Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Free sport sessions in Leeds set for October start

Free sport and fitness sessions are set to start in Leeds later this year in a new health project being run by the city council.

Leeds City Council’s sport and health pilot entitled ‘Leeds Let’s Get Active’, which aims to encourage people of all ages to be more physically active and especially those in areas of greatest health inequality, is set to begin in October pending the council’s executive board giving its approval next week (24 April).

The project received funding confirmation last month, with a total of £1million of match-funding being offered by Leeds public health and Sport England through the National Lottery.

The project will see one off-peak hour each day made available at every Leeds City Council-managed leisure centre in the city for free gym and swimming sessions. The sessions will be open to all but will be primarily targeted at those who currently do not take part in any sport or physical exercise.

In addition to the core one-hour offer, an additional hour will also be available at the John Charles Centre for Sport as well as Armley and Fearnville leisure centres, while at Middleton Leisure Centre a total of two hours of free activities will be on offer as part of the focus on tackling health inequality in the city.

Running alongside the free offer in leisure centres, community sport sessions such as running, walking and multi-sports activities will take place in parks, while packages offering three months’ of access to council leisure centre facilities and classes for just £5 will also be available via GP practices and public health service providers.

The scheme, which is set to initially run until March 2015, is to be managed jointly by Leeds City Council’s sport and active lifestyles service and the new public health services which were transferred from the former Leeds Primary Care Trust to the council this month.

Through ‘Leeds Let’s Get Active’ closer ties will be made between sport and health services, with links to health checks and advice on healthy lifestyles being offered. The scheme will be monitored to measure its success and impact, examining which sports and activities prove popular.

The project aims to increase participation and improve health and wellbeing as part of the drive for Leeds to be the best and most active big city in the country, and also represents an example of the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games for Leeds.

Leeds City Council executive member for health and wellbeing Councillor Lisa Mulherin said:

“Leeds Let’s Get Active is a fantastic example of the difference that use of the council's new public health role can make. It will give everyone in the city the chance to take part in regular exercise, from a swim or gym session to a simple organised walk in the park.

“The potential benefits of the scheme are enormous as it will help people get fitter, improve wellbeing and reduce the pressure on health services in the city, so we look forward to seeing it get started and packed sessions of people taking part.”

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

“This new project offers people the chance to dramatically improve their health and wellbeing, so we are keen to get it started as quickly as possible.

“Leeds Let’s Get Active is a great example of our ‘best and most active’ city ambitions and it also provides a real Olympic legacy for Leeds as part of the drive to tackle health inequalities and improve wellbeing. We are very grateful to Sport England and the National Lottery for their invaluable support in turning this exciting idea into a reality.”


For media enquiries please contact:

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

Elland Road park and ride scheme set for public consultation

A public consultation exercise over creating the city’s first major park and ride scheme at Elland Road could begin next month.

Senior councillors in Leeds will debate the proposal to introduce the scheme at the executive board meeting to be held at Civic Hall next week (Wednesday 24 April).

Should they give approval, public consultation and the preparation of a planning application will be undertaken for the scheme which it is proposed would see the introduction of an express bus service running every 15 minutes to and from Boar Lane in Leeds city centre from winter 2014.

Under the proposals, drawn up by Leeds City Council and Metro, the service would run from the council-owned car parks to the west of Leeds United’s Elland Road Stadium home from Monday to Saturday, excluding Saturday matchdays.

Running initially for a five-year period, the service would provide parking space for up to 800 vehicles and significantly ease congestion by reducing vehicle numbers entering the city centre.

The cost of developing and creating the park and ride site at Elland Road is expected to be approximately £3million, including a formal parking area being put in place along with bus facilities, a shelter, lighting, signage, fences, CCTV and landscaping to enhance to visual appeal of the area.

Funding for the scheme would come from the West Yorkshire Local Transport Plan budget with funding contributions secured from other developments.

Surveys carried out sites across the city identified Elland Road as the best location to base a viable park and ride operation. Leeds United, Metro and West Yorkshire Police are supportive of the proposals, and initial consultation has taken place with local councillors and a local community group.

The proposal forms part of the wider ‘Elland Road masterplan’ first outlined in 2007 to develop the area around the football ground which will help the broader regeneration of Beeston and Holbeck.

Under this masterplan, the site is expected to see a new permanent ice rink being created adjacent to the proposed park and ride area. Pending planning permission the rink is scheduled to open in the autumn of 2014. The former greyhound stadium area of the site is also being redeveloped, as construction is underway on the new divisional headquarters for West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, with an estimated completion date of early-2014.

Should the executive board give its approval, the full public consultation will take place and more detailed proposals including a planning application will be brought forward.

Leeds City Council executive member for the economy and development Councillor Richard Lewis said:

“Real progress is now being made with the Elland Road masterplan, with the new police headquarters and the ice rink both likely to open next year. The park and ride scheme is the next major development which we hope will not only greatly cut traffic congestion in the city centre but will also help to regenerate the Beeston and Holbeck area.

“Some concerns have been raised about the impact on the immediate area from the increase in traffic a park and ride scheme would bring. I welcome this debate as part of the wider public consultation exercise into this project and would encourage as many people as possible to come forward and tell us what they think of these plans.”


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,

Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472
Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

Statement regarding full council meeting - 17 April 2013

Statement regarding postponement of full council

A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council said:

“The Lord Mayor has consulted with all parties to seek their views on postponing the meeting of full council which coincides with the ceremonial funeral of Baroness Thatcher.

“Based on the views of members and after detailed consideration, the Lord Mayor has taken the decision to postpone the meeting.

“A date and time for the rescheduled meeting will be agreed in due course.”


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

Thousands of pupils allocated their preferred primary school

Families applying for their child’s first primary school place received their offers today (16 April), with thousands of the city’s children being given a place at their first preference school from September 2013.

A total of 85 per cent of children will attend their first preference primary school, an increase from 84% in 2012 - while overall more than 95 per cent will attend one of their five preferences. A total of 9355 reception places have been allocated this year, which is 201 more than in 2012.

Alternative places have been offered to 434 children who did not get any of their five preferences (five per cent). Families are recommended to always include their nearest school as one of their preferences and to make sure they use all five preferences to get the best chance of being offered a preferred school.
The volume of applications makes the admissions process one of the biggest tasks in the education calendar.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“For parents and carers, choosing a school for their children is one of the most important decisions they will make. These figures show that we are making good progress in increasing the number of children that are allocated a place at their preferred primary school.

"We do understand though how disappointing and distressing it is when people aren’t allocated their preferred school. We encourage parents to make sure they include their nearest school and use all five preferences to increase their chances of obtaining a place at a local school.

“In a very difficult environment we will continue to do everything we can to ensure parents have a full understanding of how the process works so that as many as possible receive their highest possible preference.”

The complete primary admissions figures for September 2013/14:

7949 (85%) children were given their first preference

636 (7%) children were given their second preference

207 (2%) children were given their third preference

89 (1%) children were given their fourth preference

40 (less than 1%) children were given their fifth preference

434 (5%) children were not able to be offered any of their preferences and were made an alternative offer.


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

Special delivery for new bin services

In the run up to the launch of more frequent bin collections, information packs are being delivered to tens of thousands of Leeds residents.

A guide to the new service, a set of frequently asked questions and collection calendars will help residents prepare for changes being introduced on Monday 29 April.

Over 50,000 homes in Kippax , Methley, Garforth, Swillington, Morley, Ardsley and Robin Hood are the first to switch to the new collection system.

Residents will be able to recycle more with their green bins being emptied one week and their black bins emptied the next week.

The council will be able to save £1.5 million a year by giving residents greater opportunity to recycle at home. The savings largely come from recycling this waste instead of having to pay taxes to bury the otherwise re-usable and recyclable materials in the city’s landfill sites.

In keeping with the council’s recycling ethos, the money saved by increasing recycling will be re-invested in other council services.

With less waste rotting in landfill sites, the new bin system will also help the council put a significant dent into the amount of harmful carbon emissions being emitted needlessly.

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

“Residents have been calling for more frequent recycling collections so I’m sure many people will be pleased to see that the new service is nearing its go live date.

“Everything residents could need to help them prepare for the upcoming changes are in the packs. We appreciate that this is a big change so help is on hand should people have any questions.

“Every opportunity is being taken to keep affected residents up to date about the new service but if anyone has missed their introductory letter or information pack, they can still attend one of our roadshows. Alternatively, there is a wealth of information about the new service – and all our recycling services – available on our website.”

Details of the new service can be found at www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/Pages/New-bin-service.aspx.

As well as 50,000 homes moving to the new bins service, an additional 3,500 people in the Rothwell area will have their food waste collected.

The weekly collection of kitchen scraps is an expansion of the already successful food waste collections in the area.

To accommodate the more frequent collection of green bins, other homes not yet receiving the new service may find that their bin day has to change. Bin collection days can be checked at www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/Pages/Check-your-bin-day.aspx.

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