Friday, 10 September 2010

Swan Hotel handed £11,000 bill over “appalling” kitchen conditions

A court has handed a restaurant in Aberford a £11,000 bill over “appalling” conditions in its kitchens.

The company behind the Swan Hotel and its owner Grant Whyte, pleaded guilty at Leeds Magistrates Court on Tuesday to environmental health breaches at the pub and restaurant on Main Street North, Aberford.

The food business operator, Swan Hotel (Aberford) Ltd, was fined £4,800 over four charges and ordered to pay £1,000 costs per charge along with a £15 victim surcharge. Mr Whyte, as a director of the company, was fined £1,200 with £1,000 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

The prosecution by Leeds City Council came after conditions at the premises were found to be unsatisfactory and issues identified during previous inspections had been allowed to re-occur.

Council officials found that standards of cleanliness and maintenance in the kitchen and storage areas were poor, equipment was not kept clean or in good order or repair, and food not protected from contamination.

The charge against Mr Whyte was made under regulations which mean that if a food hygiene offence is committed by a firm with the consent, connivance or neglect of any director, manager or secretary, they are also deemed to be guilty of that offence.

In mitigation Mr Whyte said £6,500 had been spent repairing the floor in the kitchen which had subsequently fallen apart, but the company which fitted the floor subsequently went into administration. He accepted that cleaning at the premises was “appalling” and said he took responsibility, mentioning that more than £17,000 is spent on repairs and maintenance annually.

He apologised to the court and said that cleaning at the premises now is far superior to that previously found.

Councillor Tom Murray, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental health and action services, said:
“Lots of people enjoy visiting a pub or restaurant in our city, and quite rightly they expect the highest standards of cleanliness from those preparing the food.

“In this case, it’s clear there was a significant problem at this pub and the size of the fine handed down to the owners reflects that.

“The majority of restaurant and pub owners have high standards and look after their customers well, but we will always take action where we find unacceptable conditions.”


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

What if Leeds …? Talk today. Shape tomorrow

Picture caption: "Andrew Fawcett from Minster Falconry with Rolo the 4 year old eagle owl and Holy Rosary and St. Anne's pupils, Megan Molloy, 9, and Samantha Silcott, 8 - two of the pupils who helped Leeds Initative put together the What if Leeds...? consultation document."

What if Leeds has the best quality of life in the UK by 2030? What if Leeds becomes the UK’s most family-friendly city?

These and other questions are being asked by the city’s partnership organisation, the Leeds Initiative, as it launches a massive public consultation exercise today, 13 September to find out what kind of city people want to make Leeds by 2030.

‘What if Leeds …? Talk today. Shape tomorrow’ aims to find out the views of people who live and work in Leeds on how the city Leeds should develop over the next 20 years.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, chair of the Leeds Initiative and leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“We are living in challenging times. The global recession has had a real impact on the Leeds’ economy and led to a significant fall in the public money available. A changing climate is increasingly affecting our daily lives and we are continuing to use up the planet’s natural resources at an alarming speed. And, like other major cities, our population is forecast to grow. These are just some of the reasons we need to think ahead and plan for future success.”

Chief executive of Leeds City Council, Tom Riordan, added:
“We are in a time of economic uncertainty, but this means there is an even greater need to plan for the future to make sure the city can stay resilient, stay ahead and offer a great quality of life for all. Leeds is a great city, and we want to talk to the people of Leeds to find out how we can make it the best city in the UK.”

The campaign is launching in the local media and has its own website:, which invites people to get involved in a debate about the kind of city they want Leeds to be and their ideas for how we can make it happen. People can also make comments and join in the debate through social media, including Facebook and Twitter.

Printed consultation documents are also being made available across the city in public buildings, including libraries, community centres and one stop centres. And community groups, organisations and workplaces are holding their own ‘what if Leeds…’ conversations across the city.

The consultation will run until the end of December. From that, a new plan will emerge, setting the direction for Leeds by 2030.

Councillor Wakefield added: “We will be listening carefully to what the people of Leeds think are the most important priorities to make sure the city remains successful into the future not just for ourselves but for future generations.”


For further information contact:
(0113) 247 8944

Leeds councillor cautiously welcomes Connaught take over

The councillor responsible for housing in Leeds has welcomed news of a deal which should secure the future of maintenance services in the city.

Councillor Peter Gruen described it as ‘encouraging’.

The construction firm Morgan Sindall this morning (Friday 10 September) announced it had completed a £28 million deal to acquire the majority of ongoing contracts from Connaught’s social housing division and transfer 2,500 staff to its business.

Connaught Partnerships, which has its headquarters in Leeds, went into administration on Wednesday.

Morgan Sindall says the deal would allow "essential maintenance services to continue without interruption".

Cllr Gruen, executive board member with responsibility for housing said:

“This morning’s news is encouraging.

“We’ve yet to see the detail of the agreement, but it seems a large number of jobs have been saved and that is to be welcomed.

“What we now need is commitment from Morgan Sindall for it to continue to employ local workers and for it to operate from existing depots used previously by Connaught.

“We have been working for several months to develop contingency plans, ever since it became clear that Connaught was having financial difficulties.

“Judging by comments made by Morgan Sindall this morning, I’m confident that there will be no break in maintenance services.

“I’d like to reassure our residents that we’ll keep disruption to a minimum and they needn’t worry that work will not go ahead.”

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

Sign of the times for Chapeltown gives visitors a warm welcome

Visitors to a part of Leeds are to be welcomed in a way only this unique and vibrant neighbourhood knows how – with a new sign, a song and a celebration.

A new welcome sign for Chapeltown, which has been designed by the community, is to be unveiled on Monday.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jim McKenna, will unveil the new “C for Chapeltown” sign and thank all the local groups who have helped produce it. Local children from Hillcrest Primary School will accompany the Lord Mayor and sing a short song about ‘the value of being a good neighbour and the strength of community spirit’.

**************** MEDIA OPPORTUNITY ****************

What: The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Jim McKenna, will unveil a new welcome sign for Chapeltown and thank all the local groups who have helped produce it.
When: 12.30pm on Monday 13 September
Where: On out-bound carriageway from Leeds city centre, just before 101 Chapeltown Road. Parking is available in nearby Leeds Media Centre’s car-park.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for neighbourhoods and housing, said:
“Anyone who has driven down Chapeltown Road recently will have noticed the investment being made to build on its strong history and vibrant community, and the council is investing in Chapeltown to support its renaissance.
“This is a great example of a resident-led project that enables people to work together to show how much they love their community as well as inviting others to share in its future development.”

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, chair of Inner North East Area Committee, says:
“I hope that this welcome sign helps spread the word that Chapeltown is a cool, creative, cosmopolitan place to live and visit.
“Abdul’s inspiring words and the work put in by the community have resulted in this unique welcome to Chapeltown.”

To celebrate the vibrancy and opportunity within Chapeltown, local resident and artist Alan Pergusey worked with the community to design and create a piece of public art to mark the entrance to Chapeltown.

The community was involved in the design process from beginning to end – three artists did a ‘dragons den’ style pitch to a public meeting and the winner selected by public vote. The winner then worked with local groups, school children and residents to come up with three designs. In January, Chapeltown residents were invited to vote for their favourite design at Union 105, a new art space on Chapeltown Road, where an exhibition was held. More than 226 votes were cast and just over half chose the winning design.

Drawings from local school children inspired the winning design, and community groups helped with the mosaic. A poem that appears on it was written by 13-year-old Abdul Kanyi from the Leeds Young Authors group.

The project work with the community and the cost of the materials has been paid for by a mixture of an external grant, council money and the local budget of Inner North East Area Committee.

Recently, Leeds City Council has secured nearly £1m from the Heritage Lottery Fund to improve historic buildings in Chapeltown, improvements are being made to the road and pathways, Unity Housing is building new apartments to rent and the new £12m Reginald Centre is due to open in October.

As well as providing new services and opportunities for the local community, the investment will boost the local economy and enhance Chapeltown’s claim to be one of the up-and-coming areas of the city.

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