Thursday, 11 November 2010

Ex-landlords fined for flouting smoking ban

The landlord and landlady of a pub in Drighlington have both been fined and ordered to pay more than £4,500 in costs.

Ray and Gillian McHale were both fined £350 and ordered to pay £4,540.89 in costs between them after both pleading guilty at Leeds Magistrates Court on 4 November to repeated and wilful breaches of the law making it illegal to smoke in enclosed public places and enclosed work places.

Despite previous attempts to work with Mr and Mrs McHale, who ran the Painters Arms on Bradford Road, Drighlington, Leeds City Council continued to receive complaints of customers openly smoking in the pub.

In March, customers complained about smoking in the premises and when West Yorkshire Police visited the premises on an unrelated matter in April they also witnessed customers smoking in the pub, as did council officers making two routine visits in May and a further complaint was made by a customer the same month.

Attempts were made to formally interview Mr and Mrs McHale, but they refused to attend interviews and the council was forced to issued a summons in August.

The pair have subsequently been evicted by the pub’s owners, Enterprise Inns, for unrelated issues.

Councillor Tom Murray, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental services, said:
“Whether people agree with the ban on smoking in enclosed spaces and the workplace or not, where there is flagrant and wilful floating of the rules we are forced to take action.
“As far as I am aware landlords in Leeds take their responsibilities seriously and comply with a law intended to protect public health.
“What is positive here is that this action has the support of the public – it was customers of the pub itself who informed us of the breaches. They understood that it is illegal and unreasonable for landlords to behave in this way.”

The vast majority of premises in Leeds comply with the smoke free requirements of The Health Act 2006, but where complaints are made and evidence is obtained that smoking is continuing, the council will take legal action. This is the second public house in Leeds to be successfully prosecuted since the law came into force in July 2007.

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

Students’ TVs, stereos and laptops seized for ignoring late night noise warnings

Three students who ignored warnings to turn their music down late at night have had TVs, stereos, laptops and DVD players seized – and now face prosecution.

Students Joshua Mills, Mark Smith and Matthew Chappell of 14 Chestnut Grove, Headingley, have had their noise-making equipment seized after repeated complaints about music being played excessively loud into the early hours.

After the three ignored a noise abatement notice, which told them that not keeping the noise down would be a criminal offence, the council successfully applied for a seizure order at Leeds Magistrates Court on Monday to prevent further problems.

On Tuesday, officers from Leeds City Council, supported by West Yorkshire Police, seized 13 items, including TVs, laptops, midi hifis, speakers and a DVD player.

A prosecution for a breach of the noise abatement notice will now follow and, if the tenants are found guilty, the council will apply for a forfeiture order in order to keep the seized equipment.

Complaints about excessively loud music late at night from the address were first received on 24 October. Officers from the council’s out-of-hours noise service visited the property at 2.15am the following morning – the tenants not only refused to answer the door but also turned the volume of their music up.

Officers visited again on the afternoon of 27 October to serve a statutory noise abatement notice on the occupants, which warned them to keep the noise down and that any breach of the notice would be a criminal offence.

However, another complaint was made on 4 November and when officers visited the property the tenants argued that people who live in Hyde Park “should expect some noise”. When officers phoned the complainant at 12.30am, he said the volume of the music had been increased.

Councillor Tom Murray, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental health, said:
"Residents should be able to live their lives without their sleep and family life being disrupted by neighbours making excessive and unnecessary noise.
"Ignoring a noise abatement notice, and even turning the volume up, will not make us go away – where people’s lives are being made a misery by noise we will take action. If warnings are ignored, it is important that people understand they will end up in court."

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

Children’s services bosses hand over the reigns … to children

Leeds City Council’s children’s services department will be in safe hands on Friday when it is temporarily taken over by school children from across the city.

Children’s services bosses will hand over the reigns of power to pupils from Bramley St Peter’s primary school and Leeds West Academy as part of a national campaign to put the next generation in the driving seat.

Now in it’s fourth year, national takeover day aims to recognise the talents of young people and involve them in decision-making.

The seven students from years six and nine, will spend the afternoon with the managers who have responsibility for the city’s education services, children and young people’s social care, youth services, youth offending services and early years.

After a question and answer session the youngsters will be asked to come up with ideas on how to make Leeds a more child friendly city. They will also be set a creative challenge to come up with ideas and inspiration for a future redesign of the children’s services reception, to make it more accessible by children and families.

Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services said:
“Children’s services in Leeds is changing and its vital that children and young people are at the heart of everything we do. The takeover day will be not only be a great opportunity for young people to see how we all work but it will also be a fantastic opportunity for me and my colleagues too. We will be able to find out first hand what young people think of our services and to discover their ideas about how we can improve things in the future. Who better to ask than the children themselves?”

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“We want to make sure that we are meeting the needs, aspirations and expectations of the next generation and Takeover day is the perfect opportunity for this. I look forward to hearing the young people’s recommendations about how we can make our services for children the best that they can be.”

After a tour of Merrion House and a chance to meet and question children’s services staff, the students will be asked for their feedback and recommendations. Any ideas the students come up with will be considered by the members of the leadership team and put in to action where possible.

Members of the media who are interested in attending should contact the press office, (details as below).

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Decision time as city is taken over by children and young people

Children and young people are to shadow senior figures across the city as part of a national event to encourage their participation in decision making processes.

National Takeover Day takes place on Friday (12 November) and signals the start of a number of events taking place in Leeds which will see primary and secondary school pupils working alongside teaching staff, senior managers and chief executives.

**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********
Media are invited to attend any of the events listed below. Please email or call 0113 3951577 to arrange attendance.
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The pupils will work with Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council (19 November, 8.45am – 4pm); and John Lawler, chief executive of NHS Leeds (12 November, 9am – 4pm).

Another event will see members of Leeds City Council’s children’s services leadership team work with a group of students to look at ‘child friendly cities’ on 12 November between 12.30pm and 3pm. The young people will tell children’s services how Merrion House – where children’s services and Education Leeds are based - could become a more accommodating space when children and young people visit. The students will also be given a tour of the building to meet the teams and get a behind the scenes look at what happens to support them and their schools.

Education Leeds, Leeds City Council and NHS Leeds are just some of the organisations which will host children and young people who will take part in decision making activities and discover more about work, employment and life outside school.

National Takeover Day is in its fourth year and last year around 30,000 children and young people nationally worked with hundreds of organisations, including businesses, schools, police and fire services, newspapers, banks, TV and radio stations, charities, local councils, MPs, hospitals and government departments. This year it’s hoped 40,000 children and young people will show adults what they can do

The scheme is designed to give children a greater understanding of decisions which affect their school and wider lives. It gives young people an opportunity to experience life outside the classroom, visit organisations across Leeds and find out how they work and meet the people who help to make decisions on the future of education in the city.

Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board member for education, said:
“It’s vital that we encourage children and young people to take an active role in the decision making process. National Takeover Day provides an opportunity for everyone who works with children to listen to their opinions and concerns and to consider them when deciding future issues.

“It also allows our pupils to develop their knowledge and skills in new and exciting environments while giving them an insight into how different organisations operate. It’s a great introduction to world of work and allows them to taste what life is like outside of the classroom.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“Children and young people are at the heart of everything we do and it’s important that we listen to and involve them in the decisions being made about their future.
“National Takeover Day is a brilliant opportunity for us to do this. It allows us to meet children and young people outside of their usual environment and get a real insight into their opinions of what we do and, more importantly, what they do.

“I hope we will increase children and young people’s participation in the decision making process and that, together with their teachers and other professionals, they can help to make their school communities even stronger.”

Some of the schools involved in takeover events this Friday (12 November) include:
Boston Spa High School:
Pupils will be:
• Applying to shadow teachers and the leadership team
• Working as school journalists
• Working on the school reception
• Managing the school library
• Planning and delivering an assembly
• Working as lunchtime supervisors.

Allerton Grange High School:
Pupils will be:
• Shadowing key members of staff.

Oakwood Pupil Referral Unit:
Pupils will be:
• Organising activities
• Completing administrative tasks
• Helping to run the centre for the day.

St Philips Catholic Primary School:
Pupils will be:
• Shadowing the head teacher, teachers, support staff and the school superintendent.

Hugh Gaitskell Primary School:
Pupils will be:
• Taking over teaching and teaching assistant roles
• Taking over an assembly
• Taking over the lunch menu
• Taking over playground activities
• Taking over the school newsletter

Queensway Primary School:
Pupils will be:
• Leading an assembly acting as the head teacher
• Delivering lessons to younger children
• Providing administration support to the school office
• Acting as teaching assistants for Key Stage 1
• Helping to prepare the school lunches
• Working alongside the caretaker.

The Youth Association - which is a regional organisation with a training team, participation team, Connexions personal advisors and a mobile youth work team - will be taken over by two groups of students from Wigton Moor Primary School and Benton Park High School on 12 November.

They will get to the opportunity to work with staff from all levels of the organisation - from front line youth workers to senior board members. Students will be able to choose the member of staff they work with in advance by looking at biographies of each staff member.

On the 12 November, the Big Lottery Fund regional team, based in Leeds, are inviting five students from Bruntcliffe High School to assist them in designing a marketing campaign to launch a funding programme which is focused on children and young people.

Education Leeds Healthy Schools Participation Team will be taken over by a group of pupils from Moortown Primary School on 16 November. The pupils will meet the team and advise them how children could be more creatively involved in both teaching and learning in schools.


For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577

£392,309 award will help create ‘green corridor’ through east Leeds

Caption: Cllr Adam Ogilvie and Cllr Geoff Driver with members of the Wyke Beck Valley Community Forum celebrate the award from Natural England

A three-year scheme to protect and enhance 82 hectares of the Wyke Beck Valley in Leeds has been awarded £392,309.

The award by Natural England as part of its Access to Nature scheme, funded from the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces Programme, helps create a £524,444 funding pot for Wyke Beck Valley Pride, which aims to create a ‘green corridor’ through east Leeds, contributing to the EASEL regeneration programme.

The Wyke Beck Valley runs all the way from Roundhay Park to Rothwell Country Park through Gipton, Seacroft, Killingbeck, Primrose Valley and Halton Moor.

By protecting and enhancing this major ‘green corridor’, it is hoped people in these communities will really benefit from better access to the space, the waterway that runs through it and its surroundings.

Leeds City Council’s Inner East and Outer South Committees, Parks and Countryside Service and Green Leeds are also contributing to the budget, that will provide:
• habitat creation, pathside improvements and signage projects
• a comprehensive programme of environmental activities with schools and the public to encourage increased use of the valley
• two dedicated posts and an exciting volunteer initiative
• activities including:
o Autumn and Springwatch events
o a Junior Rangers Club
o health and wildlife walks
o wildlife surveys, including training
o nature conservation events
o corporate volunteering events
o school visits

This innovative project will be delivered in partnership between members of the community, the Wyke Beck Valley Community Forum, Leeds City Council’s Parks and Countryside Service, BTCV Leeds, Groundwork Leeds, Leeds Voice, and Leeds Ahead. It will also be supported by Leeds City Council’s East Leeds Regeneration Team and the Regeneration Resources Team, which have been working for over a year with the Wyke Beck Valley Community Forum on the ‘Wyke Beck Valley Pride’ partnership bid.

Natural England’s Regional Director Peter Nottage said:
“We are proud and delighted to be able to support such a tremendous project in this area of east Leeds. It’s heartening to see inspired communities caring for their local environment.
“We look forward to seeing the benefits for people and wildlife of Wyke Beck Valley over the coming years.”

Councillor Geoff Driver, Leeds City Council’s deputy executive board member for neighbourhoods and housing, said:
“Wyke Beck Valley Pride will be a fantastic community resource for communities in the south and east of the city. It will provide them with access to green space right on their doorstep.
“This project is a great example of what can be achieved when different agencies come together to work for the good of the communities they serve.”

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for leisure, said:
“This is a brilliant project that brings together a whole range of partners, from Natural England, Leeds City Council, voluntary groups and the local community to create something that will really benefit local people.
“Not only will it greatly enhance the area’s green space, it will also provide a whole host of leisure and environmental opportunities that will be enjoyed by local people and attract others from across the city.”

Pauline Wright, a trustee of the Wyke Beck Valley Community Forum, said:
“Some 15 years ago, along with a group of Wyke Beck Valley Road residents, I started campaigning to clean up the beck and get better protection for its wildlife, trees and open spaces. We’ve achieved a lot since then and this award will truly enable us to build ‘Pride in our Valley.”

The project is also receiving support from Leeds City Council’s Parks and Countryside Service, EASEL Regeneration team and Regeneration Resources team, who have been working for over a year with the Wyke Beck Valley Community Forum and bid partners on the ‘Wyke Beck Valley Pride’ partnership bid.

All the bid partners, including Leeds Ahead, BTCV, Groundwork and Leeds Voice, are committed to involving businesses, schools, residents and community groups in designing and carrying out the wide range of different schemes included in ‘Wyke Beck Valley Pride’

Notes to editors:

Wyke Beck Valley Pride Steering Group:

Wyke Beck Valley Community Forum
Leeds City Council
Leeds Ahead
Leeds Voice
British Trust for Conservation Volunteers
Groundwork Leeds

EASEL is Leeds City Council’s priority long term regeneration programme for East Leeds:
• Working together with communities and partners to improve neighbourhoods
• Investing now and for the future
• Improving quality of life and choices for local people
To contact the East Leeds Regeneration Team, ring 0113 2143487, e-mail or write to Unit 1 Acorn Business Park, Killingbeck Drive, Leeds LS14 6UF.

The Wyke Beck Valley Community Forum is the community partnership supporting improvements in the Wykebeck Valley. To contact the forum ring 0113 2144383 or e-mail

Access to Nature is run by Natural England and is part of The Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme launched in November 2005 to help communities enjoy and improve their local environments. For further information about Access to Nature visit

Natural England manages this £25 million Lottery-funded programme on behalf of a consortium of twelve national environmental organisations comprising BTCV, British Waterways, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Greenspace, Groundwork UK, Land Restoration Trust, The National Trust, Natural England, RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts and the Woodland Trust. Through this programme, it is Natural England’s ambition to create opportunities for people from all backgrounds to have greater access to our natural environment and bring a lasting change to their awareness and understanding as well as improved links to the natural world, which many of us can take for granted.

For further information about the Big Lottery Fund, its programmes and awards visit

GROUNDWORK is a national charity working with partners to improve the quality of people's lives and the places where they live, work and play.
• Groundwork's projects help local people get practically involved in making decisions and managing improvements in their neighbourhood and encourage people to make healthier and greener lifestyle choices. This ranges from working with children and young people to create sports facilities and ‘outdoor classrooms’, to providing training and jobs for the long-term unemployed as they regenerate major areas of derelict or waste ground.
• Last year Groundwork supported nearly 6,000 projects across the UK supported by central and local government, businesses, charitable trusts and the National Lottery. As a result of those projects more than 80% of people involved felt their neighbourhood was a better place to live and felt more able to influence decisions affecting their community

Established in 1959, BTCV is now the world’s largest environmental volunteering charity. We enable people to make a difference in their lives and improve the places around them.
Across the UK, BTCV supports more than 628,000 people working on more than 29,000 projects each year to improve the environment. Our mission is to invest in a more sustainable future by inspiring people and improving places.
Current issues such as climate change and recession mean that BTCV’s offer of hands-on environmental opportunities and help for people developing skills for both life and work is as critical as ever.
Our work includes:
• Regular environment tasks across the UK
• UK & International environmental holidays
• BTCV Green Gym
• Training, from practical skills like dry stone wall building to NVQs in Environmental Conservation and helping unemployed people get back into work
• Online shop, including native trees and plants, handbooks and tools.
BTCV Hollybush was established in 1979 and has a long established respected inclusive volunteering programme. More details

Leeds Voice is the Community Empowerment Network (CEN) for Leeds Metropolitan District. We exist to strengthen and represent the voluntary, community and faith sector throughout the Leeds Metropolitan district.
Areas of work include:
- Building the capacity of the sector and securing recognition as full and respected partners.
- Enabling voluntary, community and faith sector representation and participation at a local level.
- Ensuring that all our work is underpinned by a commitment to recognising and valuing the diversity of our city.
- We provide a communication network and circulate information through our 3000+ members with forums, events, newsletters, leaflets and a dedicated staff team
• Please visit for more information.

The recipient of an Audit Commission Green Flag for its unique and innovative work, Leeds Ahead is an award-winning and groundbreaking social business that is helping companies across the city to get involved in the social and economic regeneration of Leeds.
The vital links that it provides between the private, public and voluntary sectors, bring benefits to all who engage in a wide range of activities and initiative that help to narrow the gap between the city’s haves and have nots.

Green Leeds Limited is a charity which receives and distributes Landfill Communities Fund grants for environmental projects across Leeds. For further information, please contact Sue Lumby (0113 2478185) at Green Leeds Limited, Resources Team, Environment & Neighbourhoods, 6th Floor, Merrion House, 110 Merrion Centre, Leeds LS2 8BB (e-mail:

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

ASBO man faces five year rail ban

A man has been banned from railway stations all over Yorkshire for five years after harassing staff and passengers over a period of months.

Mohamed Sherif Osman, 33, of no fixed abode, also received a five year anti-social behaviour order covering the whole of West, North and South Yorkshire, the East Riding and the cities of York and Hull.

The order was obtained by Leeds City Council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Unit working alongside British Transport Police.

Leeds magistrates were told that between April and September 2010, Mr Osman committed a string of offences, including travelling without a ticket on trains from Hull to Leeds and from Liverpool to Norwich.

He was also said to have “tailgated“ passengers through automatic ticket barriers, urinated on the station forecourt in Hull, harassed a 13-year-old boy in Leeds, threatened a female member of staff and was repeatedly found begging.

On one occasion Mr Osman followed two women into the ladies’ toilet at Leeds station. He was also ejected from a number of pubs, café’s and restaurants in Leeds, Doncaster and Hull because of his behaviour.

As well as banning Mr Osman from Network Rail property, the order specifically forbids him from entering the Paragon Transport Interchange, the Prospect Centre and St Stephen’s Shopping Centre in Hull.

Supt Simon Whitehead, chief officer for Safer Leeds, the city’s crime-fighting partnership, said:
"This man has made travelling a misery for people all over Yorkshire. Getting these orders in place will mean there is some control over Mr Osman’s behaviour.
"To achieve this we have worked very closely with our colleagues in British Transport Police and with other councils throughout Yorkshire.
"We will continue to work closely with them to ensure the orders are enforced."

British Transport Chief Inspector Brian Buddo said:
"Osman's behaviour in and around a number of stations though out Yorkshire was not only unacceptable but intimidating towards passengers and rail staff, we will simply not tolerate this on the rail network.
"Those who expressed concern will now be able to travel and work at the station without fear of further nuisance and intimidation from him, any breach of the conditions will be dealt with robustly.
"This positive outcome has been achieved through several months of evidence gathering by BTP Officers and rail staff working closely with Leeds City Councils Anti Social Behaviour Unit."

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