Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Lotherton Hall Springs into new era with Easter spectacular

Caption: Lotherton Hall will be the place to be this Easter weekend

Lotherton Hall in Leeds celebrates entering a new era with a Spring Spectacular of events and activities this Easter weekend.

A range of improvements are being carried out at the popular tourist attraction near Aberford as part of a major investment by Leeds City Council which manages the historic country house and its surrounding estate.

Visitors will be able to see some of the changes at the popular attraction on Saturday and Sunday (April 7-8), when a range of family activities will be taking place from 10am to 5pm each day.

In the house itself, the Drawing Room is being restored while the story of the former owners the Gascoigne family is told through video and audio recordings. Two of the upstairs bedrooms and bathrooms have been refurbished, while the Costume Gallery is showcasing ‘The Victorian Look Book’, an exhibition themed around classic Victorian fashion, wallpapers, textiles and furniture. Among the works featured in the exhibition supported by Morris & Co are those by famous names such as William Morris, Christopher Dresser, Pugin, Charles Rennie Macintosh and Charles Frederick Worth.

In the Stable Courtyard, the carriagehouses will be open with visitors able to see the original Edwardian fittings which are still intact, as well the carriage collection including the stagecoach once owned by the Earl of Derby complete with its fine silver stylings.

Sunday 8 April sees the first-ever farmers market held at Lotherton Hall, selling a wide range of goods and fresh produce. Also both inside and outside the house visitors will be able to follow trails while in addition there will be storytelling sessions.

Special ‘meet the keeper’ sessions will be taking place in the bird garden which is home to over 200 bird species including flamingos, owls, condors and hornbills, while there will also be demonstrations of how to make nest boxes to place in any garden.

A range of new tactile interactives are also being put in place in the bird garden, allowing an ideal learning experience such as being able to see how birds see through special ‘birdvision’.

Other changes in progress are the rockery being restored to its original style, while the orchard which has previously been closed to the public is now open up to visitors. A new woodland play area is opening soon offering a car-free safe zone ideal for family picnics.

A new pricing structure is now in place at Lotherton Hall, with visitors for the first time paying a single price for parking and access to all the facilities. New season-tickets are also now on sale, offering unlimited access to Lotherton Hall and the estate throughout the year.

The final change visitors will notice is that the attraction will now be open on Mondays when it was previously closed, and it will also be open all-year round after historically being closed throughout January and February.

Lotherton Hall estate manager Maria Akers said:

“Lotherton Hall is a fantastic day out for all the family, and this Spring Spectacular over the Easter weekend is the perfect chance to go along and see the improvements that have already been made to the house, the bird garden and the estate.

“With a range of fun activities and the first-ever farmers market at Lotherton Hall there is something for people of all ages to enjoy, and with all LEEDSCard holders gaining discounted entry it adds up to a great way to spend the Easter weekend.”

For more information on Lotherton Hall, visit the website at


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council, Tel 0113 247 5472

Councillors to consider cleaner, greener bin collections

Plans to up the number of eco-friendly vehicles that collect Leeds’ waste and recycling are set to go before councillors next week.

Members of the council’s executive board are being asked to approve the purchase of new refuse collection vehicles, including up to eight powered by biomethane gas.

With the cost of biomethane significantly less than diesel, gas powered bin wagons that would collect recycling from homes across the city, would look to protect the council from increasing fuel prices.

The council’s fleet of 70 recycling and rubbish trucks already includes one powered exclusively by biomethane. It has proven its green credentials with a 60% reduction in harmful carbon emissions compared to traditional vehicles. It has travelled over 20,500 miles with a much improved performance of miles per gallon as it collects over a thousand bins a day.

If approved, the cleaner, greener vehicles will be making good use of the council’s own award-winning gas refuelling station. They would also become part of the council’s growing fleet of hybrid and electric vehicles that cover over 142,000 miles a year.

Up to eight gas and five diesel-powered vehicles would be working six days a week, replacing a number of older vehicles.

But in keeping with the council’s reuse ethos, they would be kept as standby vehicles to be used while others are off the road. This would offer the council more savings by avoiding hire charges for replacement vehicles while essential maintenance is carried out.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental services said:

"While we have undoubtedly come a long way in recent years, it is absolutely vital that as a service we do not stand still and continue to pursue ways in which bin collections can be made even better in the future for residents.

"A key strand of achieving this goal is to have a fully efficient fleet. The sheer number of miles the vehicles travel day-in, day-out picking up bins across the city means we have to keep them in tip-top condition to avoid breakdowns.

"By therefore significantly investing in these new greener, eco-friendly, fuel efficient vehicles, we will be able to ensure that we continue to deliver a safe, efficient and reliable collection service, whilst also driving up our recycling rates."

Notes to editors:

• The report to councillors asks for approval to spend £1.85 million purchasing a total of 13 vehicles through the council’s official fleet procurement process.
• The final number of gas powered vehicles to be purchased will be determined through the procurement process.

For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 5177