Monday, 24 January 2011

Leeds ‘is one to watch’ says new economic report

Leeds is a ‘city to watch’ according to a new economic study.

The Centres for Cities report predicts Leeds has more future potential to create private sector jobs than most of the biggest towns and cities in the UK.

Milton Keynes, Reading, Aberdeen and Bristol are the only others on the list.

The study - published today - says if Leeds is ‘given the right powers and freedoms it could make an even bigger contribution to the UK’s economic recovery’.

The Centre for Cities report – called Outlook 2011 – is its main annual survey.

It charts the economic fortunes of the largest towns and cities in the UK by evaluating their performance on employment, population growth, skills and income.

It found that, between June 2009 and June 2010, more people got back into work in Leeds than any other large city in the UK.

Growth in the employment rate in Leeds during that period was 1.1 per cent - higher than London, Sheffield, Manchester and Edinburgh.

At the same time the number of people claiming job seekers allowance in Leeds fell almost as quickly as the national average in the year to November 2010.

It means Leeds is placed in the top ten of large cities in terms of the number of people returning to work.

The Centre for Cities study also compared environmental performance.
Leeds is in the top five of the ‘greenest’ big cities and with seven tonnes of CO2 emissions per head in 2008, it was less than Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham and Newcastle.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, council leader, said:

“This report makes for interesting reading.

“Despite the economic downturn, it seems people and businesses in Leeds have demonstrated their usual resilience.

“I’m also pleased that the Centre for Cities thinks our city has continued potential.

“However, we need to be realistic here - the future is going to be very tough as public sector spending is squeezed and services are cut.

“That means private businesses are going to have to work even harder to keep up the economic momentum and the council will do what it can to support that.”

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

"The fact that Leeds is leading the way in terms of employment creation highlights the city's resilience to the pressures caused by the recession.

"The diversity of the Leeds economy and calibre of its businesses has positioned the city well and there are a number of exciting developments taking place, such as Trinity Leeds and the Arena.

Both of these projects will fuel further job creation and investment in the city".

However, these results should not lead to complacency and both the private sector and public sector must work in partnership to ensure that this growth is maintained”.

Gerald Jennings, Leeds’ based portfolio director for Land Securities said:

“Land Securities is a long-term investor in Leeds and the city region and we have always believed it is a great place in which to invest and this report confirms our view.

Our investment in White Rose Shopping Centre, where more than 2,000 people are employed, is set to increase and that will bring additional jobs and prosperity, both to those who work at White Rose and suppliers of goods and services to the centre.”

“We are currently on site developing the 1m sq ft Trinity Leeds retail and leisure scheme in the city centre and during construction there will be up to 1,000 workers on site with an estimated 3,000 people employed in retail related positions when the scheme opens in Spring 2013.

Trinity Leeds will add a wow factor to what is already a great place in which to do business.”

For media enquiries please contact:
Andy Carter, Leeds City Council 0113 395 0393

Mel B ‘honoured’ as girl power makes a comeback in Leeds

Caption: Items worn by Mel B (top), Emma Bunton (middle) and a diamond-studded Chopard watch worn by Victoria Beckham will all be on display (Photography by Ben Barker courtesy of

The new exhibition devoted to the Spice Girls which begins at Leeds City Museum this week has been given a special seal of approval – by Leeds’ own Mel B herself.

Melanie Brown, who attended Intake High School (now Leeds West Academy) in Bramley before shooting to global stardom as Scary Spice in the most successful girl band of all time, has spoken of her pride about the new exhibition devoted to the group which opens to the public on Friday (28 January).

Speaking from her home in Los Angeles, Spice Girl Mel B said:

“I'm very excited that this Spice Girls exhibition is showing in my hometown of Leeds. It makes me even more grateful that not only people around the world, but the people of Leeds, are still showing so much support for the Spice Girls.

“I really hope that everyone will like this exhibition. It is truly an honour to have such an extensive collection of our past be brought out for everyone to enjoy."

Running until July, ‘Spiceworld: The exhibition’ which is free to enter celebrates the success of the Spice Girls as well as examining what it takes to be a modern celebrity.

The basis for the exhibition is the extraordinary collection of Yorkshire’s Liz West, who is the foremost collector of official Spice Girls memorabilia and merchandise in the country with almost 4,000 items of all kinds devoted to the band.

**************MEDIA INVITE*******************************************
All media are invited to a special preview tour of the Spiceworld exhibition at Leeds City Museum at 3pm on Thursday 27 January. Collector Liz West will lead the tour and will be available for interviews. Leeds City Museum is located off Millennium Square, LS2 8BH.

Liz started her collection by buying two copies of the band’s single ‘Spice Up Your Life’ at the age of 12 in 1997, so beginning an obsession which 14 years later has resulted in a huge range of Spice Girls items including outfits worn by the band, accessories, platinum discs, books, magazines and dolls being sourced from all over the world.

The exhibition at Leeds City Museum off Millennium Square will be the first time Liz’s collection has ever been on display in its entirety in public.

Among the items on show will be the iconic Union Jack boots worn by Geri Halliwell in the group’s first-ever live concert in Istanbul, Emma Bunton’s blue sequin dress from the band’s memorable performance at the 1997 Brit Awards (where Geri made her show-stealing appearance in the Union Jack dress) and Mel B’s trademark giraffe print catsuit complete with ‘Mel B’ crystal-studded belt.

Other items include outfits worn by Emma, Geri and Mel B on their ‘Spiceworld’ tour, a gold and diamond-studded Chopard watch worn by Victoria, the director’s script from ‘Spiceworld: The Movie’ and the multi-platinum CD the band were awarded for selling over four million copies of the album ‘Spice’ in America in 1997.

Spice Girls memorabilia collector Liz West said:

“I’m very excited about the Spice Girls exhibition taking place at Leeds City Museum and am looking forward to seeing the public's reaction to it. It will be a great experience for all the family - there will be something to appeal to everyone."

Leeds City Museum curator of exhibitions Helen Langwick said:
“We are really excited about the Spiceworld exhibition starting at Leeds City Museum this week and it is fantastic to have the support of our own Mel B for it.

“The exhibition is free so is the perfect way for all Spice Girls fans to see this amazing collection all together for the first time and for people of all ages to take a trip down memory lane to the recent past.”

Spiceworld: The exhibition will run at Leeds City Museum from Friday 28 January to Sunday 3 July. Admission will be free.

For further information on Leeds City Museum, visit the website at

Notes to editors:
The Spice Girls are Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, Geri Halliwell and Victoria Beckham (née Adams) who quickly became known by the nicknames Scary, Baby, Sporty, Ginger and Posh.

Following the impact of debut single ‘Wannabe’ which topped the charts in 31 countries in 1996, the Spice Girls enjoyed phenomenal success selling over 80 million records worldwide, having nine UK number one singles, starring in their own feature film and creating the ‘girl power’ mantra which is credited with inspiring a generation of girls and women to achieve.


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

Final farewell for Ark Royal crew during Leeds freedom parade

A Freedom of the City parade celebrating the long standing affiliation of HMS Ark Royal with the city of Leeds will take place on Saturday, February 12.

Around 160 sailors from the Portsmouth-based aircraft carrier – which is being decommissioned in March – will parade through the city to exercise the Freedom of the City for the final time and celebrate the close links established with the Ark Royal during the Second World War.

The parade will commence at 11am outside Leeds City Museum in Millennium Square, marching along the Headrow, around the Victoria Quarter and returning, for Lord Mayor Jim McKenna to take the salute outside the Town Hall at approximately 11.30am.

The sailors will march with bayonets fixed, colours flying and in time to the drum beat of the Royal Marines Band of Scotland, carrying the ship’s Freedom Scroll. The parade is expected to finish around noon when the city will host a reception for the ship’s company in the Civic Hall.

In 1941, the good people of Leeds raised around £9m towards the Royal Navy commissioning another HMS Ark Royal after the previous ship had been torpedoed and sunk.

The ship’s commanding officer, Captain Jerry Kyd, explained:

“The strong association that Ark Royal has maintained since the Second World War with the city of Leeds is immensely important. It is a real pleasure to be able to mark these historic and strong links with a parade through our city and attend the reception in the Civic Hall. I hope that one day a future Ark Royal will once again have the privilege of this special affiliation with the great city of Leeds."

Personnel led by the Senior Naval Officer, Commander Robert Bellfield, from HMS Ark Royal will arrive on the Friday evening to meet with their wider Leeds affiliations. These include The Royal Armouries, Leeds Chamber of Commerce, Royal Naval Association Headingly, Royal Naval Association Oulton, the Leeds Royal Naval Reserve Unit at HMS Ceres, and the TS Ark Royal Sea Cadet Corps.

“Ark Royal has played a very important role throughout her history and we have always been lucky enough to draw great affection and support from the British public wherever we go, in particular from the City of Leeds,” continued Captain Kyd.

“I have been exceptionally proud to serve as her Captain – my very first job after finishing my initial officer training 25 years ago at Dartmouth was in the then brand new HMS Ark Royal. It is therefore a great honour for me to be her last Captain and to have attended the recent Remembrance Service in the City of Leeds in November last year.”

He added: “I am very fortunate to have an exceptional crew, whose professional skills will be re-allocated and valued in the wider Royal Naval service, long after the ship herself has been decommissioned – so her success in delivering carrier strike and valuable corporate memory will continue to serve the Royal Navy well.

“I am only too aware that this famous ship and her iconic name mean a great deal to many people, but although Ark Royal will be decommissioned, the new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers currently under construction are vastly more capable and will provide the Royal Navy with an exciting future.”

Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jim McKenna said:

“It will be fantastic to see HMS Ark Royal’s ship’s company coming to march through the city of Leeds. The day will be one of great celebration, but tinged with the sadness of the decommissioning of the ship.

“The ship has and always will have a firm place in the heart of the city of Leeds. After adopting the ship in 1942, the city of Leeds really put their hearts and souls into raising an enormous sum of money to ensure that a replacement ship could be put into commission. No doubt people in Leeds will be lining the streets to welcome the officers and crew from Ark Royal.”

Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“It is fantastic that HMS Ark Royal is exercising it’s right to Freedom of the City. The ship has a huge place in the hearts of the people of Leeds, and will be sorely missed when she is decommissioned later this year.

“After adopting the ship in 1942 the city of Leeds really put their hearts and souls into raising an enormous sum of money to ensure that a replacement ship could be put into commission. No doubt people in Leeds will be lining the streets in February to welcome the officers and crew from Ark Royal.”

During her busy life the ship has seen service around the globe and has shown her adaptability from the original role as an anti-submarine helicopter carrier designed for the Cold War through to the commando helicopter carrier. She clocked up 621,551 nautical miles during her career and made her final entry to Portsmouth on December 3.


Calum McNicol, UK Regional Media and Communications
Contact: 01436 677231

Notes to Editors:

Senior Naval Officer, Commander Robert Bellfield, will be available for short interviews immediately after the parade at 12.30pm at the Civic Hall.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

First ever wedding fair for Temple Newsam House

Picture caption: the first couple ever to marry at Temple Newsam House Andy and Annie Roddy

Temple Newsam House is throwing open its doors for an unmissable wedding fair.

With the much anticipated marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton there has been a rise in the number of people deciding to tie-the-knot in a dream wedding of their own.

For anyone looking for that once in a lifetime perfect day Temple Newsam House and Estate is showing what it has to offer on Sunday 30 January 11am – 3pm.

The main exhibition area will take place in a stunning marquee on the house’s wedding lawn and a huge range of local exhibitors will be on hand.

A bridal fashion show takes place at 12pm and again at 2pm plus a makeup artist and hair specialist will be giving free consultations.

Leeds City Council’s principal keeper at Temple Newsam House Bobbie Robertson said:

“Temple Newsam House and Estate really is a magical place to get married and the feedback we’ve had from wedding parties over the last two years has been brilliant. We are delighted we're able to show off everything this marvellous location has to offer at our first ever wedding fair.”

There is also the chance to see the rooms in the house set for a wedding. Entry to the wedding fair and ground floor for the house is free.

More information can be found on the home page of the Leeds Museums and Galleries website at or email for more information.

Notes to editor:

Temple Newsam House, LS15 0AE, is just four miles from Leeds city centre and just two miles from junction 46 of the M1. The house is open – Tuesday to Sunday 10.30 am – 4pm (last admission 3.15pm) and can be contacted on 0113 2647321.


For media enquiries please contact: Daniel Johnson,
leisure communications officer, tel: 0113 247 8285, email:

Statement regarding a fire at Temple Newsam Farm

A Leeds City Council spokesman said:

“A fire has destroyed a barn, containing straw bales, at Temple Newsam Farm.

“The alarm was raised at approximately 1830 last night (Sun Jan 24).

“Several animals were moved to safety – neither livestock nor people have been hurt.

“West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is still on scene this morning.

“Temple Newsam Farm will be closed for the rest of this week.”

New controls over dogs to come into force

New controls on dogs and responsibilities on their owners across Leeds are to come into force next month, after thousands of people took part in a city-wide consultation.

Leeds City Council is to implement the new orders from 1 February.

The orders are intended as a way to tackle owners who do not clear up after their pets and for the council to help protect the health of children and deal with nuisance dogs.

The city-wide orders are:

- the number of dogs which can be walked by a single person at the same time will be limited to four
- dogs will be excluded from children’s play areas in some parks
- council staff will have the power to direct any owner to put their dog on a lead if it is causing a nuisance or annoyance.

It will be a criminal offence to breach the new orders – conviction can result in a fine of up to £1,000 or an owner can choose to pay a fixed penalty of £75 to avoid prosecution.

During 2009/10, the council received 684 complaints about dog fouling in the city, issued 96 fixed penalty notices for dog fouling and prosecuted 11 people.

Almost 2,000 responses were received to the consultation over what the council should do with its new powers, including formal responses from local parish councils and The Dogs Trust. The council responded to the views raised by its consultation over the orders and proposals were agreed by the council’s Executive Board in November.

Almost three quarters of all the responses to the consultation were from dog owners, with a similar number supporting curbs on the number of dogs that could be walked at the same time, while eight out of ten agreed that dogs should be banned from playgrounds and ornamental gardens. Also, 74 per cent agreed that it should be an offence not to put your dog on a lead when directed to by a council officer.

Councillor Tom Murray, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental services, said:
“We want to promote responsible dog ownership but there is a minority of owners who do not take those responsibilities seriously.
“Dog dirt, nuisance dogs and strays should not be allowed to blight our streets and these powers will help us tackle these problems.
“Most importantly, dogs are no longer allowed in our children’s play areas – this protects youngsters from picking up potentially dangerous infections from dog dirt.
“I believe these they will be welcomed by law-abiding and responsible dog owners, and by the wider public who grow tired of the dog dirt polluting our streets.”

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