliant design allows the colours on the building not only to reflect the event but also the naming rights to the building and their brand partner. All of which will make the venue very commercially attractive. “

Jan Anderson, Executive Director of Environment for Yorkshire Forward said:

“These designs show the state of the art development that will be Leeds Arena. Leeds City Council identified the development of an arena in the city as a key investment priority many years ago and it has remained one of their highest priorities for delivery. We are pleased that we have been able to help bring the project to fruition.

“This is an opportunity for Yorkshire and Humber to significantly enhance its visitor offer and to increase visitor numbers. In turn, the region will benefit from increased spend in areas such as retail and restaurant visits, hotel stays and extended weekend breaks. The addition of the Leeds Arena to the region’s other fantastic venues will help to grow our profile as a location for major cultural and sporting events.”

A specially commissioned 3-minute animation of the Leeds Arena design, with a soundtrack provided by local Leeds band, Escort Knights, is available at the Leeds City Council website, where people can learn more about the design. It will be shown on Millennium Square screen and a public exhibition stand on the new design will also tour the city centre in September.

To download this video, right click on this link and select 'save as'.

For more information, please go the Leeds Arena page on Leeds City Council's website.

Notes to Editors:

1. The exterior design proposals for the Leeds Arena uses what is a complex mathematical algorithm – a voronoi diagram – to create cellular shapes that are visible on key approaches to the arena. The Leeds Arena will be the only arena in Europe to be designed this way.

2. The Leeds Arena will be located within the city centre at Clay Pit lane. Work to build it is scheduled to start later this year and due to complete in late 2012.

3. The Leeds Arena project team has some of the most experienced experts in arena design and operation: the operator, SMG Europe is the largest operator of sports and entertainment venues in Europe. The parent group SMG is the largest operator of arenas in the world.

4. Initial designs were delivered by a multi-disciplinary team led by Jacobs including Arena specialists Populous. The detailed external design has been completed by Populous who have a track record of delivering high profile and complex development, the Arsenal Emirates stadium, the O2 arenas in London, Dublin and Berlin, and Wimbledon Centre Court roof.

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