Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Enjoy a Halloween fright at Temple Newsam


Caption: Visitors to Temple Newsam House this week may encounter the ghost of the infamous 'Blue Lady' (image courtesy of Friends of Temple Newsam Park)

Things are likely to go bump in the night at Temple Newsam this week as Leeds celebrates Halloween.

Family events will be held on Wednesday and Saturday (26 and 29 October) to give people of all ages a fright at the historic house and Home Farm managed by Leeds City Council.

The first event takes place from 1-3pm on Wednesday 26 October with traditional pumpkin carving. Admission is free and children will have the chance to turn their pumpkins into a unique Halloween masterpiece.

This is followed on Saturday from 5:30-8pm with a fancy dress evening full of ghosts, ghouls and ghastly apparitions. Treats will be on offer around the darkened house and the farm but those attending will need to beware as a fright may be waiting just around the corner.

Booking is essential for the evening event, which is priced at £6.50 for adults and £4 for children, with a family ticket priced at £20 and a 20 per cent discount for LEEDSCard holders.

One of the mystery guests visitors may encounter in the house could be the infamous ‘Blue Lady’ - thought to be Mary Ingram, daughter of former owner of the house Sir Thomas Ingram. Mary died in 1652 aged just 14 following a breakdown after being subjected to a highway robbery, and her ghost shrouded in blue has been spotted many times since roaming the house.

Temple Newsam estate manager Maria Akers said:

“We love putting these Halloween events on at Temple Newsam as the children really get into the spirit and have a fantastic time. Everyone gets to see the house and farm in a whole new way under the cover of darkness so we look forward to lots of families and people of all ages coming along and having a great time.”

For more information and to book tickets for the Halloween evening event on Saturday 29 October, call 0113 264 5535 or email Temple.Newsam@leeds.gov.uk

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council,Tel 0113 247 5472
Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

Blue Badge national reform programme

Changes to the Blue Badge Disabled Parking Permit Scheme brought about by the government’s national reform programme are due to take effect in the new year.

From 1 January 2012, all local authorities will be obliged to use a new national service for the production and despatch of Blue Badges, which will result in changed processes and increased costs to the council including a charge of £4.60 for every permit issued by the new service. Councils will continue to assess and process all applications to the scheme.

The Department of Transport (DfT) has acknowledged that the reforms will cost local authorities more to administer, and are proposing to change current legislation in order to increase the amount that councils are allowed to charge those issued with a badge from £2 to a maximum of £10 per permit.

Leeds City Council does not currently charge for Blue Badge permits, but these reforms will see the cost of each permit issued increase from £8.08 to £14.54. In view of this, council chiefs are to be asked to approve the introduction of a £10 administration charge for each permit issued at a meeting of its executive board next week.

This amount will not fully cover the cost of administering the new system, but will help to reduce the negative impact it will have on the council’s overall budget. The new charge will not be payable by everyone however, as it is proposed that there will be no charge for Blue Badges for children up to the age of 16, terminally ill people, war pensioners or armed forces personnel. In addition replacement of a lost or stolen blue badge will attract a reduced charge of only £5.

Whilst many councils have not made a final decision on charging , the information available suggests that most others will also be implementing a £10 charge.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for adult health and social care said:
“The council is being forced to follow the government’s national reform programme, as we will no longer be able to produce a legal Blue Badge permit locally from 1 January 2012.

“Whilst we acknowledge that the key objective of the reforms are to reduce fraud and abuse of the current system, unfortunately the changes will create more work for us and cost more to administer.

“As we struggle with a £90million gap in funding this year, we have no choice but to look at what we can do to minimise the effect that this additional cost will have on our already stretched resources. For this reason, we are reluctantly recommending that a charge of £10 is implemented. This will not cover the total cost that the council will have to pick up, but will mean less resources will have to be redirected from other services.

“The Blue Badge Scheme makes a real difference to millions of disabled people everyday. I hope that the new system helps to make life easier for such people by providing better access to the available parking spaces”

In addition to national consultation undertaken by the DfT, Leeds has consulted on the full range of reforms locally. This included consultation with approximately 70 disabled people and their carers, a focus group facilitated by an independent disabled organisation and a postal survey of 2000 current permit holders.

Whilst this consultation exercise has not fully concluded, it has confirmed that many respondents place a very high importance on the value of their permit, and the flexibility this provides for them.

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Additional info

Executive board will be asked to approve the introduction of an administration charge of £10 from 1 January 2012. There will be no charge for Blue Badges for children, terminally ill people, war pensioners or armed forces personnel.

Leeds City Council has written to transport minister Norman Baker MP to voice concerns that there are currently no national business continuity arrangements in place for if the new service is not fully operational on 1 January 2012.

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