Thursday, 20 December 2012

YES to green home improvements in Leeds

Leeds City Council is teaming up with YES Projects to make homes warmer and cheaper to run in the new year.

From early January, people will be able to apply for loans and grants for energy efficient home makeovers in a project known as Wrap Up Leeds+.

The support is being made available after the council’s executive board agreed to turn a £1.28million fund from the Department of Energy and Climate Change into interest free loans and grants earlier this year.

The council is working with YES Projects – a subsidiary of the award winning Yorkshire Energy Services who successfully delivered the council’s free home insulation scheme, Wrap Up Leeds – to help Leeds residents benefit from a range of green home improvements.

The project will allow the council and YES Projects to test how aspects of the Green Deal will work.

Although available to anyone, the loans and grants will be targeted at residents who haven’t been able to benefit from free standard insulation offers until now, as their homes don’t have normal cavity walls.

Residents will be able to use the funds to have insulation attached to the outside of their home or to walls on the inside. These methods of insulation for ‘hard to treat’ homes are more expensive and can remain out of reach for those people that need it the most.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, said:

“Our experience with Wrap Up Leeds shows that we can make a real difference to people’s lives by making their homes more energy efficient; homes are warmer, people are healthier, energy bills are reduced and carbon emissions are cut.

“With these loans and grants we can reach people we haven’t been able to help up until now and we’re looking forward to the project going live early in the new year.”

Vincent McCabe, managing director of YES Projects, said:

“We are delighted to be working with Leeds City Council again and helping local residents take steps toward low carbon living. This scheme will certainly benefit properties that are unsuitable for more traditional insulation products, such as cavity wall and loft insulation. It will also help residents that fit the Government’s ‘Affordable Warmth’ criteria by offering economic home heating solutions.”

Anyone will be able to apply for an interest free loan or grant for a broad range of energy efficient services. However, the council will be particularly interested to hear from anyone who lives in or owns a home with narrow cavity walls or if their home is of a non-traditional build.

In some cases, the grants on offer allow some ‘hard to treat’ homes to be insulated or other improvement works to be carried out entirely for free.

Wrap Up Leeds+ will help the council and YES Project test aspects of the Green Deal. The scheme is a new way for residents to pay for energy efficiency improvements; loans will pay for insulation, boiler upgrades, new windows and renewable technology. The money saved by using less energy will cover loan repayments.

For Wrap Up Leeds+, Green Deal assessments will be carried out and the project will provide demand for Green Deal suppliers and installers.

The existing Wrap Up Leeds website and dedicated phone line will be updated early in the new year when details on how to apply will be announced.

However, anyone wishing to express interest in the grants or loans now, can do so by emailing their contact details to enquiries@wrapupleeds.co.uk. Please note, if you do email, you will be called back after 7 January.

Notes to editors

The funding from DECC is part of the low carbon element of the City Deal.

For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577
email: amanda.l.burns@leeds.gov.uk

ENDS

Watershed wraps up Christmas start on Aire Valley expansion


Wrapping up a Christmas start... Leeds City Council's Rowena Hall and Peter Anderson-Beck join Cllr Richard Lewis (right) and the contractors on site.

Building work has begun on a packaging company’s new manufacturing premises at the Leeds Aire Valley Enterprise Zone as it expands its operations in the city.

Work on Watershed Packaging’s new manufacturing facility at Thornes Farm is under way as the company expands its offer of bespoke packaging for a range of products.

The new premises will create up to 40 new jobs at a 25,000 sq ft unit on the 2.5 hectare site, which also allows for possible expansion of the premises by a further 25,000 sq ft in the future.

Watershed will be the first company take advantage of incentives on offer to businesses locating in the new Leeds Aire Valley zone. The enterprise zone, which went live at the beginning of April 2012, covers 142 hectares of prime development land strategically positioned along the route of the East Leeds Link Road. It is located just minutes from Leeds city centre and the national motorway network.

With its unrivalled location and potential business benefits, the remaining enterprise zone sites offer excellent long term potential to attract major inward investment to the city

Its two large privately owned sites, Logic Leeds and Temple Green, are both scheduled for a start on infrastructure development in the New Year. A range of high tech and modern manufacturing users are being targeted for them and they and have been identified as being particularly suitable for the medical sector.

John Waters, Chief Executive of Watershed, said:
“Our expansion within the Aire Valley marks a really exciting time for Watersheds and by taking advantage of the enterprise zone benefits on offer we hope that the company will continue to grow.

“This larger manufacturing facility will enable us to expand our client portfolio, which in turn will lead to the creation of more jobs. We envisage that the expansion alone will create a further 40 jobs.”

Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for development and the economy, said:
"It’s great to see a local company making the most of the opportunities provided by Aire Valley Leeds to expand its operations and create more jobs. This is exactly why the enterprise zone was set up and I look forward to seeing the final few plots snapped up by more investors.”

Neil McLean, chair of the Leeds City Region local enterprise partnership, said:
“We are delighted that work has started on site. It is important that our businesses access this intensive business support package and it is essential that we secure as many jobs and as much growth across our city region economy as possible. This is a win-win situation and to that effect we are working to ensure that the benefits of the enterprise zone are being promoted far and wide.”

Notes to editors:
Leeds City Council-owned Thornes Farm is one of four sites that make up the Aire Valley Leeds enterprise zone: Newmarket Lane is 9.2 hectares (ha), Thornes Farm (21 ha), Logic Leeds (49 ha) and Temple Green (63 ha).
All have planning consent in place for a range of employment uses, including large-scale manufacturing, distribution and high quality offices.
Companies relocating to the enterprise zone benefit from reduced business rates worth up to £275,000 over a five year period, plus simplified planning and an intensive business support package
Earlier this year, Leeds City Council agreed funding of £2.5 million to build a spine road to accelerate development of the Logic Leeds site and link it to surrounding residential communities. Plans to create an advanced medical park within the enterprise zone to build on Leeds’ strength in the healthcare sector are also under discussion.
Watershed Packaging is a leading provider of packaging machinery, packaging consumables, printed adhesive labels and printed flexible packaging. It is also one of the top five providers of manufactured printed adhesive tapes in the UK. Set up in 1993 the privately-owned company has three main production facilities based in Leeds, Blackwood and Beverley.


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

ENDS

Doors close at Holt Park as countdown begins to opening of new £28m centre





Caption: New images taken from the construction of the new Holt Park Active wellbeing centre, including an internal shot of the swimming pool area and an aerial view (aerial shot taken at the end of October)

The countdown to the opening of the new £28m Holt Park Active wellbeing centre begins this week with the closure of the existing leisure centre.

The doors will close at the Holt Park Leisure Centre on Holt Road for the last time after 36 years of operation this Saturday, paving the way for the final preparations to begin before the state-of-the-art new Holt Park Active opens on Holtdale Approach in October next year.

The new centre will be the first of its kind in Leeds, featuring a 70-station Bodyline gym, 25-metre pool, hydrotherapy and learning pools, dance studio, café, garden, sports hall, multi-activity rooms and meeting areas.

In addition there will be activities for older people as well as those with physical or learning disabilities, with the aim being to encourage people to enjoy more active lifestyles.

It will also have a Changing Places toilet and will be a venue for activities for people of all ages and abilities at the heart of the local community.

The building of the new centre is being overseen by Leeds City Council, with funding from the Department of Health through the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and carried out through the Local Education Partnership and their contractor Interserve Project Services Ltd.

In the months before the new centre opens, all groups who used the old centre have been redirected to alternative venues nearby such as Kirkstall Leisure Centre, Scott Hall Leisure Centre, Aireborough Leisure Centre in Guiseley and Chippendale pool at Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley. Casual users are also directed to one of those sites.

Leeds City Council executive member for adult social services Councillor Lucinda Yeadon said:

“The excitement is really beginning to build now as the opening of the amazing new Holt Park Active is only a few months away. The centre is really taking shape now and is going to be a fantastic new facility for the local community and the city to be proud of, so while we are a little sad the old building is closing its successor is going to be fantastic.”

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

“We’d like to thank all of the groups who use the old Holt Park Leisure Centre for their understanding in moving temporarily to other sites for the next few months. We are confident their patience will be richly rewarded when they see the finished new Holt Park Active as it is going to a superb centre which will be a real community hub used by people of all ages.”

The facilities provided in the new centre were decided following a wide-ranging consultation programme with local residents, community groups and NHS Leeds, with a working group being established which has played a key role in the development of the centre.

For further information visit leeds.gov.uk/holtparkactive or follow @HoltParkActive on Twitter. For telephone enquiries after 22 December, call 0113 3781301.

Notes to editors:

The Department of Health funding for the new Holt Park Active was only available for the provision of new-build facilities, and covers the build of the new centre and lifecycle costs, security, maintenance and cleaning services for a 25-year period.

The Local Education Partnership works to assist in the delivery of education and leisure projects in Leeds. It is made up of Leeds City Council, the national Building Schools for the Future investment programme and private sector companies Interserve Project Services Limited, Barclays Private Equity and Cambridge Education.

For more details on Changing Places facilities nationwide, visit the website at www.changing-places.org

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472
Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk