Wednesday, 3 August 2011

New youth cabin for popular city centre meeting-place

Picture caption "Cllr Jane Dowson (centre, purple dress) meets young people and youth workers at the new cabin in Chancellor Court."

3 August 2011

Young people who meet-up in the city centre will now be able to access dedicated youth support where it’s needed most, when a new youth cabin opens near the Corn Exchange.

For several years, young people, who often enjoy alternative cultures – known as Goths, moshers and emos - have congregated around the Chancellor Court area of city centre, behind the Corn Exchange. The large groups can seem intimidating to shoppers and nearby businesses, so the new cabin, run by Leeds City Council’s youth service, will help these young people find a constructive outlet for their energy and enthusiasm.

The cabin will be located right where the young people already meet and will complement the existing youth provision in the area, which includes a street based team and the Saturday night city centre youth project “Domaine”. The street based team tackles crime and anti-social behaviour in the city centre and is supported by the police, Business Against Crime in Leeds (BACIL) and the council’s youth offending service.

Councillor Jane Dowson, deputy executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“Bringing youth work right to the heart of where these young people already congregate will mean they can continue to enjoy using this space in a manner which doesn’t disrupt local businesses and shoppers.

“These young people have a real passion in their interests, but their enthusiasm and energy can seem intimidating to passers-by. This facility gives our youth workers an opportunity to encourage and nurture the young people’s diverse interests with positive activities and events and offer advice to these young people.”

Throughout the summer holidays the cabin will be open five days a week – Tuesday to Saturday and then four days a week afterwards – Tuesday to Friday. It will provide somewhere for the young people to go to access support and advice and will be the base for the city centre summer activity programme. The young people will be encouraged to help organise activities and events around their own interests to help focus their creativity and encourage their ambitions.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Rediscover rounders at Roundhay

Anyone keen to relive their school days by taking part in a fun game of rounders should head to Roundhay Park this weekend.

As part of a national drive to reintroduce the game to those who played it at school, matches have been arranged at the park during August which are free for anyone aged 16 and over to take part in.

The first game takes place at Soldiers Field this Saturday (6 August) from 1pm-3pm with further matches to be held there at the same times on Sunday 14 August and Sunday 21 August.

The games are open to anyone to turn up and play, whatever the weather, with all equipment supplied. Trainers and clothes suitable for exercise are advised, along with water and sun protection if required.

The games have been organised by Leeds City Council’s sport development unit in partnership with national governing body Rounders England as part of their ‘Back to Rounders’ campaign.

Leeds City Council’s older peoples' sport development officer Allyson Bertram, who will be managing the games, said:

“I’m sure everyone remembers playing rounders at school and how much fun it was but most people are unlikely to have played it since.

“These games offer a the perfect chance for people to come along and relive those days, meet new people and have lots of fun – all for free. The games will be played in a relaxed and friendly spirit with the emphasis on fun, so it would be great to see lots of people coming along rediscovering their rounders skills and having a go.”

For more information contact Allyson Bertram on 0113 395 0196 or email

For more information on Rounders England, visit the website at


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, email:

Cameras to give close-up of bus lane abuse

Rogue drivers dodging through Leeds bus lanes are finding dummy fines landing on their doormats- but ignoring them could be a costly mistake, for if they do it again they could be fined for real.

From Monday 8 August new bus lane cameras, which have been taking a trial run and issuing warnings to make their presence known, go live by sending out enforcement notices leading to real penalty charges of £60 (reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days).

The cameras, operated by Leeds City Council, have been filming motorists’ abuse of bus lanes in the fortnight leading up to the new fines and issuing warning notices.

The idea is to make sure that the cameras act as a deterrent to drivers considering ducking into the lanes. This is aimed at keeping them clear for the real users- buses- to help the flow of traffic, particularly in the city centre.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive member for development, said:

“We have been warning motorists that this scheme is on the way for quite some time now and the current dummy ticket period is further reinforcement of that. In an ideal world everyone would obey the law and we would have no need to do this, but our surveys show that abuse of bus lanes is rife and it therefore needs to be clamped down on to help keep the city moving.

“My message is that driving in bus lanes has long been illegal, you have been warned and you will no longer get away with it.”

A survey by Leeds City Council In late January found nearly 2,000 drivers- 1,941 in total- illegally cutting into city centre bus lanes over three days in the same week. The vast majority of these offences took place during the morning rush from 7.30-9am, holding up buses full of commuters and other passengers.

In one case- along the Wellington Road lane adjacent to Clyde Approach- 572 drivers were seen to break the law on the same day by using the bus lane.

Metro, which co-ordinates the transport for West Yorkshire, is supporting the scheme.

Metro Chairman Councillor James Lewis said:

“Bus lanes are designed to enable buses, which can be carrying the same number of people as 30 or more cars, to skip congested stretches of the road and deliver passengers to their destinations quickly and efficiently.

“By ignoring the restrictions on bus lanes, which usually only apply at peak times, and using them illegally, inconsiderate motorists are cancelling out the advantages they provide and shouldn’t therefore be surprised to face a fine for this selfish behaviour.”

The council has recently acquired the responsibility from the police for enforcing rules on keeping bus lanes clear. Certain vehicles other than buses, such as emergency vehicles and registered taxis (but not private hire vehicles) are allowed to use the lanes. The majority of vehicles, however, cannot and road signs make it clear what restrictions apply. Cameras are also clearly marked. If the cameras are successful at improving traffic flows, the council also intends at a later stage to introduce a mobile camera to tackle the same issue elsewhere.

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


New family homes coming to Leeds

Work has started on an exciting new inner city housing development that is set to provide 24 family homes and bungalows for local people in Leeds.

The inner city brownfield site at Scott Hall Square, will provide 24 new family homes for social rent and shared ownership thanks to Leeds City Council’s Strategic Affordable Housing Partnership.

Leeds City COuncil in partnership with Unity Housing Association and the Homes & Communities Agency have commenced work on the £2.4m development with contractor Frank, Haslam Milan, part of the Keepmoat group.

The development will be made up of 24 two, three and four bedroomed houses, 13 for rent and 11 for low cost sale. The scheme will also include bungalows for older people and accommodation for people with disabilities.

Unity ensured that a local labour clause was included in the contract and as a result 6 work placements have been created. The successful candidates are from a range of backgrounds including local people from the Scott Hall area, Unity Housing Association tenants and young people from Chapeltown Youth Development centre project.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council, Executive Board Member with responsibility for Neighbourhoods, Housing and Regeneration said:

“This development will support the council in achieving its aim of increasing the number of affordable homes for the city in addition to providing specific regeneration benefits for the local community including an area of greenspace.

“I look forward to seeing the finished result.”

Ian Allen at Frank, Haslam, Milan said:

“Providing work placements for members of the local community enables us to provide valuable experience in a variety of trade areas to enhance their future employment skills. Within this difficult current climate it’s a pleasure to be associated with a client that recognises this and we shall be looking forward to supporting and up skilling local people through our skilled workforce.”

Wayne Noteman, Regeneration Director at Unity Housing Association said:

“This development is a great example of how the Homes and Communities Agency, the Council, Unity and local people can work together to build much needed affordable homes.

“We’re pleased that we are able to offer opportunities for local people to improve their skills and employability through work placements. We hope to work closely with the people living around the site in order to leave a long-lasting legacy in the community.”

The properties which will be built to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4, will have a range of energy saving measures which will make the properties approximately 40% more energy efficient than houses built to current Building Regulations. This will significantly reduce energy bills for prospective residents.

A Local Lettings Plan will be devised in consultation with local ward members, in addition to a nominations agreement to ensure the scheme meets the needs and aspirations of the local community.

Notes to editors:

In March 2011 Unity Housing Associations was successful in a bid to the HCA as part of the National Affordable Housing mini bidding round for grant funding of £965,000 to develop this site.

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