Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Council chiefs to discuss golden London 2012 legacy for Leeds

Caption: The Brownlee brothers

Senior councillors in Leeds will discuss how to capitalise on the success of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games at a meeting next week.

At the meeting to be held at Civic Hall on Wednesday 5 September, the council’s executive board will debate how best to build on the success of the Games, which saw a wave of Olympic euphoria sweep the nation as Team GB enjoyed its best performance in over a century with 29 gold medals out of a total of 65 to finish third in the medal table.

Yorkshire athletes played a key role in the team collecting 12 medals in total including seven golds, with Leeds boxer Nicola Adams and triathlon star Alistair Brownlee becoming Olympic champions while cyclist Lizzie Armitstead won silver and Jonathan Brownlee claimed bronze in the triathlon behind his older brother.

Such was the success of Yorkshire as a county, had it been competing in its own right it would have been 12th in the final medal table. And this success is likely to be added to at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, which begin tomorrow (Wednesday 29 August) and for the first time ever are expected to be a complete sell-out.

A new strategy for sport in Leeds is currently being drawn up, which has seen all key stakeholders in the city consulted as to the wide-ranging role sport can play in the future of Leeds. The target has been set for Leeds to become the most active big city in the UK, as part of the broader challenge of being seen as the best city in the UK overall and the most child friendly city in the country.

Possible proposals to bring this about include the creation of an annual Olympic legacy fund of £100,000, while also exploring the possibility of working with the National Health Service to introduce increased affordable access to council sports and leisure centres, based on a scheme which has proven highly successful in Birmingham.

A focus of the new strategy would be to offer greater access to sport to those in more deprived areas of the city, and especially to young people, while links between school sports, local community clubs and sports run by volunteers would be strengthened.

Continued development of disability sport would be another area of focus, as well as stronger partnerships with adult social care programmes to help people remain active as they get older. Sport is recognised as playing a key role in helping people of all ages live healthy lifestyles, so closer working with the NHS would include school health checks to improve the health and wellbeing in particular of children and young people.

At the elite level of sport, the Leeds stars of London 2012 and other leading sportspeople in the city would be encouraged to be ambassadors for sport in Leeds. Discussions are also already underway with Sport England and national sport governing bodies for Leeds to possibly become a pilot city for new programmes to discover and develop the sports stars of the future.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“The success of the London 2012 Olympic Games was something I’m sure none of us in Leeds and Great Britain will ever forget. The way the whole nation became gripped by it and the astonishing success of Team GB and our Leeds athletes showed just what a powerful force sport can be in bringing people together and inspiring everyone with such an immense surge of national pride."

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“The slogan of the Olympics was ‘inspire a generation’, but from talking to people and seeing and hearing the public response it seems to have actually inspired every generation to want to be more active. That is incredible to see, and our challenge now is to help make that happen and do all we can to not only produce more Olympic champions but make Leeds the most active big city in the UK with the health benefits and opportunities that sport can offer being made available to everyone to enjoy.”

For details of Leeds’ involvement in the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, visit http://www.leedsgold.co.uk/


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

Final countdown to fabulous Fantasia

Caption: Fireworks light up Kirkstall Abbey at Classical Fantasia

Final preparations are being made at historic Kirkstall Abbey for this weekend’s spectacular Classical Fantasia.

The performance of open-air classical music set in the grounds of the 12th century abbey takes place from 8pm on Saturday 1 September and will feature fantasy-inspired music performed by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia accompanied by the now-famous spectacular illumination of the ruins and electrifying fireworks.

Gates will open at 6pm for the event organised by Leeds City Council which is now in its 17th year and supported by media partners Magic 828 and the Yorkshire Evening Post.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“Classical Fantasia is a great night out with terrific entertainment in a stunning setting at Kirkstall Abbey. Discounted tickets are available to anyone with a LEEDSCard or LEEDSCard Extra, so be sure to book your place for another fantastic evening.”

The performance by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia will once again be led by conductor John Pryce-Jones, who said:

“Classical Fantasia is a highlight for the Northern Ballet Sinfonia where we reach out to new and old friends with a programme of exciting pieces including some of our current and past ballet repertoire. The setting is possibly the best in the UK with the wonderful backdrop of Kirkstall Abbey enhanced by spectacular fireworks and plenty of space for picnics!”

The sinfonia will be welcomed onto stage by Magic 828 Breakfast Show presenter Glenn Pinder, who said:

“I am really pleased that Magic 828 are involved and proud to be supporting Classical Fantasia again this year. It’s such a fantastic and unique annual event for Leeds, our listeners love it! I’m really looking forward to introducing John Pryce-Jones and the Northern Ballet Sinfonia to the stage on Saturday. It’s set to be a wonderful occasion for everyone; the unique combination of classical music, fireworks and the stunning illumination of the historic abbey ruins is so special. "

Remaining tickets are available to purchase from the City Centre Box Office at The Carriageworks off Millennium Square (0113 224 3801) , Leeds Visitor Centre at Leeds Rail Station (0113 242 5242). Subject to availability, a limited number of tickets will also be available from Abbey House Museum up to 8pm on the day at the venue.

Tickets are priced at £7.50 for LEEDSCard holders, £6.50 for LEEDSCard Extra holders and £5 for Breezecard holders. General admission is £10 or £35 for four tickets for small group bookings of family/friends.

For the latest information on the event including travel details visit www.leeds.gov.uk/fantasia. Anyone requiring further information can also contact Leeds City Council’s events team on 0113 396 0891 or by email at events@leeds.gov.uk.

Notes to editors:

A booking/transaction fee will apply to bookings made online or by telephone.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472

City centre parking under review in Leeds

Senior councillors will be asked next week to give the go ahead for consultation about parking in Leeds city centre.

Leeds City Council will seek views about the findings of a comprehensive review of city centre car parking. The council wants to hear if people think its approach to car parking is appropriate and sustainable for the future.

The review identifies how many car parking spaces there are currently and how future developments in the city will impact on this. It also looks at occupancy trends, pricing and income generated by parking charges.

It identifies areas that need further investigation, and the proposals that will come of this work will be the subject of the public consultation. These will include how charges can be used more creatively to support the city centre’s economy. An example could be using different charging structures to encourage specific lengths of stay at particular times.

The population of Leeds is forecast to grow significantly over the coming years, which together with exciting new developments in the city centre will result in more people travelling in and out of there. Future transport strategy will focus on providing for increased travel to the city centre in more sustainable ways and reducing the impact of more traffic in the city centre. The council’s car parking policy has a key role to play in this.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member for development, said:
“Having the right balance of car parking spaces, complemented by good public transport, is essential to the economy of the city centre.

“We need to make sure that our car parking strategy takes into consideration the exciting new developments such as Leeds Arena and the Trinity and Eastgate schemes that are taking place in Leeds, and the increase in visits to the city centre that these will generate.

“The next step will be to take our proposals out to consultation with residents, commuters, visitors, businesses and local transport operators. This will help us to shape our future car parking policy.”


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

New Leeds city centre green space could spark local growth

Proposals for new, high quality green space at Sovereign Street in Leeds are coming before councillors for approval.

Plans to create a new contemporary landscaped area in the city centre to provide a place for people to relax and unwind in are being prepared by Leeds City Council.

The new £2.5 million green space will be a catalyst for further development of the area and improve opportunities to enjoy the open air for people of all ages in line with Leeds’ ambitions to be a Child Friendly City.

The Leeds City Council-owned Sovereign Street site has housed a temporary pay and display car park since plans were scrapped for the Criterion Place development.

Part of the site will be home to the new Leeds headquarters of KPMG- the first major office development in the city centre for over five years.

The new public area fits the council’s ambition to extend the city centre southwards and address its shortage of quality green space. It is also intended to be the forerunner of the City Centre Park south of the River Aire and should help reinvigorate the city’s development market.

An ambitious council programme of development and supporting developers in the city is already well under way. Projects expected to stimulate economic growth include the Trinity Leeds and Eastgate shopping developments, Leeds Arena, Sovereign Street itself and the emerging South Bank.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member for development, Leeds City Council, said:
“When times are hard and the economy is facing big challenges new development tends to stagnate- but in Leeds we are not simply accepting that but taking action to do everything we can to stimulate growth in the city.

“And it’s not all about attracting new investment and the benefits that brings; we also want to make sure that our city has the best infrastructure for its people and future by protecting and providing precious green spaces. Our plans for Sovereign Street help us to achieve all those aims and further help our ambition to be a Child Friendly City.”

Leeds City Council’s executive board will be asked at its meeting on 5 September to approve the concept design scheme and agree that it be submitted for planning permission, along with agreeing to put £2.5million into the green scheme.

If planning approval is granted, a full design and cost report will be brought back to executive board. Consultation has already taken place and further consultation is planned.

For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335
e-mail: donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk