Friday, 19 November 2010

Statement regarding long-stay car parking in Leeds city centre

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive member responsible for city development, said:
“The council understands the importance of long-stay car parking spaces for many commuters working in the city.

“At a time of economic difficulty we recognise the vital need to support the local economy.

“The decision of the planning inspector is the end of a process that started in 2006. However, it does not come into force until the New Year.

“We will be conducting an urgent review of long-stay car parking in this period to look at what the council can do to make sure adequate long-stay car parking facilities are available.

“However, the council has a duty to enforce planning regulations to make sure the planning system is maintained.”

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577
Email: jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds Lights switch-on images







Captions: The big switch-on featured appearances by Shayne Ward (above), Santa and McFly (top) with a spectacular firework finale

Councillors call for more democratic decision making

Councillors in Leeds have kick started a review that will look into ways that the public can be more involved in the decision making process in the city.

Leeds City Council currently operates under an executive board or “cabinet” system, but senior councillors are concerned that this system isn’t inclusive and doesn’t give the public and other partner organisations enough of a say in the city’s key decisions.

Now councillors want to review these arrangements and look at replacing them with a more transparent system that will engage key partners such as the police and NHS in the decision-making process.

It is hoped the review will also lead to greater opportunities for the public to make their voices heard, with council leader Cllr Keith Wakefield, who tabled a motion in council calling for the review, keen to ensure that local people have a say in decisions that affect them.

Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Keith Wakefield, said:

“The way we do our business in Leeds hasn’t moved with the times and I am acutely aware that the way we make decisions isn’t transparent or inclusive enough. The people of Leeds can play a pivotal role in the decisions that affect them, as can the partner organisations the council works with on a daily basis.

“I tabled a motion proposing that our democratic structures be reviewed to strengthen accountability and to promote greater involvement of other people who care deeply about the city. We also want to ensure elected councillors are at the heart of decision making in Leeds.”

At a meeting of the full council on 17 November, councillors voted in favour of Cllr Wakefield’s motion which called on the chief executive to:

• re-examine the structure and practices of council day (full council) and the potential for the council’s strategic partners’ involvement;
• investigate the potential for a modernised committee system to replace the current leader and executive board arrangements.

The committee will report back shortly with recommendations on how to strengthen accountability.


Notes to editors:

Currently the law does not allow for a committee system for an authority of the size of Leeds City Council. However, the council is waiting to hear whether this will change in the government’s planned Decentralisation and Localism Bill, which is expected to give greater power over local decision-making.
Leeds City Council is currently Labour-led. Its executive board is responsible for carrying out the council’s executive functions either directly, or by delegation to officers. The board meets in public approximately 12 times a year, usually at 1pm on Wednesdays. It comprises seven executive members with portfolio responsibilities relating to:
• Resources and corporate functions
• Development and regeneration
• Environmental services
• Neighbourhoods and housing,
• Children’s services,
• Leisure,
• Adult health and social care.

The eighth executive member of the board is the leader of the Green Group. The ninth is the leader of the Conservative Group. The tenth is the leader of the Liberal Democrat Group. A further member of the Labour Group is appointed as a non-voting advisory member to the board, as is the leader of the Morley Borough Independents.

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

Safety on Leeds’ roads improves

Roads in Leeds are becoming safer with fewer accidents and injuries, a recent report has highlighted.

The ‘Sites for Concern 2005 – 2009’ report, published by Leeds City Council, lists 71 junctions in the city which have had 15 or more injury accidents in the five year period, or four or more in 2009.

It is the shortest list of sites ever included in the Sites for Concern report - nine less than in 2009 and less than half the number recorded 10 years ago (154).

The improvements, which have been recorded across the city, are the result of work carried out by Leeds City Council’s road safety officers and highways engineers who have worked together to make known accident black spot junctions safer.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive member responsible for city development, said:
“Road safety officers and highways engineers are constantly working to improve the safety for everyone who uses the city’s roads and this report provides important information to help us concentrate our road safety schemes in areas where they are most needed.

“It is good to see this hard work is paying off - but there is still a lot of work to do and we will continue to work towards lowering accident and injury rates even further.

“However I do worry about the impact of government spending cuts that may prevent us making as much progress in future. There is no room for complacency when it comes to making our roads safer.”

The report will be used to give an overall picture of the injury accident situation at junctions throughout Leeds. It lists what schemes are proposed to improve the situation even further and will also be used to assess safety implications of future developments in the city.

Six junctions which have shown significant improvements in road safety are:
• Gildersome Roundabout (northern junction): There have been seventeen accidents in the two years since the completion of improvement works, compared with 32 in the two years before.
• Gildersome Roundabout (southern junction): Six accidents in the two years since completion of improvement works, compared with 20 in the two years before.
• Burley Road/Cardigan Road/Willow Road: There have been a total of six accidents in the two years since the Burley Road scheme was completed - compared with 14 in the two previous years.
• Weetwood roundabout: There were four accidents in the 18 months following re-marking of the roundabout, with nine in the 18 months before.
• Harehills Avenue/Spencer Place: The introduction of a junction plateau has reduced accidents from 10 in three years before to 3 in the subsequent 4 years.
• Harehills Lane/Gledhow Valley Road: A similar junction plateau has reduced accidents from 12 in three years, to 5 in the after period.
• Elland Road/Lowfields Road: Changes to the signing and lining have resulted in a reduction from five accidents in an 18 month period to one in the 18 months following.

All highway authorities have been told by the government to reduce fatal and serious accidents by 40 per cent and the number of children killed or seriously injured by 50 per cent by 2010. Leeds City Council has also committed to reducing fatal and serious pedestrian casualties by 50 per cent over the same period.

All of these targets have been met during 2009.

Lessons learned in making successful improvements to junctions can be transferred to others where the number of accidents and injuries could be reduced.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Anyone wanting a copy of the Sites for Concern list can contact Leeds City Council’s Transport Policy department on 0113 2476326 or write to:
Jim Buckley
Senior Road Accident Investigation Officer
City Development Department
Leeds City Council
Thoresby House
(0113) 2476327

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For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 2243602
Email: sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds conference to launch the European Year of Volunteering 2011

A prestigious conference, funded by Europe Direct Leeds and vinvolved, to launch the European Year of Volunteering 2011 in Leeds, will be held at the Royal Armouries next month.

The free conference will take place on Tuesday, 7 December, 9.30am to 4.30pm, and will bring together speakers from local, national and European organisations. Delegates from across the region will have the chance to talk about volunteering in the UK and how this compares to what is happening elsewhere in Europe.

Chaired by former Leeds MP John Battle, speakers include Tom Leftwich from the Office of Civil Society (Cabinet Office), Antonia Mochan from the European Commission’s representation in London and Mike Locke from Volunteering England. Delegates will also hear from local voluntary organisations and volunteers about their experiences.

There will be interactive workshops for delegates to work together alongside invited guests from Europe, to produce messages to be taken forward to national and European policy makers about the challenges and opportunities within the voluntary sector. The workshops will focus on volunteering in the following areas:
- Poverty and homelessness
- Young people
- Using environmental volunteering
- Health and wellbeing
- Corporate volunteering
- Older people

There will also be a volunteering marketplace offering people the opportunity to network and find out more about volunteering in the city.

The conference is open to any organisation in the city with an interest or a role in volunteering. If you would like to attend and want to find out more, please contact Maggie Limbert at Leeds City Council on 0113 224 3462 or email international@leeds.gov.uk by Friday, 26 November.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for volunteering in Leeds said:
“I am delighted that this European conference is taking place in Leeds. It is a great opportunity for us to reflect on the success of the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering, and will give us the chance to showcase the work we are doing here, and learn and share ideas and expertise with our partners from Europe.

“The conference will also act as a starting point for the region to get ready for the European Year of Volunteering 2011, allowing us to explore the potential for working together and linking local activities with national and European-wide initiatives.”

The conference will be funded by Europe Direct Leeds and sponsored by youth volunteering project vinvolved Leeds, which is managed by local charity Learning Partnerships. It will form part of a wider project called ‘Volunteering in Europe’, which is funded by the European Union’s ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme. This will see representatives of local voluntary organisations from five of Leeds’ partner cities in Europe visit Leeds to exchange ideas and good practice with voluntary organisations in the city. They will also explore opportunities to form sustainable links and cooperate during the European Year. The partner cities taking part in the project are Brasov in Romania, Brno in the Czech Republic, Dortmund and Siegen in Germany and Lille in France.

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Additional info

Europe Direct acts as an interface between the EU and its citizens at local level. The mission of the network is to distribute information and advice about the European Union’s policies, actively promote local and regional debate about the European Union, allow European institutions to disseminate local and regional information and give the public the opportunity to send feedback to the European Union institutions.

vinvolved is a national youth volunteering programme, whose aim is to get half a million more young people positively involved in their communities.

Learning Partnerships is a Leeds-based education charity, established in 1990, that works with children, young people and their families. They run a number of projects aimed at enhancing the life chances of people in some of the most deprived estates of the country.

2011 has been designated as the European Year of Volunteering. Its objectives are to:
- Work towards an enabling and facilitating environment for volunteering in the EU;
- Empower volunteer organisations and improve the quality of volunteering;
- Reward and recognise volunteering activities; and
- Raise awareness of the value and importance of volunteering.

The European Year of Volunteering is intended to promote and encourage volunteering throughout the European Union, via activities designed to give greater visibility and profile to its benefits.

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

******Photo/film opportunity****** Celebration event for new Chapeltown service centre

The opening of a state-of-the-art building housing a range of services for the Chapeltown community will be celebrated at a special event next week.

The brand new Reginald Centre opened last month. Since then hundreds of people have been through its doors to use a range of council and NHS services all brought together under one roof, along with a new library.

To celebrate its opening, VIPs from the organisations that developed and funded the building - NHS Leeds, Leeds City Council and Community Ventures - will join local residents, councillors and schoolchildren to take part in a special event. A plaque will be unveiled to mark its place in the Chapeltown community and local children will put on a musical performance.


Photo/film opportunity
Tuesday, 23 November, 11.00am Reginald Centre, Chapeltown, Leeds
Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Keith Wakefield and Linda Pollard OBE, Chair of
NHS Leeds, unveiling a plaque to commemorate the opening of the Reginald Centre,followed
by schoolchildren putting on a musical performance.


Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“The Reginald Centre is an important example of the future of council services in that it shows what can be achieved when organisations work together to deliver better and more accessible services for local residents. It is a great way of addressing the needs of local people and will play a vital part in the regeneration of Chapeltown.”

At the centre, people can get help from the council’s customer services team on benefits, council tax enquiries, housing enquiries, social care and environment issues.

Advice and information on Leeds City Credit Union products and services is also provided and a Jobshop service which gives advice, training and help with getting back to work is also available.

Residents can access a range of NHS health services, including health visiting, community midwifery, contraception and sexual health. Local GP services are provided by Westfield Medical Practice and a pharmacy is on site for easy access.

John Lawlor, Chief Executive for NHS Leeds, said:
“I am delighted to see that all the hard work and planning that has gone into developing The Reginald Centre has paid off. We now have a fantastic new centre housing a number of key services that people can access closer to home. I want to thank everyone who has been involved in this project including local residents who I hope will be proud of The Reginald Centre.”

Nigel Fenny, Chief Executive for Community Ventures Leeds, said:
“Community Ventures Leeds is proud to have worked in partnership with Leeds City Council and NHS Leeds. This is the second Joint Service Centre developed in the city, the first being the Compton Centre which opened in Harehills in July of this year and we are particularly pleased that by creating the Reginald Centre the local communities are able to access a wide range of services within their locality.”

The Reginald Centre is on 263 Chapeltown Road, Chapeltown, LS7 3EX. Further information on The Reginald Centre can be found by visiting: www.leeds.gov.uk/reginaldcentre

Notes to Editors:

The Reginald Centre is one of two new joint service centres in the city: the other one is the Compton Centre in Harehills which opened in July 2010. Both centres have been provided by Community Ventures Leeds Limited, a public private partnership joint venture company jointly funded by Leeds City Council and NHS Leeds.

Leeds City Council services
• Customer Services providing the same help and advice as provided at the City Centre One Stop at 2 Great George Street. Staff will be happy to help with issues regarding all council benefits, council tax, East North East Homes Leeds housing enquiries, social care, environmental issues, information on Credit Union products and anything else regarding Leeds City Council.
• Chapeltown Library will relocate from its current premises.
• Advice on jobs and training at the Jobshop.
• Other services include the Environmental Action Team and East North East Area Management Team

NHS services
• Westfield Medical Practice providing GP services and a young people’s drop in service.
• Services for children and families including the health visiting team, school nursing and community midwives.
• Other services include contraception and sexual health (CaSH), community diabetes service, primary care mental health team, sickle cell and thalassemia, tuberculosis (TB) liaison nursing service, speech and language therapy and language liaison.
• Specialist health services which are only available if you are referred to them by your healthcare professional. This includes the community dental service.


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