Wednesday, 6 March 2013

New policy on sexual entertainment venues in Leeds to be considered

Senior councillors in Leeds are expected to give the go ahead for a public consultation on a new policy for sexual entertainment venues in the city.
 
At a meeting of Leeds City Council’s licensing committee next week (12 March) members will review a draft policy and decide whether to agree for it to go out to consultation.
 
If agreed, local residents will be given the opportunity to share their views on the new policy which would give the council more control over the location and number of sexual entertainment venues in Leeds, amongst other changes.
 
In January 2011 the council adopted the ability to licence lap dancing clubs and other premises which provide sexual entertainment in the same way as sex shops and sex cinemas.
 
Following the initial licensing of seven lap dancing clubs as sex establishments in June 2012, the council undertook to review the policy to ensure it still met the needs of the people of Leeds.
 
The council has drawn up the new policy in response to strong public concern about lap dancing premises in the city. The former chair of the Licensing Committee recommended that the policy was reviewed earlier than originally planned.
 
Councillor Peter Gruen executive member responsible for neighbourhoods, planning and support services:

“This is the opportunity for Leeds residents to have their say on how we deal with the licensing of new and existing sexual entertainment venues. If it gets the go ahead our new policy would help us control such venues and where they can be located, preventing them from opening up in inappropriate areas.”
 
In order to draw up the draft policy the council has undertaken research through the Leeds Citizens’ Panel - a group of Leeds residents who have committed to respond to a number of surveys each year.
The results of the survey showed that the people of Leeds consider:
• The number of lap dancing clubs should be restricted.
• That residential, rural and deprived areas are all unsuitable locations
• That it is not acceptable to locate lap dancing clubs near:
  • Schools and other places of education (94%)
  • Play areas or parks (93%)
  • Residential areas (92%)
  • Youth facilities (92%)
  • Women’s refuge facilities (90%)
  • Family leisure facilities such as cinemas, theatres and concert halls (90%)
  • Places of worship (87%)
  • Places used for celebration or commemoration (85%)
  • Cultural leisure facilities such as libraries and museums (82%)
If given the go ahead the consultation will begin on Monday 18 March to 26 April 2013. The draft policy will be available for comment from then and can be accessed on the council’s website at www.leeds.gov.uk/spc.
 
At the committee meeting the members will also be asked to approve a 3% increase in application fees to bring them in line with inflation, as well as agreeing that all applications for sexual entertainment venues should be determined by Licensing Committee.
 
ENDS
For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk

Little London pupils open the new Lovell Park Bridge




Picture caption: (bottom) Pupils from Little London Primary School give a thumbs up to the new bridge (l-r) Sinna Umuye age 7, Kyah Parchment age 11, Yafet Melake age 10, Ferial Torfi age 9, Kristell Mpwena age 9 and Jevic Juma age 8.

(top) The pupils are joined by Councillor Richard Lewis (right), Councillor Eileen Taylor deputy executive member for development, school staff and members of the design and construction team.


Access to Leeds city centre and Little London is now again be much smoother thanks to the reopening of the Lovell Park Road bridge on Monday.

Essential repair work to a bridge that carries Lovell Park Road over the A58(M) Inner Ring Road has now been completed allowing the road to re-open to two-way traffic two weeks earlier than originally planned.

The bridge was built during the construction of the Inner Ring Road in the late 1960s and a number of the bridge beams have deteriorated to a poor condition. These beams have been replaced and the bridge deck waterproofed and re-surfaced.

During the work, the bridge had to be closed to vehicles, restricting access to and from the city centre and to the Little London area to the north.

Pupils from Little London Community Primary School officially opening the new bridge on Monday and were the first people allowed to use the new bridge.

ENDS

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


Report sets out council’s energy ambitions

An ambitious plan to free people from the trap of fuel poverty and make homes more energy efficient is to be discussed by senior councillors next week.

The government requires the council to publish its plans to cut harmful carbon emissions and lift people out of fuel poverty, known as the ‘Home Energy Conservation Act Further Report’.

The draft report – which executive board members are being asked to approve on 13 March – outlines what the council plans to do to achieve this up until 2023.

The draft report covers three broad areas; improving the energy efficiency of Leeds’ homes to reduce the amount of energy they need to use; to support vulnerable people who can’t afford to heat their homes; and reducing the cost of energy.

With the council’s considerable experience in helping people keep warm and healthy at home while paying less on their fuel bills, members of the executive board will hear about projects that will build on these successes over the next 10 years.

In the short term, the council’s efforts will be focussed on establishing a Green Deal offer in Leeds and making energy efficient improvements to the types of homes that have proved too difficult or expensive to tackle up until now.

The Green Deal lets people to make energy efficient improvements to their home without any up-front costs. Instead, people can take out a loan with a Green Deal provider to fund the works with the debt paid off through the savings on energy bills.

Work on the Green Deal is already underway in the city. The Wrap Up Leeds+ project and Green Deal demonstrator project is testing how various aspects of this new funding mechanism for homeowners will work.

Until a new Leeds City Region-wide Green Deal scheme comes into effect in 2014, executive board members are also being asked to approve the award of contracts to a tender currently underway that will allow the council to deliver other Green Deal projects, including: installing external wall insulation on properties of all tenure types; installing external wall insulation on properties of a non-traditional build; and trialing the installation of external wall insulation on whole streets of Victorian terraces.

The draft report also highlights the important work the council does with a range of partners to support vulnerable people. People who are the least able to tackle rising fuel bills suffer the most from the effects of fuel poverty. So the council will continue this vital work to ensure that people can remain warm and healthy at home while paying less for their fuel bills and easing pressure on health services.

The council is also encouraging residents to contact Community Energy Direct to sign up to a collective energy buying scheme. Once signed up, Community Energy Direct and Which? will negotiate an energy price on behalf of residents who can then decide if they want to switch to the new provider. Residents could save £115 on their energy bills.

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

“When you look at the figures and history of our experience in tackling fuel poverty and cutting emissions, there is a really compelling story to tell.

“Behind these figures are real people who have seen a significant difference made to their health and in their lives by having their home made more energy efficiency or offered advice to reduce their bills and ultimately their emissions.

“The next few years will be critical for us in ensuring the momentum of these successes is maintained. We’ve already tackled what is easy to do – like cavity wall and loft insulation – so quite rightly our attention must be focussed on those homes that are harder and more expensive to treat to ensure benefits are felt by all.

“The report demonstrates that we have a good track record in delivering projects that not only release people from the fuel poverty trap and cut their emissions but have great potential to drive our economy and create sustainable jobs.”

As well as the projects the council is delivering now and plans to deliver over the next 10 years, the report explains the council’s track record in making homes more energy efficient.

Investment in its own housing stock means council homes are now on average the most efficient homes in Leeds. 31,464 council homes have been made more energy efficient with loft and cavity wall insulation, double-glazing and efficient doors. A further 4,300 council homes and 800 properties of mixed tenure, all non-traditional build, have had external wall insulation installed to ensure they don’t leak heat.

Most recently the council has installed loft and cavity wall insulation in 10,000 properties through the Wrap Up Leeds scheme saving people £1.4 million a year on their heating bills and cutting emissions by 5,600 tonnes too.

In the past 13 years the council has helped over 29,000 low-income households at risk of fuel poverty through various referral schemes and working with the NHS.

If approved, the ‘Home Energy Conservation Act Further Report’ will be published on the council’s website.

Notes to editors

People can sign up to the Community Energy Direct scheme at www.communityinfo.org or by calling 08454 502 581.

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

ENDS

Taste of Italy in city’s bid to preserve industrial history


Leeds’ eye-catching Italianate towers could be transferred into the city’s ownership if councillors agree to a proposal for four landmark listed buildings.

They will be asked to approve the transfer of the three towers and an adjacent historical industrial building in Holbeck Urban Village into Leeds City Council ownership at a meeting of its executive board next week (Wednesday 13 March).

Councillors will consider recommendations that could lead to the Giotto Tower, Verona Tower, Little Chimney and the Engine House transferring from the Homes and Community Agency (HCA) to the council.

The historic buildings, located at a part of the HCA’s Tower Works development, are important to the city’s industrial heritage and are major landmarks within Holbeck Urban Village. However, the historic nature of the listed structures makes the site less attractive to investors who might otherwise develop the rest of Tower Works.

The transfer of the properties would be accompanied by a financial endowment, which would provide funding to the council so it can continue to maintain the buildings and bring the Engine House up to a usable standard.

By transferring the buildings with the appropriate funding it is hoped to reduce risks associated with new development at the Tower Works scheme and create economic growth and new jobs. At the same time, the funding will help protect the future of the historic buildings.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for development and the economy, said:
“Holbeck Urban Village remains an area with significant regeneration potential, particularly with the development of the new Southern Entrance to the railway station. We are committed to working with partners to find solutions to challenges that are stalling development in the area.

“The potential transfer of these landmark buildings can help remove barriers to as well as reinvigorating new development. Securing funding would also help ensure that these listed buildings are maintained as important parts of the Leeds skyline.”

Notes to editors
The executive Board will be informed that specialist technical assessments of the buildings and discussions with the HCA are ongoing with view to an endowment sum being agreed. They will be asked to agree to the transfer of ownership of the buildings to LCC, subject to a suitable endowment sum being agreed. If the recommendations are approved, work will take place with the HCA to agree the final endowment sum. Subject to Department for Communities and Local Government approval, the buildings, with funding, would then transfer to the council in March.

The executive board will also be asked to approve the principle of the Giotto Tower, Verona Tower and Little Chimney to be placed within a trust, with the council as a full trustee.



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

ENDS