Wednesday, 1 May 2013

City set to consult on planning ambitions

Council chiefs will be discussing moving forward with public consultation regarding the Leeds Site Allocation Plan at a meeting of the council’s executive board next week.

Leeds City Council’s executive board will be recommended to approve the preliminary issues and options for site allocations in the report and therefore progress with a wide ranging public consultation in June - July of this year.

The plan covers the topics of retail, housing, employment and greenspace allocations all in the context of planning in the future.

As part of planning for anticipated population changes and the homes, jobs, education and investment needed across the city alongside the ambitions for regeneration growth and infrastructure, the Site Allocations Plan will look to identify potential sites that will help deliver the principles set out in the Core Strategy.

The council is still at the early stages of the initial site allocations work and the information presented to the executive board will provide material that allows for public input to form and shape the final plan.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods, housing and support services said:

“The site allocation plan gives us the opportunity to gather public opinion on possible development sites in their local communities.

“Wide ranging discussions have already been undertaken with all 99 Council members in the last 6 months in order for the draft proposals to be prepared. The development plans panel, who have responsibility for preparing the proposals, have unanimously agreed to pass them to executive board to decide on beginning public consultation.

“We really want to hear the voices from communities across Leeds in the consultation later this year, so as to be able to feed these ideas and views into a final site allocation plan. The consultation will offer people the opportunity to better understand the challenges that the proposed scale of growth presents they can get involved and influence the future plan.

“We will be looking to garner the views from wide ranging audiences from communities through to members across all wards who will play a vital part in the consultation process, and have had key input already to this stage.

“As part of aspiring to be the best city in the UK the Core Strategy is a key way of taking forward the spatial and land use elements of this vision ."

For more information and to see preliminary site allocation plan please visit

Notes to editors:

More information about the consultation will be announced if Leeds City Council’s executive board approve the recommendations at the meeting on Thursday 9 May.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

New neighbourhood approach to raise housing standards in the city

Leeds is introducing a new ‘neighbourhood approach’ to improving housing standards and bringing empty homes back into use across the city.

Leeds City Council will work with partners such as the police and fire service to go into areas across the city with high numbers of empty properties and private rented housing. Through engaging with landlords and owners in that area, the aim will be to build up safe and strong communities by bringing empty properties back into use and ensuring housing standards are to a good level and well managed.

The first area chosen for the Leeds Neighbourhood Approach project is the Nowells in east Leeds. The three roads Nowell Mount, Place and Terrace cover 150 properties, of which 43 are empty, 91 privately rented and 16 in owner occupation.

The council will also look to engage with other partners and third sector organisations such as the empty homes doctor, energy efficiency partners such as green deal, benefits and debt advice and jobs and skills providers.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods, planning and support services, said:

“We want to work with landlords and property owners in these areas to see how we can help them bring empty properties back into use or how to improve the standard of their housing.
“It is important that we work with our partners such as the police and fire service, so as to tackle all aspects of community life.

“Our approach to this is similar to that of the selective licence model, but gives us far more flexibility.

“If landlords and owners who we have been in contact with do not come forward after six weeks we will take whatever enforcement action is available to us to ensure housing standards are improved and properties brought back into use.”

Chief superintendent David Oldroyd of West Yorkshire Police, said:

We recognise the importance that our communities have a good quality environment to live and work in and how research has shown this can help to reduce crime and put offenders off. We will be working closely with our partners to support this scheme and ensure that our activities in the area are clearly visible and are tailored to compliment the actions being taken by the Local Authorities.

We believe this scheme will make a significant contribution to crime reduction in the areas it focuses on.

ACO Craig McIntosh, director of service delivery for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“A staggering 96 per cent of dwelling fire deaths in West Yorkshire occur in rented accommodation – 80 per cent of which do not have working smoke alarms”.

“West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Prevention officers will work with the ‘Neighbourhood Team’ and private landlords to share knowledge and experience. They intend to visit residents, share safety advice and ensure private landlords are taking their responsibilities seriously”.

“Landlords have a duty of care to their tenants and the cost is minimal to ensure smoke alarms are installed and simple measures are put in place to ensure their safety”.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Get in gear as Sky Ride is coming to Leeds

Caption: Leader of Leeds City Council Cllr Keith Wakefield (on foreground on right) flanked by Dan Goodey, British Cycling Recreation Manager for Yorkshire (crouching centre-left) and Leeds City Council cycling champion Cllr Roger Harington (to his right) with cycling pupils from Benton Park School and British Cycling Ride Leaders behind them on Millennium Square. The pupils are also part of a joint Sustrans and Leeds City Council project promoting cycle access to school.

Leeds city centre will be filled with thousands of people this July as the city hosts a free family-oriented mass-participation Sky Ride for the first time.

As part of a new partnership announced today between Leeds City Council, British Cycling, Sky and West Yorkshire Metro, the city centre will become traffic-free on Sunday 7 July to encourage people of all ages and abilities to get out on bikes and take part in the free event.

Sky Ride Leeds is part of this year’s national campaign by British Cycling and Sky aimed at encouraging everyone to discover the fun and freedom of going out on a bike ride.

Together since 2009 they have encouraged one million more people to cycle regularly (once a month) and supported the sport at the highest level.

Sky Ride will also form part of the one year to go celebrations to 5 July 2014, when Leeds welcomes the world’s largest annual sporting event as the host city of Yorkshire’s Tour de France Grand Départ.

In addition to the mass-participation Sky Ride event, the new partnership will also see a Sky Ride Local programme run in Leeds offering a series of free, fun, guided bike rides around the city, starting in July and running through to the end of September.

Guided by friendly British Cycling Ride Leaders along scenic planned routes, the rides are tailored to different ability levels from beginners to experienced riders looking for a challenge.

To encourage women to get on their bikes, women-only rides will also be taking place as part of British Cycling’s national Breeze network. The social aspect of cycling is also catered for as part of the new partnership, with Social Cycling Groups being set up to allow cycling enthusiasts to organise their own rides all-year-round.

The campaign also fits into Leeds’ drive to be the most active big city in the UK, as well as child friendly Leeds, the ambition to make Leeds the best city for children and young people to thrive and look forward to a brighter future.

Team GB cyclist Jason Kenny OBE who won two gold medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games said:

“Cycling is a fantastic way to stay fit and healthy, plus its lots of fun too. I’d encourage everyone, of all ages and abilities to get out on their bikes and take part in Sky Ride in Leeds this summer.”

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“We are delighted to announce this partnership with British Cycling, Sky and Metro, and hope it will encourage and inspire children, families and people of all ages in Leeds to get on bikes and start cycling. Sky Ride events which have been held in other cities have proved hugely popular with thousands of people taking part and a great atmosphere, and I’m sure the event in Leeds in July will be a very special day out not to be missed.

“Cycling has enjoyed a fantastic rise in popularity in recent years and in particular with the inspirational success of Team GB, Team Sky and Sir Bradley Wiggins last year. And with a year to go to the Tour de France coming to Leeds, this Sky Ride event will be an exciting start to an amazing 12 months to come.”

Further details including the route of Sky Ride Leeds will be announced shortly, with more information available at including the chance for those wishing to take part to register and book their place.

Notes to editors:

For more information:

Images: Please go to the goskyride image library on Flickr to view and download rights-free images. Please don’t forget to credit Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

Leeds PR Contact Details

Leeds City Council
Roger Boyde
Senior communications officer
Tel: 0113 247 5472
Mob: 07891 270 580

British Cycling
Courtney Perks, Marketing and Communications team
0161 274 2000

Victoria Etaghene
Senior Consumer PR Manager
0207 032 0675

About Sky Ride
Sky Ride Leeds is one of sixteen Sky Ride city events will take place across the UK this summer and each of these events have traffic-free streets, enabling cyclists to enjoy a day of bike-based entertainment and to explore their city on two wheels with family and friends. The free events aim to encourage thousands of people, of all ages and abilities, to get on their bikes.

Sky Ride Local rides are free small, weekly community bikes rides that give participants the chance to get out and explore your local area. Led by a British Cycling trained leader, who is on hand to provide support and tips on how to improve for people of any age or ability they will be taking place across the country this summer.

In 2012 Sixteen Sky Ride City events and 1,000 Sky Ride Local rides which saw over 146,000 participants take part in Sky Ride City events and over 17,000 participants take part in Sky Ride Locals.

About British Cycling
British Cycling is the national governing body for cycling as recognised by the UCI - the international federation for the sport. Based in Manchester at the National Cycling Centre, British Cycling works across all levels and six disciplines of the sport, from providing the support and encouragement people need to get riding their bikes for the first time, to being home to the hugely successful Great Britain Cycling Team.

Continued success at the highest level is inspiring a boom in participation across the nation. There have never been more opportunities to ride a bike, be it for fun or sport, and British Cycling is at the heart of this growth. British Cycling also works hard to represent cyclists' interests at all levels, including campaigning on important issues including road safety. As a membership organisation, British Cycling provides a suite of benefits and support to its members who currently number over 70,000. All membership revenue is invested back into cycling.

About Sky
Sky has been British Cycling’s Principal Partner since 2008, encouraging people, whatever their age or ability, to get on their bikes and have fun, and supporting the sport at an elite level including Team GB and Team Sky. Together with British Cycling Sky has had a target to inspire one million more people to cycle regularly (at least once a month or 12 times over a year) by 2013. In 2009 Sky announced the formation of Team Sky, a professional road racing team which aimed to create the first British winner of the Tour de France within five years.

For more information about the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ in Leeds and Yorkshire, visit or follow @letouryorkshire on Twitter.

For more information on the child friendly Leeds initiative go to


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472

‘Single mother’ benefit cheat guilty of £75k fraud

A mother-of-one who pretended she was single in order to falsely claim more than £75,000 in benefits over 13 years was today handed a 12 month prison sentence suspended for two years following an investigation by Leeds City Council.

Roselyn Wadkin of Low Grange View, Belle Isle, pleaded guilty to falsely claiming £74,894.01 in housing benefit, council tax benefit and income support after stating she lived alone – despite having lived with her partner, Stephen Morley, since 1998.

At Leeds Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday 30 April) the judge handed Wadkin a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and an order to complete a 50 day programme to address her behaviour.

Following an anonymous tip-off Leeds City Council started an investigation into claims that 55 year old Wadkin was not single, and her partner Stephen Morley not only lived with her, but was in full time work throughout this time.

A joint investigation by the council and the Department for Work and Pensions then discovered Wadkin had received overpayments of £28,953 in housing and Council Tax benefit and £45,849 in income support, totalling £74,894. All the money fraudulently claimed will have to be paid back.

A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council said:“Fraudulently claiming benefits is taking money away from those genuinely in need.

“We will always do our best to help those who need our help, but we will not hesitate to act when people take advantage for their own gain.”

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

‘Yorkshire Rocks Cancer’ on 1 & 2 June in Millennium Square

Issued on behalf of Yorkshire Cancer Centre (contact details below) by the Leeds City Council press office

Local charity Yorkshire Cancer Centre is living up to its goal of “aiming higher fighting cancer” this summer when it stages its first ever Yorkshire Rocks Cancer 2-day music festival in Leeds.

The rock concert takes place in Millennium Square in Leeds city centre on 1 June. The four confirmed acts for the Saturday night are well known local bands, Carnabells, The Idol Dead, Marsicans and the Transmission, all of whom have given their time free of charge for the charity and are promising to pull out all the stops to create an event to remember.

Not content with simply organising a rock concert, the event organisers said: “We wanted to create an event that appealed to all ages and as the Saturday night concert is strictly aimed at anyone over the age of 14, we felt there was scope to do something that appealed to families and younger children. So, spurred on by our motto of “aiming higher” we decided to add a family fun day the following day, Sunday 2 June”.

Day two of the event will include a variety of entertainment for all age groups: kiddies' fun fair, face painting and street entertainers and will be topped off with interactive Zumba and all day entertainment provided by a range of jazz and folk bands playing on the big central stage.

Yorkshire Rocks Cancer organisers said: “This is a fantastically exciting, not to mention ambitious project for us, but we’re confident that our loyal supporters together with a new and younger audience will help us to raise additional funds to benefit our cancer patients. If all goes to plan, we hope to make it an annual fundraising event for our ground breaking charity”.

The Yorkshire Cancer Centre, based in Bexley Wing, St James’s Hospital in Leeds, plays a leading role in the diagnosis, care and treatment of patients with cancer living in its catchment area of 2.6 million people.

The appeal is aiming to raise £10m to advance medical research; buy the latest generation of equipment; and provide more ‘home from home’ comforts for patients and their families.

Tickets for both days of Yorkshire Rocks Cancer are available online at Yorkshire Cancer Centre’s website or via Ticketline Limited tickets are available on the door on both days.

Yorkshire Cancer Centre Registered Charity Number – 1075308

Further information about the Yorkshire Rocks Cancer 2-day event is available from Yorkshire Cancer Centre’s website or by contacting Sheila O’Shea direct on 0113 206 8444 or emailing her at sheila.o’