Friday, 21 December 2012

New East Leeds road key to supporting city’s housing extension

A new orbital road for East Leeds is essential to meet the anticipated major increase in the numbers of people who need new homes in the coming years, senior councillors will hear next month.

In a report to Leeds City Council’s executive board on 9 January, it is recommended that the council itself needs to take a leading role in ensuring the key road and other essential infrastructure is actually in place.

Councillors will also be asked to approve spending of £150,000 on feasibility work into a new 7km road around the east of the city as part of a major area of long-term housing development.

The East Leeds Orbital Road would be a bypass to the existing Outer Ring Road and is considered critical to the successful development of land known as the East Leeds Extension. This adjoins Whinmoor, Swarcliffe and Cross Gates and when complete could accommodate up to 6,000 new homes and make a significant contribution to the city’s housing needs.

The new road could run east from the Outer Ring Road at Red Hall to Thorpe Park, join a new Manston Lane link road and connect into the M1 via existing roads.

Developers are already coming forward with schemes for new housing in the area, but there are concerns from local people that piecemeal house-building will not deliver the necessary transport infrastructure and facilities that would be vital to the new communities created.

Councillors will also consider lobbying the government for funding for infrastructure to support the East Leeds Extension, which would help achieve housing targets in the council’s draft Core Strategy, approved by the executive board in November.

This sets out broadly how the city’s land will be used up to the year 2028. Under-pinning the strategy is the council’s need to plan in a sustainable way for an anticipated population growth requiring up to 70,000 new homes.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member for development and the economy, Leeds City Council, said:
“There is a compelling case for us to take the lead for the planning and delivery of this essential road, which will be the backbone of the new neighbourhoods. We need to have a co-ordinated approach with developers to support the new area as it grows.

“It is our responsibility to ensure the city’s people have enough housing and we will not allow the spread of new development without supporting local infrastructure and amenities.”

The executive board will also be asked in a separate report to initiate a programme to bring the council’s uncommitted brownfield land in urban areas back into use alongside the emerging proposals for the East Leeds Extension.

This is intended to promote urban regeneration and development in sustainable locations while minimising the impact of growth on greenfield land.

Notes to editors:

The East Leeds Extension (ELE) was identified as a major area of 225 hectares to the east of Leeds with potential to meet future demand for housing in the Unitary Development Plan review in 2006. It was intended not only for housing but also to have accompanying employment, green space, schools and other uses on condition that development could be demonstrated as sustainable.


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

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Young offenders spread festive cheer to older people in west Leeds


Picture caption "Young people spread Christmas cheer amongst elderly west Leeds residents."


Leeds’ West North West Youth Offending Team has been spreading a bit of Christmas cheer to older people in west Leeds this year by organising a Christmas dinner with a restorative flavour.

A group of ten young people who are involved with the council’s youth offending team volunteered to prepare a slap up Christmas dinner with all the trimmings for the Farsley ‘Live at Home Scheme’, a local charity that works tirelessly to provide support and companionship for some of the area’s elderly residents.

The young people made all the decorations, planned the menus and shopped for the best value ingredients as well as preparing and serving the festive fayre to the 17 elderly diners .

The meal took place at Farsley St. John’s Church Hall where the older people were also entertained by local musician Karl Mullen, who played a selection of old favourites throughout the afternoon, culminating in a good old Christmas sing along. One young volunteer also hosted a game of Bingo to keep the revellers entertained.

Stephen Maw from Leeds City Council’s West North West Youth Offending Team said:
“We were all so impressed with the hard work and dedication these young people put in to making it such a special day for the elderly residents. They were all very professional and the whole day was much appreciated by the Live at Home group. There was hardly a dry eye in the house when one resident made an impromptu announcement to thank all the young people.

“The event was a resounding success and we are already looking forward to doing it again next year.”

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“This is a really heart-warming situation, where youngsters who have found themselves in trouble, have taken a really positive step by putting in a lot of effort and giving up their spare time for the benefit of others. Proving that with the right help they can start to turn their lives around.

“These young people set a great example to other youngsters, showing such fantastic initiative and great community spirit.

“It sounds like they did a wonderful job looking after and entertaining these older people and spreading a bit of Christmas cheer. I am sure they have made Christmas extra special for their guests.”

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

Guiseley’s Tranmere Park proposed as conservation area



People are being asked for their views on plans to make Tranmere Park, Guiseley, a conservation area.

Opinions are also being sought on what they think about the area and how they feel it could be improved.

The Leeds City Council proposals, if they go ahead, would help protect Tranmere Park’s unique architecture and historical attractions from inappropriate demolition and development.

Under the plans a new conservation area would take in the triangular area between Hawksworth Lane, Thorpe Lane and Bradford Road. This represents the garden village- inspired housing development led by Prior and Appleyard. The area also contains the site of the medieval settlement of Thorpe.

Tranmere Park represents an early suburban speculative development of over 800 houses built between the 1930s and 1980s. The style of houses, details and layout respond to the Arts and Crafts style of architecture and contain references to the Garden Cities movement of Ebenezer Howard.

A conservation area appraisal and management plan will be produced to ensure the special interest of the conservation area is documented.

A public meeting and drop-in session about the proposals will be held on Wednesday 9 January at 6.30pm at Tranmere Park School. The public meeting will begin at 6.30pm when a presentation will be made about the work and people will get the chance to ask questions. A more informal drop-in session will then be held from 7.45pm until 8.45pm. If you would like to attend please call 0113 247 8144.

The draft proposals for Tranmere Park’s conservation area are available online throughout the consultation at: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/council/Pages/conservation-area-appraisals-docs.aspx  
Responses can be emailed to the conservation team at building.conservation@leeds.gov.uk

Copies will also be held at Guiseley Library for public viewing and they can also be requested from the Sustainable Development Unit, Leeds City Council, Leonardo Building, 2 Rossington Street, Leeds, LS2 8HD. The public consultation runs until 31 January 2013.

Notes to editors:Buildings within a conservation area are protected from unauthorised demolition and new developments have to meet higher standards of design than elsewhere. Other planning rules are slightly different and permission from the council is needed for certain activities such as tree felling.
Leeds City Council’s Outer North West area committee, with the support of the ward councillors, has made this work a priority and allocated money from its Well Being Fund to ensure Tranmere Park has up-to-date conservation area protection.

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For media enquiries please contact:
Leeds City Council press office tel: (0113) 395 0244
Email communicationsteam@leeds.gov.uk


Council leads the way in provision of new housing

Leeds City Council is leading the way in stimulating housing growth in the city.

The council is taking a lead role in developing growth and jobs through using new financial freedoms to fund a programme of development of new council homes.

Earlier this year the executive board approved a proposal to use £9.5m of Housing Revenue Account funding for the development of new council homes over a three year programme.

A site search has already been undertaken which has resulted in a shortlist of potential sites which will be considered for the first phase of development. Once built the new homes will be let to people from the Leeds Homes Register.

At a meeting of the executive board in the New Year (9 January 2013), members will be asked to approve proposals to progress the project towards final selection of sites with the aim of starting on site later in 2013.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member for Development and the Economy:

“Through the Commission for Local Government we identified a number of challenges which local government is facing, one of which is housing need. The council is taking a lead role in tackling this challenge head on and this innovative project continues the action we have already taken.

“We know we need more homes in the city and this project is a positive step in the right direction. However, we are aware that many more homes are required but we have to work with the resources we have. Because of this, we are making sure that those areas most in need are being addressed as a priority. We are also continuing to work with partners to ensure the delivery of suitable affordable housing in the city.”


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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

Council to review how housing services are managed in Leeds

Leeds City Council will look at the way housing management services are delivered at a meeting of the executive board on 9 January 2013.

Over the last few months a review has been undertaken to see whether or not changes should be proposed to housing management services in Leeds. The review covered both the delivery aspect, predominately provided by the three ALMOs and also the landlord side provided by the council.

The executive board will be discussing the outcomes of the review and considering a proposal to consult on two new options for the delivery of housing management services in Leeds.

The first option proposed is to move to a single company model, such as one ALMO, and the second is to transfer all services so they are integrated within the council, with strengthened governance arrangements including tenants and independent members. Both options will ensure that services such as housing management will continue to be delivered at a local level and that tenants are involved and have a strong voice in how services are run on their behalf.

Since the last review in 2010, there have been major changes and challenges to the delivery of public services and if the council is to continue to ensure value for money for tenants then there is a need to look at where savings can be realised elsewhere in housing management arrangements in order to reinvest such savings in front line services for tenants.

If the proposed consultation exercise is approved, it will be carried out with tenants, leaseholders and other key stakeholders during January-March 2013. It is important that tenants lie at the heart of any future model, and the excellent work already developed by the current ALMOs in engaging and involving their tenants’ needs to be retained in whatever future model is adopted.

Councillor Peter Gruen, executive board member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services, says:

“As a council, it’s our responsibility to continually review everything we do to make sure we’re giving the people of Leeds high quality, value for money services.

“We’re very proud of the £825m investment which the ALMOs have attracted to carry out an unprecedented improvement programme to the city’s homes.

“Now we have to make sure that we have the right management arrangements to continue to improve our housing services over what will be a very challenging few years, with public funds reducing and demand for services increasing.

“One thing we’re very clear about is a commitment to a full consultation with our tenants before we make any final decision.”


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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

New conservatory offers Golden vision at Leeds park

Plans to create a new conservatory for visitors at Golden Acre Park will be discussed by senior councillors in Leeds in the new year.

A proposal to revamp the existing Bakery Café at the 55-hectare park in north-west Leeds which would include a conservatory being added to the upper level will be debated by Leeds City Council’s executive board at Civic Hall on Wednesday 9 January 2013.

The project would be overseen by Leeds City Council’s parks and countryside service, with funding worth over £100,000 coming from a sponsorship agreement with local company Franklin Windows Limited.

As part of the extension and refurbishment of the café, a Changing Places toilet facility will also be installed, suitable for people with disabilities and also providing a baby changing space. This would be funded by £45,000 from the council’s adult social care service, while the council would also commit a further £28,000 funding to the project for materials and other costs.

Dog walkers will also be catered for in the plans, with an awning to be installed outside the entrance to the café offering a covered area from which the café facilities can be accessed.

The extension and refurbishment plan has come about following consultation with users, which indicated a need to provide a larger seating area in the café and improved toilet facilities.

The creation of the proposed conservatory would offer increased seating on the upper patio level of the café for 40 extra people taking the capacity to 86 people who could be catered for indoors. This increase would allow greater opportunities for the space to be hired out for private events and activities.

The existing lower level of the café would be reconfigured to retain the existing outdoor seating capacity for 80 people, while the décor and furniture would also be updated.

Should approval be given, legal agreements with Franklin Windows Limited would be finalised and planning permission sought in January. If approved, work would then be able to begin on site in February and last 10 weeks during which time the café would remain open offering a restricted service.

Leeds City Council executive member for the environment Councillor Mark Dobson said:

“Golden Acre Park is one the busiest parks in the city in terms of visitor numbers, and during busy times the café area cannot cope with demand so this proposed extension and refurbishment would help to solve that problem and also be an attractive venue in its own right for people and companies to hire and make use of.

“We are grateful to the Franklin family and Franklin Windows Limited for their commitment to the project as sponsors and look forward to working with them to provide a superb new-look Bakery Café.”

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

“As part of the plans we are pleased to be offering a Changing Places facility, which will include a hoist and changing bench for people with the most profound disabilities, to provide greatly improved access to the park for people with disabilities. By putting these specialist toilets in, we hope people with profound disabilities and their carers will be able to fully participate in all that Golden Acre Park has to offer without the worry that there won't be suitable facilities."


For more information on Golden Acre Park, visit www.leeds.gov.uk/leisure/Pages/Golden-Acre-Park.aspx

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

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





Make a date for a cool slice of the Ice Cube in Leeds



Caption: Images of the ice rink and the Capital FM Snow Slide as the Ice Cube prepares to return to Leeds

The annual Ice Cube returns to Millennium Square in Leeds in the new year with the dates now confirmed for the popular winter attraction.

From Friday 25 January to Sunday 24 February 2013, the attraction organised by Leeds City Council with support from Capital FM and the Yorkshire Evening Post will feature a family-focused outdoor real ice rink with an adjoining nursery rink ideal for younger children.

Returning to Leeds by popular demand after being successfully introduced last year are the Capital FM Snow Slide - a 40-metre dry slope snow tubing slide - together with other winter-themed rides and attractions including the Glacier Run simulator plus the Dolomites Cafe by Casa Mia.

Advance tickets for any public skating session for the ice rink and general snow slide tickets will be available to book online or by telephone early in the new year, with those wishing to take to the ice being encouraged to book early as sessions are limited and are anticipated to sell out quickly.

For anyone struggling to find a fun Christmas present, ice skating lessons at the Ice Cube are now available. Open to people all levels and all ages from beginners to more advanced skaters, the four-week tuition programme run by qualified skating professionals is priced at £58 per person and will run every Saturday and Sunday morning as well as Wednesday evenings.

Due to the level of demand from previous years, those interested in taking part are advised to book early to avoid disappointment as there are only a limited number of places available. To book please call the City Centre Box office on 0113 224 3801 which is open Monday - Saturday between 10am and 6pm, or for further details visit the website at www.leeds.gov.uk/icecube.

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

“The response to the new-look Ice Cube this year was really positive, with the snow slide in particular proving very popular with people of all ages eager to have a go.

“So we look forward to seeing more of the same in the new year, with lots of people enjoying the chance to take part in this great winter attraction in the city centre.”

For further information including pricing and timetables for all of the Ice Cube 2013 attractions, visit www.leeds.gov.uk/icecube for regular updates over the coming weeks.


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