Monday, 17 September 2012

New route to Garforth open for cyclists

A family bike ride is being held on 22 September to celebrate the opening of a new section of the Leeds core cycle network.

Cyclists are invited to explore east Leeds using the new cycle route which passes through Richmond Hill, Halton, Temple Newsam, Whitkirk and Colton on the way to Garforth.

This free event, supported by the Go:cycling partnership and delivered through Leeds City Council and Metro aims to promote healthy living, reduce traffic congestion, and provide a fun and safe way to get around the area.

Go:cycling is part of a three year strategy to encourage adults to get back on their bikes by providing free one-to-one adult cycle training and cycle rides.

Access to the training can be gained through local workplaces, groups and individuals by visiting www.wygocycling.com.

The 10 mile circular ride will start at 10.30am from the Temple Newsam House car park. Those participating will receive refreshments and a commemorative tee shirt for taking part. To join in please register via email to Travelwise@leeds.gov.uk or call Mark on 0113 3951470.

The cycle route links Barrowby Lane in Garforth to Leeds city centre and gives communities the opportunity to cycle into work providing access to Cross Green and Thorpe Park. There is also access to Temple Newsam and links into the Wyke Beck Way cycle path providing a direct route to Roundhay Park to the north.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member for development and the economy, said:
“I am pleased to announce the opening of this new strategic cycle route linking Garforth to Leeds City Centre. The route forms part of our expanding core cycle network enabling people to move around the city, and out to the surrounding countryside, without having to cycle along the main traffic routes.

“The Team GB cycling team had huge success at the Olympics and I hope this provides a great incentive for people to get back on their bikes. The help, advice and training provided by the Go:cycling project is just what is needed to help people gain the confidence to cycle more.”

Notes to editors:
• Go:Cycling is a Government funded Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) project which will run to 2015
• The Garforth Core Cycle route is the fifth core cycle route to be opened in recent years, three others are routes go from the city centre to Middleton, West Park, and Alwoodley. Another – The Wyke Beck Way goes between Roundhay Park and Temple Newsam .
• More information on the Go:cycling project is available at www.wygocycling.com
• Dr Bike services are being provided by Leeds bike shop – Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative


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For media enquiries, please contact;
Anna Evans, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: anna.evans@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds residents asked for their views on council tax support options

People in Leeds are being asked for their views on how Leeds City Council could best provide support when council tax benefit ends next year.

From April 2013, the government has decided that it will end council tax benefit. Instead, the government has said that councils must put in place local council tax support schemes for people who need help with paying their council tax.

To make sure the council puts the right support scheme in place, it is asking Leeds residents to look at the council’s options and share their views. People of working age who currently receive council tax benefit are also being sent surveys to complete.
The amount of money Leeds City Council will get from the government to pay for its new scheme will be about 10 per cent less than it currently receives for council tax benefit. This could see a shortfall in funding of more than £6 million. This will be on top of additional cuts of around £40 million that the council must make across all services due to reduced government funding.
Pensioners who receive council tax benefit will be protected from this change, so this means that the full cost of the reduction in funding will fall on those of working age.

Councillor Keith Wakefield leader of Leeds City Council said:
“We have some really difficult decisions to make as these changes will affect some of the most vulnerable people in our city, and will leave us with even less money to support them. We already have massive savings to make, so this will put even more strain on the money we need to spend on essential services.

“This is why we need to know what people in Leeds think about the choices we have to make, so we can make the best decision in these difficult circumstances.”

There are two options under consideration. Option one would see a reduction in council tax support by around 30% - which would mean the council wouldn’t need to use any other money to fund this. This option would mean money would not need to be taken away from other council services.

For option two the council would put extra money into the scheme for the first year to reduce the cuts that people face in their council tax support. This option would limit the cut in support to 10 per cent for most working age claimants, but would mean the council would need to divert money away from other services.

The survey also asks for residents views on charging council tax on empty properties and second homes. As part of the government’s changes it has said councils can decide when to start charging on empty properties, so Leeds City Council would like to know what its residents think about the options available to it. Currently the owners of properties which are empty for a short time, are not charged council tax for either six or 12 months. If the council was able to charge council tax for these properties it would generate extra income at a time when government funding for councils is reducing. The extra income could help to protect council services.

The deadline to reply to the consultation is 8 November 2012. A final decision on the new scheme will be made early in the new year.

As well as completing the surveys people can share their views online at www.leeds.gov.uk/counciltaxconsultation. Help and information about the survey is available by calling 0113 376 0408.

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For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk


Lord Mayor of Leeds opens civic doors to the public

The Lord Mayor of Leeds is opening Civic Hall up to members of the public this weekend.

The Civic Hall will be open from 1pm to 5pm on Saturday 22 September for people to come and have a look around the iconic Leeds building and learn about the role of Lord Mayor.

People will be able to see the banqueting suite, the Lord Mayor’s rooms and the council chamber amongst others.

Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Ann Castle said:

“Civic Hall is an iconic building in Leeds, and shows off some of the history of the city.

“I think it is important for people to see around the building and also learn what the role of Lord Mayor is all about.

“This is a marvellous opportunity to look around the Civic Hall for members of the public and I would encourage anyone who is interested to come and have a look round and find out more about the building and what the role of Lord Mayor entails.”

Civic Hall, a grade ii listed building was built during the Great Depression, and was opened in 1933 by King George the Fifth. Many of the people who worked on the build were taken from the unemployed register as part of an initiative to get people back into work at the time.

Entry to the building is free, however a £2 donation to the Lord Mayor’s charity – Crohn’s and Colitis UK will be asked for on the day for those wishing to have a guided tour.

For more information contact the Lord Mayor’s Office on 0113 2474194 or follow the Lord Mayor on Twitter @LordMayorLeeds


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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