Tuesday, 26 July 2011

New policy to control sexual entertainment venues moves a step closer

Leeds City Council has drawn up a new policy to ensure that sexual entertainment venues in the city operate in a safe, fair and discreet manner and are sensitive to the local area.

The draft policy pays particular attention to advertising, staff welfare and the external appearance of the premises at sex establishments, including venues like lap-dancing clubs and strip clubs, sex shops and sex cinemas.

Following an extensive public consultation the council’s licensing committee today endorsed the new policy and referred it to the council’s executive board for a final decision.

During the consultation, some people suggested the council should not allow any sexual entertainment venues in the city. Whilst this was considered, the new policy proposes that raising standards and providing a fair working environment is better enabled and enforced through a licensing regime.

Councillor Suzi Armitage, chair of the licensing committee said:

“We have spent the last few months speaking to many groups and organisations to help us fully understand people’s concerns about sex entertainment venues to help us draft the policy.

“This new policy is not about endorsing such venues but will help us control where they can be located, preventing them from opening up in inappropriate areas. But we also want to ensure they operate in a safe and discreet way so the policy also looks at how we can best protect staff welfare and control advertising and external appearance.”

During the consultation, the council sought the views of the police, industry and support groups, local religious groups, ward members and local MPs as well as members of the public.

The new policy aims to strike a balance between the needs of the businesses to market their venues, the need to protect the image of the city and the desire of the public not to have sexual images blatantly displayed. As part of the new policy, the council must approve the external appearance of these venues.

The welfare of dancers at sex entertainment venues is a high priority of the new policy and research carried out by the University of Leeds has been considered in the development of the new policy.

The research showed staff often avoided reporting crimes as they were unsure how to do it safely and confidentially so the new policy would also require that all premises provide this information to new staff as part of a “Dancer’s Welfare Pack”. In addition, codes of conduct for staff and customers are required and will be scrutinised as part of the application process.

The licensing regime starts a transitional phase on 1 October 2011 with all new licenses coming into effect from 1 October 2012. The Sexual Entertainment Venue Statement of Licensing Policy will be available from the council’s website at www.leeds.gov.uk/spc from 1 October.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk

Redeveloped East Leeds household waste site prepares for re-launch

Work is nearly complete on the transformation of East Leeds household waste site into what will be the city’s largest and most sophisticated recycling centre.

It is due to re-open on Monday August 15 with improved access to both the public and businesses to recycle, and will feature a re-use shop where good-quality used household items will be re-sold at low cost. The re-use shop is the first of its kind in Leeds and will be run by Revive – a community interest group made up of three local charities; Emmaus, SLATE and St. Jude’s.

Meanwhile, the smaller Gamblethorpe household waste site is preparing for closure on August 31 once East Leeds is fully up and running.

Users of the Gamblethorpe site, for which the council was unable to extend the existing temporary planning permission, will be able to benefit from the new, state-of-the-art East Leeds facilities on Limewood Road, Seacroft, or use other sites such as Holmewell Road in Middleton or Stanley Road near to St James’ Hospital. A new agreement with Wakefield council also means that, with permission, residents can also use a nearby household waste site in Castleford.

Improvements to East Leeds include more recycling containers, helping residents to recycle a wider range of materials, as well as clearer signage, improved traffic flow and easier ways to drop off waste.

A key benefit from the redevelopment is that the site will also be able to offer small and medium-sized businesses the option to recycle or dispose of their waste at a reasonable cost.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental services, said:
“The new facilities at East Leeds will make a significant contribution helping us increase recycling rates in the city to reduce landfill costs and benefit the environment. The redevelopment will make it much easier for both the public and trade users to recycle more.

”It was disappointing that we were unable to extend the planning permission at the Gamblethorpe site but we have made sure there are many other nearby options for residents who previously used this site.”

Leeds City Council is aiming to recycle more than half of all the city’s waste by 2020 and East Leeds is one of the few household waste sites not to have already benefited from a major overhaul of facilities.

Information about recycling and sites available across the city is on the Recycle for Leeds pages on the council’s website at www.leeds.gov.uk/recycleforleeds

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


Families given help with first step onto the housing ladder

Caption: (From left) Louise Upton and her mum Joyce Upton outside their new homes

A new rent to mortgage scheme has allowed two families to take their first steps onto the housing ladder.

Mr and Mrs Upton were living with their daughter and her partner in an overcrowded four- bedroom house before they found out about a new housing opportunity.

Now, thanks to an innovative Rent to Mortgage scheme developed by Leeds City Council the two families have a chance to own their own homes.

Working in partnership with Bellway Homes, 10 brand new, two and three bedroom homes in east Leeds have been made available under the Rent to Mortgage scheme. The scheme is aimed at making home ownership more accessible for low earning Leeds residents.
Before the Upton family found out about the scheme, there were seven family members living in an overcrowded four bed council house.

Expectant mother Louise Upton and her partner Daniel O’Connell have been struggling to save up a deposit for their own home while living with her parents and older brother.

Both households are working, but like everyone else have been feeling the squeeze in the recession. The new scheme has given both families the chance to have their own space and own their own home.

Mrs Joyce Upton is extremely pleased with her new home, and can’t wait to move in.
She said:
“We have worked hard all our lives, and it is nice to be able to see our money going to good use and getting us onto the housing ladder.

“Having the two houses next to each other gives us enough of our own space, but with the added extra that we are still close by to help one another out.

“I am so pleased, myself and my family have been able to benefit from this scheme, and also free up a family home for someone on the housing list.”

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods, housing and regeneration said:

“This is a great scheme, which allows local people a more affordable chance of getting onto the housing ladder, with the backing of the council.

“The new, energy efficient homes, give families who may not have been able to afford a home without added support, to now consider this option.”

“I hope to see this scheme rolled out across other parts of the city as we continue to support the local people of Leeds.”

Angelena Fixter, chair of ENEHL Board said:

“It’s fantastic to be able to support this opportunity for local people and give them the chance to realise their aspirations of home ownership.”

The scheme offers families an attractive rent level and a tenancy of up to five years in which to save up a deposit for a mortgage for all, or a part, of the cost of their home.

The 10 homes are located on the Oakwoods in Gipton and Parkside in Seacroft, have energy efficient gas central heating, fitted kitchens and family sized bathrooms.

Leeds City Council’s Regeneration Team has developed the scheme alongside East North East Homes Leeds, who will manage the new tenure type on behalf of the council.

Notes to editors:

East North East Homes Leeds (ENEHL)
East North East Homes Leeds is one of three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO) that manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council. It is wholly owned by the council, which retains ownership of housing stock and sets rents.

East North East Homes Leeds manages 19,000 council-owned residential properties in Boston Spa, Burmantofts, Chapel Allerton, Chapeltown, Collingham, Gipton, Halton Moor, Harehills, Linton, Meanwood, Moor Allerton, Moortown, Seacroft, and Wetherby.

Leeds Regeneration is …
• Working with the community and partners to improve neighbourhoods
• Investing now and for the future
• Improving quality of life and choices for local people

For further information on Leeds regeneration please call 0113 247 8125 or email eastleedsregeneration@leeds.gov.uk.


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