Friday, 28 October 2011

Save time, journeys and the planet with new recycling opening hours

Don’t waste time in doing your bit to save the planet by taking the chance to drop off recycling on the way to work or college in Leeds from next week.

Extended opening hours at Leeds’ nine household waste sites mean that people can save on time and extra journeys by being able to drop off recycling an hour earlier.

From Monday October 31 the sites will be open from 8am instead of 9am, while still closing at 4pm. Leeds City Council has managed to extend access by rearranging shift patterns and restructuring operations.

Summer opening hours will be extended even further, with the centres not only opening at 8am from April but remaining open thought the summer till 6pm instead of 5pm.

The city’s household waste sites make a major contribution to the amount of re-usable waste collected. In the past year alone (up till July) they achieved an average of 62.8% of all waste left there being recycled. This was a rise of 3.4% on the previous year’s total.

Leeds is aiming to recycle half of all its waste by the year 2020, with the overall total recycled surpassing the 40% mark several times in the past few months. This means that the city’s recycling rate has doubled since it was 19.6% six years ago.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental services, Leeds City Council, said:
“Our household waste sites are well-used and popular and their recycling rates are consistently high, so it makes absolute sense to make them as accessible as possible.

“Now we have these earlier opening hours commuters could easily incorporate dropping unwanted items off on the way to work and help contribute towards our target of recycling half of all the city’s waste by 2020.”

For information on your local household waste sites and what you can bring there go to 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

ENDS

Leeds set to celebrate Faces of Africa

A new not-for-profit organisation which aims to celebrate Leeds’ rich cultural diversity will be launched this weekend.

Faces of Africa Festival is a community-based initiative which aims to provide a platform for people of African origin living in Leeds to showcase the diversity of their culture.

It intends to increase awareness and promote understanding, tolerance and cohesion amongst the diverse cultures in Leeds. The organisers are planning a range of events throughout the year under their theme “Progress in Diversity”, which will include music, dance, arts, food and other cultural events.

A launch event will take place this Saturday, October 29, at Leeds Civic Hall. The event will be opened by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, with other dignitaries invited to attend including local MPs and representatives from African embassies and businesses.

Councillor Rev. Alan Taylor, Lord Mayor of Leeds, said:

“Leeds has a wonderfully rich and diverse culture to which many different nationalities make a tremendous contribution. The Faces of Africa Festival gives us a great opportunity to celebrate the unique contribution that African culture has made to our city and will continue to make in the future.

“The organisers are planning a varied programme of events and I am sure there will be something for everyone from all walks of life to enjoy.”

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For media enquiries, please contact;
James Hopton, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3602
Email: james.hopton@leeds.gov.uk

One stop one shop for Leeds customer services

Council chiefs are to discuss plans that will vastly improve customer services in the city centre, while also delivering much needed efficiency savings for the council.

The proposals, which are part of the council’s Changing the Workplace Initiative, will see a range of customer services brought together under one roof. Currently services are spread across a range of city centre locations.

At a meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board next week (Wednesday 2 November), executive board members will be recommended to approve expenditure to start phase one of the integrated one stop centre. As part of the scheme access will be provided to on line services and self serve technology, allowing those residents who want to access council services electronically either from home or in a council office to do so.

The one stop centre will offer a number of linked up services that were not available in one place before. This includes the registrars service for birth and deaths notification. A brand new service called ‘Tell Us Once’ will also operate , where the council will notify other organisations of a birth and death to save the resident the time and hassle of doing so.

The one stop centre located at 2 Great George Street delivers a number of customer services already and will be the main location for phase 1 of this project. Refurbishment works will be going on from January 2012.

Bringing services together at the Great George street site will save the council over £200,000 in just the first phase. New services which will be brought into phase 1 at 2 Great George Street include; education queries, registrar services and legal and licensing.


Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:

“This is an excellent opportunity for us to improve the service we offer our customers. These changes will make sure the council can offer modern, fit for purpose customer services in one convenient, city centre location. The added benefit is that these plans will also provide long-term financial savings for the Council.

“Bringing services together, initially at Great George Street, will make it easier for customers to get help from different parts of the council at the same time, ensuring we offer a much better all round service.

“It will become much easier for people to access the council in a variety of ways including through face to face contact.

“We have already had huge success with our new joint service centres in Chapeltown and Harehills, and a new one stop centre in the city would add to this excellent offering.”

There are two phases in creating the enhanced city centre one stop centre – phase one will see a cash injection to bring together an increased range of services at 2 Great George Street and includes refurbishment and investment in better services . Phase two, which will be planned over the next few years and is part of a wider scheme in the city centre, will continue the process of improving the customer experience and may also involve the opportunity to work with other partners.

As part of the process of looking into the idea of a one location one stop centre, residents as well as councillors were consulted earlier this year.

For more information the report is located here http://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=102&MId=5232&Ver=4

Notes to editors:

Currently 2 Great George Street handles enquires on;
• Council Tax
• Housing
• Benefits
• Adult Social Care
• Environmental and StreetScene services
• welfare rights
• Children’s services, car parking services
• Energy Advice
• LEEDSCard
• Housing options
• Leeds City Credit Union
• The Job Shop

Merrion House currently houses general enquiries for children’s services, adult social care and environment and neighbourhoods.

Other services that are spread across the city centre are;
• Development and planning
• Registrar
• Legal, licensing and regulatory
• Education related enquiries

Landlord fined £7000 for failing to license property

A Leeds landlord has been fined over £7000 for failing to license his property.

Mr Nigel Hasson of 192 Ring Road, Crossgates, Leeds, was found guilty in Leeds Magistrates Court on Thursday 20 October 2011 and fined £7000 and ordered to repay costs of £1420.70 together with a victim surcharge of £15.

As part of a campaign to improve housing in the Cross Green and East End Park part of the city , the Selective Licensing Scheme ensures that all owners of privately-rented properties need a licence to operate. Failure to get a licence, or comply with the conditions, can lead to a fine.

Under the scheme all landlords who rent out property in the Cross Green Selective Licensing area must make an application for a licence before renting out the property.

In this case several letters were sent to the Mr Hasson in an effort to persuade him to obtain a licence and but this was unsuccessful.

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

“This is another successful outcome, and serves as a further warning to Landlords who are still ignoring the rules.

“There are plenty of landlords who are working with the council to ensure this scheme works, and it is important that all landlords in the area understand the results of not obtaining a license.”


Notes to editors:

The cost of the five year Selective Licence is normally £525 which equates to approximately £2.00 per week over a five year period.

Where a landlord holds a current HMO Licence for a property within the Selective Licence Area they do not need to apply for a further Licence under the Selective Licensing provisions.

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