Monday, 20 September 2010

Tenant who terrorised neighbours now barred from home and area

A man who was evicted from his council house after his behaviour terrorised neighbours could now be arrested if he tries to return to the area.

Alex Adams was evicted from 7 Moor Grange Court, Leeds, on 7 September after Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police and West North West Homes Leeds secured a closure order following months of abusive and anti-social behaviour by Adams.

Now, the council has been granted an injunction by Leeds County Court which prohibits the 19-year-old from returning to both his former home and the surrounding area. He faces arrest if caught.

Complaints of anti-social behaviour at Adams’ flat were received by West North West Homes, which manages the property on behalf of Leeds City Council, from June 2009. They included complaints about shouting, screaming, and abusive language, frequent parties being held, homophobic abuse directed at other residents, rubbish being thrown from the balcony, and damage to communal areas.

He was formally evicted and is understood to now have left the area. However, the injunction means the council can repair and re-let the property to someone on the housing waiting list.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for community safety and chair of Safer Leeds, said:
“Anti-social behaviour can destroy a person’s well-being, so we are determined to tackle it wherever we can.
“This situation was totally unacceptable and underlines that we will take action, not just to try and get offenders to change their behaviour, but also to evict them if that behaviour does not change.”

Inspector Simon Jessup, who heads the North West Inner Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:
“These latest measures, on top of the previously granted closure order, should give residents real peace of mind.
“It again demonstrates how the police and the council will use all available legislation to tackle troublemakers whose behaviour blights the lives of others.”

ENDS
For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937
e-mail: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Young people acting up on the roads

Young people will be singing from a different hymn sheet after seeing the ‘Now That’s What I Call Worst Hits’ road safety show.

As part of a project funded by the West Yorkshire Safer Roads Group and the Highways Agency, a range of high schools across the West Yorkshire region have been selected to host the Theatre in Education project, which is performed by the Theatre<D group.

The play covers the topic of driver and passenger safety, risk taking and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The play illustrates the tragedy on our roads where 16 - 19 year olds are more likely to be killed or seriously injured on England's motorways and major A roads than any other age group.

******************** Media opportunity ********************

All media are invited to a production of ‘Now That’s What I Call Worst Hits’ at Allerton Grange High School on Tuesday 21 September at 1:50pm.
The play will be performed to an eager audience of 180 year 11 students. There cast will be available for comment after the show. To arrange attendance please contact the press office on 0113 247 4450.
******************** Media opportunity ********************

Councilor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for development and regeneration said:
“There is a wealth of research and casualty data showing that young drivers - particularly young male drivers - are at a much higher risk of crashing than older drivers and are therefore at risk of losing their lives or being seriously injured on our roads, frequently killing or injuring their young passengers or other road users too. Here in Leeds, we are committed to raising awareness of these issues among young people before they get behind the wheel, thus helping to prevent these needless tragedies.”

Becky Prosser, road safety manager for Leeds City Council said:
“Often these casualties are as a result of inexperience, peer pressure, intoxication or simply poor judgment from young newly qualified drivers and their passengers. We have to press home the message that good driving is about getting from ‘a to b’ safely, not about speed or impressing your friends.

“Theatre in Education is one of the best tools for getting a message across, forcefully, in an entertaining manner in a short period of time.”

Notes to editors:
Ten schools in the Leeds district have been selected to receive the performances. Those selected are: Temple Moor High School, Allerton High School, Garforth Community College, Primrose High School, Priesthorpe High School, Lawnswood High School, Corpus Christi Catholic College, Leeds West Academy, Brigshaw High School and David Young Community College.


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For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

Qualify your view on taxi and private hire in the city

People in Leeds are being consulted on their views on whether or not taxi and private hire drivers should need a qualification to gain a licence in Leeds.

A widespread consultation programme is underway, and Leeds City Council is asking for peoples views on the current need for taxi and private hire drivers to gain an NVQ and VRQ level or equivalent qualification appropriate to the trade before December 2011.

In September 2008 the Leeds Licensing and Regulatory Panel made a decision that required all taxi and private hire drivers, new applicants and existing licence holders to achieve a VRQ and NVQ level of attainment appropriate to the trade.

At the moment new applications for licences are required to attain the qualifications within 12 months of the licence being granted, with existing licence holders were given until the end of December 2011 to attain the qualifications.

John Mulcahy, head of licensing and registration for Leeds City Council said:
“It is important that we gauge the views of the people in our city as well as that of the trade.

“I would encourage people to come forward and voice their views, positive or negative, for this consultation.”

Figures for September 2010 indicate that 60% of licence holders have enrolled on the NVQ programme, with 43% achieving the qualification.

Up until recently there has been several grants and funding available for the training course which costs around £500. The government Train to Gain funding has now ceased, and therefore there may come a time where drivers will have to pay this fee themselves, but in the mean time the licensing team is trying to find grants from elsewhere.

If you have any comments that you would like to make you can submit them via
• Talking Point – Leeds City Councils online consultation tool
• Email – taxiprivatehire.licensing@leeds.gov.uk
• Post – 225 York Road, Leeds, LS9 7RY
• In person – 225 York Road, Leeds, LS9 7RY

All responses will be collated and included in the report that will be put before the Licensing Committee in November 2010, but all responses must have been received at the Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Section no later than Friday 29 October 2010.

For more information visit: www.leeds.gov.uk/taxiconsultation

Notes to editors:


Further information surrounding the content of the qualifications can be found on the Taxi and Private Hire webpage, www.leeds.gov.uk/taxis


Ends

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds flexes its muscle





Picture caption: (top) Jayne Tingle (centre),winner of 2009 women's bodyfitness class (above) Pat Warner (centre) who went on to become UK champion.

Leeds will be doing its best impression of Muscle Beach when it hosts the Yorkshire and North-East Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships.

The event at Leeds Town Hall – now in its fourth year – on Saturday 26 September attracts hundreds of spectators every year.

And world’s Strongest Man finalist Mark Felix is expected to be there to meet fans while former British champion bodybuilder Kerry Kayes will be emceeing the event.

Leeds City Council town hall manager Stephen Hunter said:

“This unique event is a great opportunity for contestants to showcases their incredible efforts and is also a chance for anyone interested in weight training and fitness to come along, enjoy the show and be inspired.”

Many of Britain’s best bodybuilders and fitness competitors will be flexing for a place at the UKBFF UK Championships two weeks later in Nottingham.

Besides the usual weight classes for men and women, there will be classes for over-40s, over-50s, under-21s, fitness and intermediates.

Also there will be a bodyfitness division for women who like to train for an athletic rather than overly-muscular look.

Event organiser John Plummer said:

“Most of the competitors are regular men and women with jobs who have taken up the challenge of getting in the best shape of their lives.”

Tickets for the event cost £17.50 (£7.50 for under 12s) and cover both the prejudging and the evening show. For more information contact John Plummer on 07919 285085 or to book tickets call 01423 877057.

Notes to editors:

• High resolution images are available on request
• The afternoon pre-judging starts at 1pm and the evening show is at 6pm until 9pm.
• There will be experts on-hand to give advice on training and diet.

-ENDS-

For media enquiries please contact:
Daniel Johnson,
leisure communications officer
tel: 0113 247 8285
email: Daniel.johnson1@leeds.gov.uk

Positive news for Leeds dementia support project

A project in Leeds has been chosen as a case study site by the National Dementia Strategy, which means it will be used in the evaluation of a nationwide project.

The Leeds project is a collaboration between adult social care, NHS Leeds and the Alzheimer’s Society. Its aim is to develop a range of peer support networks for people with dementia in the city. Funded by a Department of Health grant, it gives us the opportunity to test models of structured peer support, where people with dementia offer practical and emotional support to people in a similar situation.

A project worker from adult social care has been seconded to work with health and social care partners until March 2011, to establish and develop these networks and make sure that effective peer support is embedded within existing services. Volunteers will also be recruited to assist in all aspects of the project.

People who are newly diagnosed and/or in the early stages of dementia will benefit the most from the peer support networks. They will be better informed about dementia, have the support of people in similar situations to themselves, feel better placed to make decisions about their present and future circumstances, and feel more engaged with the right services as well as their local communities.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member with responsibility for adult social care said:
"Only eight out of 40 sites nationally have been chosen to be a case study site, so this is great news for the work we're doing here in Leeds.

“People with dementia can often feel vulnerable; and the same can be said for their carers. Having a support network in place, particularly when run by people with dementia themselves, will help people feel more able to cope with their condition and feel reassured about some of the changes that they are going through.

“Peer support is what people with dementia have told the National Dementia Strategy would be of benefit to them, so we are delighted that our project will be held up as a good example nationally.”

Additional information
For more information about the peer support project please contact Deborah Marshall, adult social care on 07981 271980 or email deborah.marshall@leeds.gov.uk

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For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

Stark message driven home that distractions can devastate lives

Members of the public will be given the opportunity to see just how distracting talking on your mobile phone whilst driving can be in a series of practical activities this week.

As part of the West Yorkshire wide ‘Distractions Devastate’ campaign, Leeds City Council staff and the Emergency Services will demonstrate how a moment’s distraction behind the wheel can result in a road traffic collision.

Members of the public will be given the opportunity to get into the driving seat of a stationary vehicle which has been hooked up to an electronic reaction tester. The volunteers will be challenged to do two things at once and then shown how adversely this can affect reaction times.


******************** Media opportunity ********************

All media are invited to attend the distractions devastate demonstrations at The Owlcotes Shopping Centre in Pudsey on Wednesday 22 September at 12 noon. Representatives from Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, the police and ambulance service will be available for comment. Please call the press office on 0113 247 4450 to confirm attendance.

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In addition, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will stage an ‘extrication exercise’ where they remove an injured passenger from a vehicle which may have occurred after a moment’s distraction has caused a serious road traffic collision.

Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for development and regeneration said:
"Driving requires our full concentration. It is often easy to forget just how complex a task it is, especially for those of us who have been driving for many years. Every day however, the emergency services deal with the devastating consequences when things have gone wrong. It is difficult to anticipate when a child might step out into the road, or the vehicle in front will make an unexpected manoeuvre and that is why the road really does require our full attention.”


Becky Prosser, road safety manager for Leeds City Council said:


"The evidence shows that using a mobile phone while driving, makes you four times more likely to crash and, as we can demonstrate through practical exercises with the public, the reaction times of drivers using hand-held mobile phones are much slower than when they were concentrating fully on the task in hand.

“We want to encourage drivers to give themselves more time to concentrate and pay attention whilst driving and raise awareness of the issues that we sometimes forget about. We would advise drivers to always take regular breaks when driving, and to never use a mobile phone or pager device in the car.”

West Yorkshire Police and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service will also be in attendance to give advice and reassurance to members of the public about their role at the scene of a collision.

Also on the day, representatives from the Mobility Service, (The Disabled Living Living Centre, St Mary’s Hospital, Armley) will be on hand to give advice to older drivers about how they may able ‘re-skill’ in order to continue driving safely.


Notes to editors:


The law states that it is a offence to perform any of the following activities while driving:
• speak or listen to a phone call on a hand-held mobile phone;
• send or receive text messages or images on a mobile phone;
• use a hand-held mobile phone to access any data, including the
internet.

A hand-held mobile phone is defined as something that: “is or must be held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call or performing any other interactive communication function.”

For drivers caught using a hand held mobile phone whilst driving, the penalty is £60 and 3 penalty points. If the case goes to court, it's a maximum fine of £1,000 (£2,500 if driving a bus, coach or heavy goods vehicle), discretionary disqualification and 3 points. Points on your licence can also mean higher insurance costs.


Ends

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

Bramley gets a spruce up with a little bit of history


Caption: A picture of the old cobbled road on Bramley Town Street that features on the new history panel.

Leeds City Council have completed a project which has breathed new life into parts of Bramley, and allowed it to reminisce about it’s history.

The area around the bus stand on Town Street has been cultivated, and old shrubs removed to create a beautiful new lawned area and flowerbed. There have also been two benches put in place to allow passers by to stop and rest by the newly refurbished area.

Leeds City Council inner west area committee has put just under £9,000 into the Bramley Improvement Project and they have been working closely with the Bramley History Society to supply and install a history panel as well in the new cultivated area, for locals and others alike to find out more about the area.


******************** Media opportunity ********************


All media are invited to the official opening of the newly cultivated area on Wednesday 22 September at 12pm on Town Street, Bramley. Councillor Janet Harper, chair of the inner west area committee will be on hand to talk about the project and officially open it. To arrange attendance, please call the press office on 0113 247 4450.

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Councillor Janet Harper, chair of the Leeds City Council inner west area committee said:
“The Bramley Improvement Project has made such a difference to Town Street, and I am very proud of all the hard work that has been put into the project.

“I would like to thank the Bramley history society for all their help in putting together the history panel, and I look forward to seeing locals and visitors alike enjoying the new area, and learning a little bit more about Bramley.”

Notes to editors:

In February this year the inner west area committee approved £8,730.60 for Bramley Improvement Project, at the bus stand on Town Street Bramley.

The work was commissioned to Leeds City Council’s parks & countryside by the inner west area management.

For more information about the Bramley History Society visit http://www.bramleyhistory.co.uk/index.htm

Ends

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk