Monday, 15 November 2010

Leeds gritters on Twitter alert

Instant information about winter conditions in Leeds is now available publicly as the team responsible for gritting the roads shares its plans online.

Anyone will be able to find out the latest situation regarding road conditions and whether gritting crews need to go out by following their updates on social networking site Twitter.

Updates about weather conditions, potential icy roads and gritting operations are being posted on weekdays during the winter period on the official Leeds City Council and LCC press office Twitter feeds: @leedscc and @lccpressoffice

The first tweet was issued today and read: "Another cold night forecast with temperatures falling to zero early in the morning. Conditions to be monitored overnight." Meanwhile, gritting crews are on standby in case the situation worsens.

Leeds City Council is responsible for keeping 800 miles of roads clear during wintry conditions, as well as city centre footways and other key pedestrian areas across the city. Other roads will also be salted if the main routes are safe and wintry conditions persist.

A fleet of 30 gritting trucks is on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week from October to late spring and in an average winter they salt the roads 64 times. Snow ploughs are also used. Last year’s severe winter resulted in the crews going out on more than 100 occasions.

Russ Martin, highways maintenance manager for Leeds City Council, said:

“The council’s aim is to get the grit on the roads before ice has the chance to form or before snow starts to fall.

“To help us with this we have access to specialised weather forecasts and we thought the public may be interested in sharing this insight and finding out when gritting is taking place so they can take extra care.”

Cllr Richard Lewis, executive member for development, said:

“I think this will be a really useful insight for getting about the city during the winter months. It could help make people more aware that they need to take care during potentially harsh wintry conditions.”

Further information on gritting and advice on what to do in severe weather conditions can be found on the council’s website at or by going direct to this link ice and snow clearing

Notes to editors:
Salt (grit) is used to treat roads because it lowers the freezing point of water, making it more difficult for ice to form. However, the salt needs moving traffic to crush it in order to form the salt solution that stops ice forming as easily. Snow ploughs can only be used if snow is deeper than 25 mm (one inch). Salt bins are also provided for residents to make use of in around 900 streets in Leeds.

For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335


McFly back to light up Leeds’ future

Caption: Chart-toppers McFly will headline the Leeds lights switch-on

McFly have been announced as the headline performers at this week’s Leeds Lights switch-on.

The four-piece band who are back with a new sound and a new album ‘Above The Noise’ released this month will top the bill at the free annual event which takes place from 7pm on Thursday 18 November at Victoria Gardens as Leeds officially starts the run-up to Christmas.

The band – made up of Tom Fletcher, Danny Jones, Dougie Poynter and Harry Judd – will be performing their new single “Shine a Light” in front of an expected crowd of approximately 20,000 people as they make a welcome return to Leeds.

The show, organised by Leeds City Council and Real Radio with support from media partners the Yorkshire Evening Post, will also feature a performance by former X-Factor winner Shayne Ward as well as new quartet The Great British Barbershop Boys.

Other guests to appear will include Britain’s Got Talent finalist Christopher Stone from Harrogate, Kelly Brazil as Hannah Montana and local dance group Demeanour - the winners of Leeds City Council’s Breeze Has Talent competition.

There will be special appearances by Cbeebies television presenter Katy Ashworth together with Leeds United manager Simon Grayson, Leeds Rhinos players and Santa's showtime to get the Christmas spirit flowing.

Singer and guitarist Tom Fletcher of McFly said:

“This will be the second time we’ve played the Leeds Christmas Lights switch-on and we can’t wait to come back. It’s a great city, a great event and always a fantastic crowd. We’d like to be the first ones to wish the people of Leeds a happy Christmas!”

The annual event is seen as the start of the Christmas shopping season in Leeds, with the finale of the show seeing the switch flicked to turn on the largest festive illuminations in the UK – covering over 15 miles around the city centre.

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

“We are really excited to welcome McFly back to Leeds to help us turn on the Christmas lights. Whenever they have performed in the city in the past crowds have flocked to see them and I’m sure it will be the same this time.

“Together with Shayne Ward and the rest of the line-up we know it is going to be a great night so we look forward to seeing thousands of people enjoying themselves and generating a wonderful atmosphere.”

Managing Director for Real Radio Yorkshire Steve South said:

“We are delighted to be able to announce McFly as the headline act for the lights switch-on. They will be a massive hit with everyone who attends and along with Shayne Ward will make this an unforgettable switch-on party!”

Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Jim McKenna will also be on hand at the event, joined by the ‘Mayor for a Day’ who will share the stage with the star names at the finale of the event to flick the switch and begin the run-up to Christmas.

For further information contact Leeds City Council’s events team on 0113 395 0891 or visit

Notes to editors:

Media access to the lights switch-on is strictly by prior invite and accreditation only. There will be strictly no access available without prior accreditation at the event itself.

The ‘Mayor for a Day’ competition is open to all primary schools in Leeds who nominate Year Six pupils who put forward a manifesto to explain what they would do if they became Lord Mayor. The winner of the competition is announced at Civic Hall shortly before the switch-on on Thursday.

Certain road closures will be in place in Leeds city centre on Thursday 18 November around the event. For full details go to

Leeds City Council is the only local authority in the country to design, manage and produce all its own displays, working out of a workshop in Seacroft. It also supplies more than 60 Christmas trees to the city, as well as providing illuminations for the Leeds International Film Festival and various Sikh and Muslim festivals.


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

Double world champions head-up Leeds sports stars celebration

Caption: Double world champion David Stone will be honoured for his achievements

Double world champions head-up Leeds sports stars celebration
Two double world champions will be among a host of Leeds sporting talent honoured at a special reception this week.

Star athletes Jonathan Brownlee and David Stone will head up a list of Leeds-based sportsmen and women attending the reception hosted by Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Jim McKenna at Civic Hall at 4:30pm on Tuesday 16 November.

They will be joined by many of the athletes based in Leeds who appeared at the recent Commonwealth Games in India, five of whom returned with medals, and some of the leading coaches and sports administrators in the city.

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

All media are invited to attend the civic reception hosted by Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Jim McKenna at Civic Hall on Tuesday 16 November at 4:30pm. The Leeds-based athletes attending will all be available for interviews and photos.


The reception is a celebration of their achievements during the year, led by Jonathan Brownlee who enjoyed a superb 2010 as he became both Under-23 Triathlon World Champion and also the Sprint Triathlon World Champion in the shorter version of the event.

The 20-year-old trains in the city alongside his elder brother Alistair Brownlee, the 2009 World Triathlon Champion, and the pair will be targeting more success on the international stage next year as the London 2012 Olympic Games gets ever closer.

Jonathan’s fantastic double achievement was matched by Rawdon’s Paralympic cycling star David Stone, who won both the T2 category time-trial and road race at the World Paralympic Road Championships which were held in Canada this summer.

Among the Commonwealth Games stars attending the reception will be 25-year-old Johanna Jackson, who made history in Delhi by becoming the first British woman to ever win a major international race walking title with her triumph in the Women’s 20km Race Walking event. Other medallists to be honoured will be squash star James Willstrop (silver) and badminton player Jenny Wallwork (silver), along with cyclists Lizzie Armistead (silver) and Anna Blyth (bronze).

In all Leeds boasted 19 athletes and one coach who participated in the Commonwealth Games, and their medal haul of one gold, three silvers and a bronze would have seen the city finish 19th in its own right in the overall medal table.

Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Jim McKenna said:

“I am really looking forward to meeting all our fantastic sports stars as they do such a great job of promoting Leeds when they are competing in countries all over the world so it is nice to be able to congratulate them in this way and show how proud we are of them.

“It will be fascinating to hear all about their experiences at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and also how excited they are about the London Olympics in 2012 as the big event will soon be only a year away.”

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


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

St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School receives outstanding Ofsted praise

Caption: The image shows pupils from St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School with current headteacher Lisa Leonard and former headteacher Maura Laverty.

A Leeds primary school has been classed as outstanding following its latest Ofsted inspection.

St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School in Beeston was assessed last month and received outstanding comments from the inspectors.

The report, which was published this month, praises many aspects of the school and starts with: ‘The most important thing about St Anthony’s is that it provides its pupils with an outstanding education in a climate where all pupils, whatever their traditions, feel they belong’.

It continues: ‘As a result, pupils’ behaviour is exemplary and their spiritual, moral, cultural and social development is outstanding’.

The inspectors have described the head teacher, Lisa Leonard, as ‘determined and inspirational’ and said that the ‘committed teachers’ deliver lessons which are ‘never less than good’ and ‘outstanding overall’. Pupils are also praised and described as showing pride in St Anthony’s and in their ‘exceptional and unfailing courtesy to each other and to adults’.

Inspectors also state the school makes an ‘exceptional contribution to cohesion at all levels and that the pupils themselves contribute exceptionally well to their community’.

Commenting on the Ofsted report, head teacher at St Anthony’s Catholic primary School, Lisa Leonard, said:
This is an outstanding Ofsted report which the whole school is very proud of. Everyone connected to the school should be proud of this achievement. We have dedicated staff, committed pupils and supportive and interested families who have worked together to make this possible.

“We will continue to work with Education Leeds to build on this fantastic report and to ensure we maintain these high standards in the future.”

Collette Bradbury, chair of governors, added:
“The governing body is exceptionally pleased with this Ofsted inspection. It recognises the hard work that is carried out in the school on a daily basis to provide the best education possible. Congratulations to everyone at the school for this achievement - we now need to build on it to ensure we carry on this great work for our future pupils.”

Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:“The dedication and hard work of everyone connected to St Anthony’s primary school has paid off with this splendid Ofsted report. I congratulate and thank the teachers and staff on these achievements and for the commitment they have for providing the best start to the children’s education. The pupils have done exceptionally well and this outstanding report is a credit to everyone connected to the school.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“This is an exceptional Ofsted report which praises every aspect of St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School. Everyone connected to the school should be proud of the findings which are a testament to the brilliant teaching, learning and leadership which takes place every day.
“The school is committed to providing the best outcomes for every child and we will continue to support the school to ensure it continues to provide the best education possible.”

St Anthony's Catholic Primary School has also been classed as outstanding in a recent Diocesan inspection for religious education. Following the assessment, the inspector states: ‘St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School is outstanding in every way. The respect, love and care that are present extend not only throughout the school but to the parish community and it is truly a beacon of excellence for the Beeston area’.


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

Council promises to tackle the problems of Leeds ‘student neighbourhood’

Leeds City Council is to heed the calls of residents from Hyde Park - embarking on a major drive to tackle the problems blighting one of most densely populated areas in the city.

Thanks to its huge student population, Leeds City Council deploys more resources in the Hyde Park area than any other part of the city to tackle problems from litter and graffiti to anti-social behaviour and noisy late night parties.

Responding to an impassioned plea from permanent residents not to ignore the ‘hidden deprivation’ in their neighbourhood, the council is to create a programme of intensive work that will blitz ’crime and grime’ in Hyde Park while a longer term plan for the area is developed.

A new Neighbourhood Board will be created to develop and deliver the plan. Chaired by Councillor Peter Gruen, the council’s executive board member for neighbourhoods and housing, it will involve local councillors, residents, students and managers from across the council and other public services.

A senior council officer will become responsible for bringing the different services together and achieving the improvements laid out in the plan. The board will work closely with the city’s universities and students groups.

Short-term solutions will include improve security awareness, out-of-hours dog warden patrols, and carry out an annual summer ‘deep clean’ to clear bin yards, take bins off streets, clear back alleys, remove graffiti, spray weeds and tidy green spaces.

In the long-term, the council will investigate ways of charging landlords for waste collection during the annual ‘change-over’ period, when thousands of students leave the area and streets are often clogged with dumped rubbish, and look at changing the landlord accreditation scheme and statutory licensing to improve standards of security for student homes.

Councillor Gruen, who will be writing to all local community groups informing them of the project, said:
“When the people of Hyde Park came to our council meeting and pleaded for help it was clear that this was a call we could not ignore.
“Hyde Park is a unique neighbourhood, but with that comes unique problems. While it is known as an area popular with students, there is still a large and vibrant population of permanent residents.
“People who live in an area know what’s best for it, so the new management board will have people from the community who can work with us to make sure this produces long-term change for Hyde Park.
“We want to harness the enthusiasm all residents, permanent and temporary, have for living in Hyde Park and get people to work together to improve Leeds’ most densely populated neighbourhood.”

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