Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Civic book celebrates a 40-year transformation of Leeds


A book that celebrates the work of Leeds’ Civic Architect, John Thorp, is officially launched on Monday 23 April 2012 at the Civic Hall in Leeds city centre.

Titled ‘From the Tile to the City’ it is a journey through civic architecture and design in the city of Leeds illustrating John Thorp’s 40-year participation in the transformation of Leeds from an industrial city to a vibrant 21st century city region.

The book goes on sale on Tuesday 24 April and is available from the Leeds Art Gallery and Leeds City Museum shops and priced at £20. All proceeds will go to The Lord Mayor’s Charity Appeal, which is supporting Voluntary Action Leeds. Every high school, sixth form college, further and higher education institute and the universities in Leeds will be given a copy for their library.

Commissioned by the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Charitable Foundation, in association with Leeds City Council, the book includes examples of architecture, urban design and regeneration from across the city. It not only celebrates Leeds’ rich architectural history including Holbeck and architectural gems like the Leeds Town Hall, but it also celebrates the regeneration of the city from the 1970s to date, including the creation of Millennium Square and all its surrounding buildings to present day with the construction of the Leeds Arena.

Edward Ziff, Trustee of the Foundation and Chairman and Chief Executive of Town Centre Securities PLC said:

"We have been delighted to assist in the production of this book in recognition of our family’s association with the city of Leeds over half a century. We believe ‘From the Tile to the City’ will become essential reading as an approach to city making. It is a thought provoking and fascinating book which anyone who has an interest in architecture, cities and indeed Leeds itself should take a look at."

Councillor Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council said:

"John Thorp has made an outstanding contribution to Leeds over the last 40 years and played an integral role in the architectural development of the city. This book is a valuable resource for anyone interested in how Leeds has transformed itself into a modern, vibrant city while retaining its rich heritage. This work continues today through the groundbreaking and innovative Leeds Arena and Trinity Leeds projects which mark a new chapter in the history of the city."

Leeds Civic Architect John Thorp said:

"Leeds has both a richness in its architectural character and a great diversity within its broad, landscape setting - qualities which distinguish it from many other cities.

"The book describes approaches to design which spring from responses to those contrasts between the fine detail of the city's fabric - exemplified by 'The Tile' - and the interwoven spaces and landscapes which form 'The City'. We have attempted to capture this interaction through stories of the gradual transformation of pieces of the city, changes based upon their rich historical legacies.

"This particular architectural journey is presented alongside the many, continuing contributions to the evolution of our remarkable city and its region.”


For press information please contact Roz Hughes on 07967 800395 or email or Roger Boyde at Leeds City Council on 0113 247 5472 or email

Notes to editors

Please note: Copies of the book for review are available on request by contacting Roz Hughes on 07967 800395. Members of the media are also invited to the book launch from 6pm – 8pm at the Civic Hall on Monday 23 April. Interview/photo opportunities with John Thorp are available on request. Please RSVP to Roz Hughes.

The Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Charitable Foundation: The objects of the Foundation are to provide for the under privileged and support for community projects at many levels including education, public realm and the Arts. During its 46 year history, it has donated over £20m and has been involved in many schemes in Leeds including the creation of “Tropical World” at Roundhay Park, Leeds Art Gallery and numerous enterprises with the University of Leeds including the recently completed Student Services building. In 2005 the Foundation became the main benefactor in creating the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Community Centre providing support to the Leeds Jewish Welfare Board.

Repairs service to be revamped for council tenants

A plan designed to improve the repair services for council tenants in Leeds has been agreed and will be implemented immediately.

Leeds City Council and Morrison, the contractor responsible for tenant repairs across the west and south of the city, have introduced an improvement plan that will tackle the failings in the current service.

The improvement plan will run until June 2012, by which time the service should have tackled all the issues and met tenants’ expectations. The improvement plan is a formal process which demands that, by the end of June, appointments will be kept, repairs will be completed to agreed timescales and to the satisfaction of tenants.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council Executive Board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods and housing, said:

“I am deeply concerned that, in many cases, tenants are having to wait too long for essential repairs to be carried out. I cannot emphasise how seriously I take this, and I expect to see significant improvement in the very near future.

“Tenants have every right to expect that when they contact us for help, the council and its contractors will respond to their needs as swiftly and effectively as possible. It is for that reason that we have agreed an improvement plan with Morrison that, when implemented, will ensure that tenants’ expectations are met.

I would like to reassure tenants that we will be tracking progress very closely and I expect to see significant improvement in the very near future.”

Cathy Clelland, Chair of West North West Homes Leeds, said:
“There have been many problems since the introduction of this contract, which has resulted in a great deal of frustration and inconvenience for tenants. Some elements of performance have shown a gradual improvement but others unfortunately remain. We will be making the implementation of the service improvement plan with Morrison a top priority and will be conducting a full review of outstanding cases.”

Notes to editors:

Morrison is the contractor responsible for tenants' repairs in Two Arm’s Length Management Organisations in Leeds; West North West Homes and Aire Valley Homes.


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