Thursday, 5 January 2012

National champion joins Leeds children for an inspiring walk

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When: Monday 9th January 14.00 hrs
Where: Adel Primary School , Leeds
With: British race walking champion Tom Bosworth and Caroline Spelman , Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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With just 200 days to go before the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games, British race walker Tom Bosworth and government minister Caroline Spelman will join children from two Leeds primary schools to launch an initiative which will see schoolchildren across the city walking the history of the games.

Walk the History of the Games will see schools going head-to-head in a race to walk, scoot and cycle their way around the globe as part of a challenge to help promote a congestion-busting, healthy and environmentally friendly way of travelling to school.

The aim of the challenge is to accumulate mileage that will enable schools to travel from the Olympic Games in Athens in 1896 through time and distance to London 2012, learning interesting facts about previous host cities along the way – while keeping fit and healthy.

Tom Bosworth will be getting the children of Adel and Adel St John primary schools off to a flying start with top tips for how to walk faster and make your steps count. He will also be overseeing walking races between children from various year groups at the two schools.

Tom, 21, is a British race walker who hopes to make the Olympic team his year. He is currently ranked top in the UK for 20kms in the under-23 age group. He competed for England in the 20 km race walk in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010 and set a UK 5000m race walk record this year. Tom currently trains full-time at the UK race walking centre at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Caroline Spelman, Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, will be travelling from London to join in the launch event.

Walk the History of the Games is one of 14 projects and programmes in Leeds that have been awarded the Inspire Mark by London 2012.

The London 2012 Inspire programme recognises innovative projects that are directly inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Tom Bosworth said: “Walking is an environmentally friendly way to travel and keeps you fit at the same time . By walking the history of the games children can feel they really are a part of this great worldwide movement. But the idea is that this project does not end when the Olympics finish. The Inspire programme is ensuring the legacy of the 2012 Games lives on by enabling children in Leeds to make positive life changes that will last for life.”

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive board member with responsibility for leisure, said:

“Athletes like Tom Bosworth are an inspiration to children and young people everywhere. This initiative is a great way of getting young people involved with the Olympics and keeping them fit and healthy. Today’s ministerial visit underlines the importance of what we are trying to achieve. “

The scheme, which was developed by Leeds City Council transport policy section, is being delivered throughout West Yorkshire by the five district councils in partnership with the WYPTE (Metro).

There is still time for your school to take part. Leeds schools should email to register their interest.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Annie Goodyear Leeds City Council press office (0113) 2243937

Lower targets for cheap homes will lay foundations for more building

Lower targets for the number of affordable homes builders in Leeds are required to include within new developments are to be retained for the foreseeable future.

The revised targets were introduced earlier this year to encourage housebuilding following the credit crunch, which left many first time buyers unable to get mortgages and developers struggling to raise finance.

The shortage of funds meant housebuilding dried up, with many developers unable to build housing schemes at all, let alone with affordable housing.

As a result the council introduced lower interim affordable housing targets to get the housing market moving again, informed by a report on economic viability compiled by consultants DTZ.

Since the new policy was approved in May 2011 a number of developers who already had planning permission for developments based on the old higher targets then resubmitted them with lower figures for affordable homes.

As a result a scrutiny board recommended the higher targets be re-introduced. While the executive board sympathised with their concerns about the actions of some developers it decided to retain the lower targets and give the new policy more time to see what effect it has on housebuilding.

The executive board also supported the introduction of a new requirement that building must be completed within two years of the planning permission being granted to encourage building sooner. Councillors hope this policy will help get the housing market going and provide much-needed new jobs.

Councillors also committed to keep the policy under review and raise the affordable housing targets once the market has recovered.

Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for city development said:

“We all want to see more affordable homes being built, but we have to be realistic. If we set the target for affordable homes too high we run the risk that developers will be put off and there will be no building at all.

“The important thing is to get the construction industry moving again which will provide jobs and stimulate the local economy as well as providing much needed new homes”


For media enquiries, please contact;
Annie Goodyear Leeds City Council press office (0113) 2243937

Heritage grant helps attract new business to Chapeltown

Another historic building has been refurbished as part a regeneration programme in Chapeltown.

The property at 138 Chapeltown Road has attracted anti social behaviour in the past, but with the help of Chapeltown Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) grant funding, it will open as a child care facility this month providing a valuable boost for local employment opportunities.

The impressive Victorian building has been restored with paint being removed to reveal the York stone, the roof being repaired and insulated, new rainwater goods installed, along with timber sash windows, a timber panelled front door and heritage railings reinstated.

The Chapeltown THI is being funded by Leeds City Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, with contributions from the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative, and private investment from owners of businesses benefiting from the scheme.

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All media are invited to the opening of 138 Chapeltown Road at 2pm on 6 January 2012. Please call the press office on 0113 2474450 to arrange attendance.

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The THI scheme is investing to maintain and enhance the rich architectural legacy of Chapeltown Road and help make it an attractive area for businesses, shoppers and residents alike. The building will be opened by Fabian Hamilton MP on Friday 6 January 2012 at 2pm.

Phill Knowles, owner of 138 Chapeltown Road, said:

“We were pleased to receive support from the THI towards the extensive costs of external refurbishment. We’re proud of the work undertaken by all contractors to bring a landmark community building back to life.”

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

‘’In Chapeltown we are starting to see how heritage led regeneration can be good for business. By investing in Chapeltown’s historic buildings, schemes such as the THI, are helping to support local businesses as well as attracting new enterprises to Chapeltown Road”.

Dr Fiona Spiers, head of the heritage lottery fund in Yorkshire and the Humber, said:

“The Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted that the THI is beginning to make real improvements in Chapeltown and that the future of some of the area’s distinctive heritage character is being secured.”

Leeds City Council Notes to editors:

The Townscape Heritage Initiative is a nation wide scheme which offers grants that help communities to regenerate Conservation Areas displaying particular social and economic need.

The Chapeltown THI targets key blocks of Victorian and Edwardian properties on Chapeltown Road providing grants to bring high quality heritage restoration including reinstatement of architectural features, shop front repair and renewal.

HLF Notes to editors:

HLF’s Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) encourages partnerships of local organisations to carry out repairs and other works to a number of historic buildings, structures or spaces. Grants range from £500,000 to £2m. To date, HLF has invested over £200m regenerating towns that have suffered serious social and economic decline.

Further information:

For the HLF Press Office please contact Vicky Wilford, 020 7591 6046 / 07973 401 937,email


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