Friday, 18 February 2011

Have your say on changes to affordable housing policy

Leeds City Council has launched a public consultation looking at proposed affordable housing targets in an effort to encourage more house building in Leeds.

Council chiefs approved a four week consultation at last week’s executive board, and would like to hear people’s thoughts on the draft Interim Affordable Housing policy 2011.

The consultation will run from Friday 18 February to 5pm Friday 18 March.

House building in Leeds has been severely affected by the recession, particularly in the inner parts of the city which are often previously developed, derelict or disused sites and therefore more costly to develop. In 2007/8 around 213 affordable houses were delivered through the planning system. This reduced to 99 in 2009/10 and just 14 towards the end of 2010/11.

As a result, the council’s Draft Interim Affordable Housing Policy 2011 proposes a reduction in affordable housing targets in most of the city by 10 to 15% to try and remove some of the barriers to house building and better reflect the market situation. More rural parts of the council’s area, where housing developments are more viable, will see their affordable housing targets increase by 5%.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for development and regeneration said:

“We want to hear the views of the public and various stakeholders on this policy.

“The need for affordable housing still remains a priority for the council, but the market has reduced numbers to a trickle. It is necessary to set realistic targets which are likely to be deliverable and encourage house building in Leeds.

“We believe the targets we are proposing better reflect the market conditions in Leeds. We will keep the policy under review so that when the market fully recovers higher percentages of affordable housing may be delivered.”

Information about the Draft Interim Policy is available to view online at www.leeds.gov.uk/ldf and click ‘current consultations’. Alternatively email ldf@leeds.gov.uk or ring (0113) 2478133 for more information.

Please send any comments to ldf@leeds.gov.uk or by post to
Leeds City Council (Draft Interim Affordable Housing Policy), Forward Planning & Implementation, City Development, Leonardo Building, 2 Rossington Street, Leeds, LS2 8HD, by 18 March.

Comments made will be reported back to Executive Board, along with any proposed changes to the draft policy prior to the policy being adopted by the Council.

Notes to editors:

Affordable housing policy applies to any applications for planning permission for 15 or more residential dwellings. Different amounts of affordable housing are required in different areas of Leeds.


Ends

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

Leeds museums in running for major national award


Caption: Abbey House Museum with its recreated Victorian Streets has been praised as a popular family attraction

Two museums in Leeds have been recognised for excellence after being nominated for a prestigious national award.

Both Leeds City Museum and Abbey House Museum in Kirkstall have been nominated on the longlist of the top 20 family museum attractions in the country, with the winner claiming the Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award – the only national museum award in Britain judged by families themselves.

Leeds and London are the only two cities to have more than one entry in the top-20 list, with the award-winning Leeds City Museum off Millennium Square in the city centre nominated after being praised by visitors for its friendly staff as well as the children’s play area Toddler Town which forms part of the Leeds Story gallery.

Kirkstall’s Abbey House Museum was selected after receiving praise for its recreation of Victorian streets and shops and the fancy dress element which allows children to try on Victorian costumes as part of the experience.

Both venues are managed by Leeds City Council’s museums and galleries service, and the council’s executive member for Leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“The fact we have had two of our attractions recognised in this way by visitors themselves is really pleasing and something to be very proud of.

“The staff in all our museums and galleries are constantly thinking of ways to engage children and families, and it is great that their efforts are being appreciated in this way so congratulations to them. To win this award would be fantastic and we look forward to seeing if we progress to the final shortist.”

The Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award is run by Kids in Museums, a visitor-led charity working with museums to make them family-friendly. A panel of museum experts led by Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund Jenny Abramsky will now reduce the longlist to a list of finalists which will be announced in mid-March.

Those shortlisted will then receive secret visits by families who will be judging their experience with the overall winner chosen from that feedback and announced in April.

Any families wishing to take part in the judging process can express their interest by emailing award@kidsinmuseums.org.uk

Find out more about the Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award or Kids in Museums visit kidsinmuseums.org.uk/awards.

Leeds City Museum and Abbey House Museum both have a great range of family activities for half-term. For more information on Leeds City Museum visit www.leeds.gov.uk/citymuseum/ or call 0113 224 3732.

To find out more about Abbey House Museum, visit www.leeds.gov.uk/abbeyhouse/ or call 0113 230 5492.

ENDS

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

Calverley Bridge household waste site closing

Residents are being reminded that the Calverley Bridge zero waste site is closing at the end of the month as part of a review to make recycling services in Leeds more efficient.

Calverley Bridge is known as a zero waste site, rather than household waste site, as it is open only for recycling and not for the collection of other domestic waste. Its closure from Sunday February 27 has been timed to coincide with the start of new kerbside recycling services in the area.

Garden waste brown bin collections are about to begin in the Pudsey, Calverley and Horsforth areas, and green recycling bins have been delivered to parts of Calverley not already covered.

Leeds City Council’s executive board agreed to the site’s closure last year after a detailed review revealed it accepted just 1,479 tonnes of items for recycling in 2008/9. This is only around 15% of what the busiest sites, Meanwood Road and Holmewell, took in during the same period.

The possibility of expanding the site was considered, but its capacity for this is extremely limited, as it is bordered by the Outer Ring Road, the Leeds-Liverpool Canal and the River Aire.

It is less than a 15-minute drive to the larger Milner’s Road and Pudsey household waste sites, both of which have the capacity to accept more recycling than Calverley could. Users of the Calverley site are being recommended to make use of these sites instead.

Councillor Tom Murray, executive member for environmental services, said:
“We are committed to helping Leeds become a much more sustainable city and developing more efficient waste management practices is a vital part of that. Closing Calverley Bridge, while introducing new kerbside recycling collections in the area, will help us achieve this.

“By aiming to recycle at least half of all the city’s waste by 2020 we will help greatly towards reducing its carbon footprint.”

Notes to editors:
A sign has been put up at Calverley Bridge informing residents of alternative arrangements for household waste at Grangefield Road in Pudsey and Milner’s Road in Yeadon. Once closed, Calverley Bridge will be declared surplus to council requirements. To find out more about what can be recycled at household waste sites go to www.leeds.gov.uk/recycleforleeds or call 0113 222 4406.


For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335
e-mail: donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk

ENDS

Spiceworld exhibition makes record-breaking start


Caption: The iconic Union Jack boots worn by Spice Girl Geri Halliwell are on display at the exhibition

The new exhibition devoted to the Spice Girls at Leeds City Museum is already proving a record-breaker.

In its first two weeks the exhibition based around memorabilia and merchandise from the most successful girl band of all time has attracted over 5,000 visitors – smashing all records for new exhibitions at the museum.

And news of its success has even made its way to Los Angeles, home of Leeds’ own Spice Girl Mel B. Such has been the number of messages she has received praising the exhibition, Mel replied on Twitter saying “Thank you for all your amazing pics from the Leeds Spice exhibition” and even hinting at a return to the city to see it in person by telling collector Liz West “I will make a point of taking a trip to you to see it all for myself.”

Since opening to the public on 28 January, over 5,400 people flocked to the museum off Millennium Square to visit the exhibition in its first two weeks. This compares to 3,500 who attended the first two weeks of the previous best attended exhibition, Dr Rock’s Lost Gallery which was on display last year.

Running until July, ‘Spiceworld: The exhibition’ is free to enter and 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.

The exhibition at Leeds City Museum is the first time Liz’s collection has ever been on display in its entirety in public and features outfits worn by the band, accessories, platinum discs, books, magazines and dolls being sourced from all over the world.

Spice Girls memorabilia collector Liz West said:

“I am absolutely delighted that so many people have taken an interest in coming to the exhibition. Everyone who has seen it seems to like it so that is great to see. Obviously it would be amazing if Mel B came along to see it for herself – the offer of a full tour is always open whenever she likes!”

Leeds City Museum curator of exhibitions Helen Langwick said:

“The visitor numbers for the first two weeks have been really impressive and we are all really pleased. People of all ages are coming along to see it and that shows it has the broad appeal that we were hoping it would.

“The fact so many people have been in touch with Mel B to praise the exhibition is really nice to hear. We look forward to welcoming thousands more people to see it in the coming weeks and months.”

As part of the exhibition, wannabe popstars will have the chance to emulate their heroes at a special tribute day on Friday 25 February. Taking place from 10:30am-12:30pm and 1:30pm-3:30pm, fans can visit the museum dressed as their favourite music star and have their photo taken which will be added to the wall on fame in the exhibition. They can also follow in the footsteps of their heroes and perform for their friends and family in the SingStar interactive zone.

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

For further information on Leeds City Museum, visit the website at http://www.leeds.gov.uk/citymuseum/

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.

ENDS

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