Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Light up your life!

Caption: This sculpture 'Camp Angelic Shadow' by Edward Mortimer will be on display in Holy Trinity Church Leeds on Light Night

Venues across Leeds will be playing host to a range of weird and wonderful events this Friday as the annual Light Night festival takes place.

On Friday 8th October, for one night only over 40 venues including theatres, galleries, shopping arcades, museums and city streets will host a series of public performances, light shows and displays for free to portray the city in a whole new light.

Over 100 performances and activities will be taking place for people of all ages to enjoy, with most happening between 5pm and 11pm as the city takes in one of the most unique events of the year in Leeds.

Co-ordinated by Leeds City Council’s Arts and Regeneration Unit, Light Night is now in its sixth year and continues to get bigger and better. The festival sees local artists and community groups show off their talents along with major arts organisations such as the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Northern Ballet Theatre and The Carriageworks theatre.

Among the range of events on offer this year include artists Chloe Bezer, Matt Tullett and Jess Swainson creating a ‘Journey of Songs’ in the underground car park below Leeds Met’s Rose Bowl using music and light, cello, loop station, stop motion animation and projection.

Another highlight promises to be a production from West Yorkshire Playhouse entitled ‘This City’ which will see the Victoria Quarter transformed into a new and very different society while medieval music will be played by Leeds Waits.

Other things to look out for on the night will be urban butterflies, 100 cardboard gramophones, a giant stork, woolly electric guitars, moving mazes, tiny lighthouses and giant projections.

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

“This year’s Light Night is going to be the biggest and best yet so it would be great to have lots of people of all ages going along and seeing what is on show.

“There really is nothing else like it throughout the whole year in Leeds so if you are interested in seeing the city centre in a whole different way this is the perfect chance.”

The full listing of Light Night events is available at www.lightnightleeds.co.uk, or in printed programmes at participating venues such as the Town Hall and the Art Gallery. The event can also be followed on Twitter at Twitter@LightNightLeeds

Notes to editors:

Leeds was the first UK city to host its own Light Night, following on from the success of similar events held in Paris and Amsterdam in encouraging local residents and visitors to see their city and famous buildings from a very different perspective.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

Red carpet treatment for winners of Leeds’ own ‘gardening Oscars’

Caption: Best in show - (from left) Lady Majoress Councillor Andrea McKenna, Ian Upton, Sharon Tyler and Diane Tavernier from Lovell and Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Jim McKenna.

Caption: pupils from Schools Garden Competition 2010 Winner, Collingham Lady Elizabeth Hastings' Church of England Primary School

How does your garden grow in east and north east Leeds? Very well it seems, if the area’s ‘Oscars of community gardening’ are anything to go by.

The winners of the annual East North East Homes Leeds Best Kept Gardens competition have been lauded at a specially awards ceremony.

Local gardeners flocked to the ceremony, held at the Ramada Jarvis Hotel in Seacroft, to hear the results of the popular competition which attracted around 80 entries this year.

Sponsored by East North East Homes Leeds (ENEHL) and developers Lovell, the competition was not just for experienced gardeners – people new to gardening were very much encouraged to enter.

The awards were presented by chief executive of East North East Homes Leeds Steve Hunt and the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jim McKenna.

The overall Best School Garden award was won by Collingham Primary School. The overall Best in Show Garden prize was presented to Mr Ian Upton by the Lord Mayor, along with Lovell regional training advisor Sharon Tyer and Dianne Tavernier.

Categories this year included Bronze, Silver and Gold Gardens, Best School with overall ‘Best in Show’ prizes on offer for the Best Garden and Best School Garden awards.

The judges’ comments included: “It is a pleasure to see how the gardens have matured. Planting and health of plants is superb, and it has taken real vision to create these gardens from waste ground. They are gardens to be really proud of.”

Angelena Fixter, chair of the East North East Homes Leeds board, said:
“This year sees a bumper crop of entries into the garden competition. Every entrant can be rightly proud of their efforts to promote their skills and demonstrate that ENEHL’s gardeners are a cut above the rest.
“When the competition started, little did we realise just what wealth of talent would emerge.
“From its humble beginnings with about 30 entries, this competition has grown with more than 80 gardeners taking part. It is tribute to all those unsung heroes which make ENEHL what it is – one of the best floral areas in Leeds.
“Well done to everyone!”

Sharon Tyer, Lovell regional training advisor and one of the judges of the competition, said:
“This is the third year in a row that we have been involved in ENEHL’s Best Kept Gardens competition and the standard of the entries this year is again excellent.
“We’ve visited a lot of fantastic gardens and it really has been tough to choose the overall winners. All of the residents that took part clearly put in a tremendous amount of time and effort.”

ENEHL thanks all its partners for their continued sponsorship of the competition and to the Flower Factor for their excellent flower displays.

Notes to editors
List of winners:
Best in Show Garden -
Mr Ian Upton
Best School Garden - Collingham Lady Elizabeth Hastings' Church of England Primary School

Platinum Winners - Ms W Davey, Mr T Green, Mr J Stang, Mr and Mrs K Wilson, P Thompson

Gold Awards - Mrs A Brookes, Mr E . Dodsworth, Ms M Angrave, Mrs Mawson, Mrs Hodgkinson, Mr I Upton, Mr and Mrs Reynolds, P Wilkinson, Mr Grierson, Mr J Leite, Ms Wilson, Julia Rose Lewis, Ms S Clipstone, Mrs S Reynolds, Ms J Uttley, Mrs B Huggan, Mr D Hall, Mr S Scott, Mr I Harvey, Mrs Buttery
Gold School - Allerton Primary School

Silver Awards - Mr T Searle, Mr M Walker, Mr B Pollard, Mr P Golton, Mrs H Jasper, MR Wilson, Ms Cliffe, Miss J Hourigan, Mr Greaves, L Hiney/Haynes, Mr E Downes, Ms K Hall, Redmire Court Gardens, TW Roberts, Mrs J Chafer
Silver School Gardens - Bardsey Primary School

Bronze Awards - Mr J Latham, Mrs M Wragg, Mrs E Nelson, Ms Z Hodgson, Ms J Brookes, L Thomas, Ms S Beswick, Ms S Harrison, Ms C Scott
Bronze School Awards - 1st Cross Gates Brownies, Cross Gates Primary

East North East Homes Leeds is one of three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO) which manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council. It is wholly owned by the council, which retains ownership of housing stock and sets rents. East North East Homes Leeds manages 19,000 council-owned residential properties in Boston Spa, Burmantofts, Chapel Allerton, Chapeltown, Collingham, Gipton, Halton Moor, Harehills, Linton, Meanwood, Moor Allerton, Moortown, Seacroft, and Wetherby.

Caption: Ian Upton's Garden in Gipton

Caption: the winning entry from Collingham Lady Elizabeth Hastings' Church of England Primary School

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

Leeds Arena employment and training opportunities revealed

Details of the employment and training opportunities being offered as part of the Leeds Arena scheme have been revealed today.

The Leeds Arena Local Impact Programme, launched by Leeds City Council and the preferred construction contractor, BAM, outlines the work and training opportunities available with the £55million construction scheme and invites local construction firms to register their interest in working on the project.

As part of the programme, BAM has committed to delivering a range of employment, training and educational targets. These include mentoring sub-contractors to help small and medium sized companies who may not usually bid for such work, become “fit to compete” when bidding for work with major contractors.

The Leeds Arena Local Impact Programme will:
• create around 100 opportunities for progression into employment with the aim of securing roles for those living near to the site;
• safeguard 110 local construction jobs;
• provide 48 people weeks of work experience for 16-17 year olds and 96 people weeks of work experience for 18 plus years old;
• create around 60 new apprenticeships and a priority will be to help those apprentices who were displaced owing to the economic downturn so they can complete their training.

There will also be school visits and college workshops, university research projects and Higher Level Skills training and NVQ training courses. It is intended that hoardings around the construction site will be used for community art work.

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

“The Local Impact Programme is part of our commitment to ensuring local people and construction firms benefit from the social and economic benefits of the arena during and after construction.

“We know that the Arena will boost the city’s economy by £25.5m a year but we also want to ensure it creates real opportunities for those people who live in the areas surrounding it and for the city’s local construction industry.

“It will improve job opportunities for hard-to-reach groups and generate interest through educational resources linked to the school and college curriculum. We are calling on anyone who is interested in working on the scheme or taking advantage of the training and educational opportunities to register their interest.”

John Phillips, Construction Director, BAM, said:

”As a company with a longstanding presence in the north east, with many of our people working and living in the Leeds area, we want to achieve two things: to build an arena of outstanding quality on time and on budget and to work with the council and Construction Leeds to help to create as much local benefit as possible while doing so.”

Rob Wolfe, project manager, Construction Leeds, said:

“This is a real leap forward in the ongoing work to turn construction activity into opportunities for local people. We will be working very closely with Leeds City Council, BAM and Leeds people, whether they are in a construction business or a local resident wanting to get a job, to make sure these opportunities become a reality.”

People can register their interest in working on the Leeds Arena by contacting Construction Leeds at admin@construction-leeds.org.uk providing details on opportunities they may be interested in or any areas they would like future updates on.

Notes to editors:

1. Construction Leeds are a partnership organisation linking the public and private sectors and working to ensure building projects in Leeds benefit local communities.
2. The Leeds Arena will open late 2012. The venue will be a unique ‘super theatre’ fan shape design which guarantees every seat in the house perfect sightlines of the centre stage - 68 metres the longest distance from the stage as opposed to 90-110 metres at a conventional arena.
3. BAM is part of Royal BAM Group. Royal BAM has a strong pedigree in large prestige buildings and is a key contractor behind two of this year’s stadiums in the FIFA World Cup – including Soccer City, home to the FIFA World Cup Final. They are also currently leading on a £9.2m refurbishment of the Leeds City Varieties theatre and previously constructed the award-winning Leeds Metropolitan University building, the Rose Bowl.


For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office tel: (0113) 224 3602
Email sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk

Multi-million refurbishment plan for city centre car-park

Leading councillors will be asked next week to agree plans to repair and improve an ageing city centre car park which will also serve events at the Leeds Arena.

Officers from Leeds City Council will present plans to refurbish Woodhouse Lane multi-storey car-park at a meeting of the council’s executive board on Wednesday, 13 October.

Built in 1968, Woodhouse Lane multi-storey car park caters for thousands of city centre shoppers, workers and students daily.

It now needs essential repair and refurbishment work to increase the life of the building and to ensure it has the capacity to act as one of the two key Leeds Arena car parks once the venue opens in early 2013. The other main Arena car park is at the Merrion Centre.

To bring it up to the required standards, essential concrete repair and strengthening work will be undertaken and a new stair and lift tower and pedestrian access bridge will be built. Improved lighting and CCTV surveillance will be installed and better access created for traffic going in and out of the car park due to the existing pay on foot system being changed to a pay and display operating system.

The cost of the work will be funded by the budget for the Leeds Arena and is estimated at around £5.8m.

As the work will only focus on different sections at different times, during the work most of the building - 75% of the 1,287 spaces - will remain open for parking.

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

“This is essential work which will not only extend the life of the building but will also ensure it can accommodate the increased traffic expected at Arena events. We estimate that when the Arena opens there will be more than 3,000 car parking spaces located within a few minutes of the site, and the Woodhouse Lane car park will be one of the key city centre car-parks serving the Arena.

“The work will also boost the construction sector as being part of the Leeds Arena project, we have made sure that training and employment opportunities are secured for local residents.

“During the refurbishment work, there will unfortunately be some disruption to users of the car-park but we estimate that this can be managed within the daily usage of the building. We will also ensure that regular users of the car park are fully informed in advance of any planned work.”

If the proposals are approved by the council’s executive board next week, work is expected to start on Woodhouse Lane multi-storey car park in April 2011 and continue for 15 months.

The Design and Cost Report, Proposed Works at Woodhouse Lane Multi-Storey Car Park will be presented to members of Leeds City Council’s executive board at a meeting on Wednesday 13 October at the Leeds Civic Hall at 1pm.

Copies of the agenda and reports pack are available by calling the council press office on the number below.
For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office tel: (0113) 224 3602
Email sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk

Strong showing for Leeds in survey of Europe’s best locations for business

Leeds has achieved it best ranking to date in the European Cities Monitor, the influential index of business competitiveness published by global commercial property consultants Cushman and Wakefield.

The annual survey is launched this week at Expo Real, one of Europe's main exhibitions and conferences for the commercial property industry. It shows Leeds has moved up the rankings of 'best European cities to locate a business' for a third year running.

Yorkshire's regional capital has improved its overall ranking in the list of Europe’s leading cities from 24th place in 2009 to 23rd place, ahead of Edinburgh and Glasgow and European capital cities such as Copenhagen, Rome, Moscow and Athens.

Leeds has also improved its ranking in terms of ‘quality of telecommunications’ and ‘external transport links’, two of the key factors when companies are deciding where to locate a business.. Importantly, the city's office market has retained its position as number one in Europe for value for money, again for the third year in succession.

The European Cities Monitor is based on interviews with senior executives from 500 of Europe's biggest companies and looks at the range of factors considered by companies when deciding where to locate their business operations. Key factors are cost and availability of qualified staff, access to markets, external transport links and and quality of telecommunications.

The 2010 shows that Leeds punches above its weight against all of these factors, ranking 10th for cost of staff, 16th for access to markets, 17th for availability of qualified staff, 18th for external transport links and 20th for quality of telecommunications.

Cllr Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:

"The results are a welcome indicator of the progress that Leeds is making and the work that's still to be done if we are to achieve our aim of putting Leeds firmly on the map as one of Europe's leading business locations. The survey shows that Leeds offers combination of strengths that make it a first class business location

"With Trinity Leeds, the £350 million retail and leisure development by Land Securities, now back on site and preparatory work underway on the new Leeds Arena, there is a real sense of momentum developing and we expect Leeds to continue to make progress up the rankings. The arena will play a key role in raising the city's profile nationally and internationally."

Gary Williamson, chief executive of Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said:

“Leeds is one of the UK’s leading business locations and the main driver for the regional economy but what this survey shows is that, despite one of the most serious recessions in living memory, the Leeds economy has the strength and resilience to consolidate and improve its competitive position within Europe.

Deborah Green, Chief Executive of Marketing Leeds said:

“These results are not just great news for the city but are also fitting recognition of the contribution made by so many individuals and organisations across the broad spectrum of business to make Leeds the vibrant place that it is. It is especially pleasing that the Leeds office market remains number one in Europe for value for money, making it particularly attractive in the current economic climate. “

Notes to editors:

The European Cities Monitor 2010 is an annual survey carried out by global real estate consultants Cushman & Wakefield. This year’s survey involved 500 companies selected from Europe’s largest companies. A representative sample of industrial, consumer, retail, distribution and professional services companies were included. Interviewees were senior managers or board directors with responsibility for location. All interviews were conducted in May/June 2010.

For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office tel: (0113) 224 3602
Email sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk

More homes for local people - proposals could change council house lettings

Local people will have a better chance of getting a council home, under new proposals by Leeds City Council, while people who try to jump the queue could be penalised.

Following a city-wide consultation which attracted more than 2,000 responses, a major shift in the way council housing in Leeds is let is being put forward for consideration by council leaders on 13 October, which could see up to 25% of council homes let to those who have been on the waiting list the longest and have a connection to the area.

The council is also proposing to give greater preference for overcrowded households with dependent children and penalise people who deliberately worsen their circumstances so that they can get a council home.

The housing needs ‘bands’ would also be changed to an ‘ABC’ system, making it easier for people to understand.

And as well as introducing a system where victims of hate crime or who have safeguarding needs could receive a direct let, the assessment of parents who need access to their kids would change.

Currently, the council has to offer homes to those most in housing need, but this can mean those on the waiting list who don’t have a high housing need have real difficulty in getting a home.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for housing, said:
“This is one of the biggest changes to the way we let council houses for decades, so it has been vital that we get people’s views about it.
“It has been heartening to see so many people respond to our ideas, and to be so supportive of them.
“The changes would help local people who have been waiting a long time for a home, those who are in overcrowded conditions, and those who have children. They would also allow us to take action against those who try to play the system.
“These proposals will make the letting of council homes fairer, while ensuring that we continue to help those who are most vulnerable.”

Currently, Leeds City Council’s council homes are let on the basis of ‘housing need’, which means that someone with a ‘high’ housing need will be offered a home ahead of others who may have been waiting a long time. Someone may be in ‘high’ housing need because they have no home or are in a vulnerable situation. However, some people feel that this system is unfair.

Under the new proposals being put forward by the council, 25% of council homes would be let to applicants who have the earliest date of registration and a connection to the area. The remaining 75% would still be let to people with a high housing need.

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

Green vehicle showcase on Millennium Square

Caption: a Leeds City Council biomethane powered refuse truck

Leeds is being taken over by low emission vehicles on Thursday 7 October as over 30‘green’ vehicles park up on Millennium Square.

Leeds City Council has organised a free Low Emission Vehicle Exhibition, open to the public, which is supporting a free conference happening at The Carriageworks, as part of the Leeds City Region initiative to promote the use of low emissions vehicles.

The event will open at 8:30am and run throughout the day until 4.45pm. The display will show vehicles run by bio methane, such as an artic lorry (the largest type of lorry available) and a Leeds City Council refuse collection vehicle, right through to a hybrid double decker bus and cars, vans and scooters all showing off the various technologies.

There will be wide range of technologies showcased including hybrids, electric, gas/biomethane, hydrogen & other low emission vehicles. All these technologies can substantially reduce carbon, air pollution and noise.

Leeds City Council currently operates a range of low carbon vehicles including two biomethane powered refuse collection vehicles (one of which will be on display at the event), 19 diesel hybrid transits, with a further five electric transits that have just arrived.

The conference at the Carriageworks will host presentations on the strategic drivers for reducing carbon emissions and climate change mitigation, and a range low emission initiatives.

There will also be presentations from organisations who are using the new technologies and working towards reducing their carbon emissions.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for development and regeneration said:
“This conference is a great opportunity for people and businesses who are interested in cutting down on the carbon, air pollution and noise used in transport to come and learn about the technologies that are currently in place and working within some organisations, and also to learn about future technologies that are available.

“There is an urgent need to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being produced, and reduce the risk of dangerous climate change and poor air quality. Transport is the most difficult sector to reduce emissions, but by introducing new technologies likes the ones on display at the exhibition and conference we can really start making steps towards achieving targets.”

The conference will feature a range of presentations from experts in the field, and is aimed at promoting low emission vehicle technologies & encouraging large fleet operators to switch from traditional vehicle technologies to newer technologies.


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