Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Landlord prosecuted in clean streets blitz


Caption: Waste accumulating in Leeds property resulted in prosecution for the landlord.

An Essex based landlord has been fined thousands of pounds for failing to sort out properties in a clean streets clamp down.

Since May 2012, Leeds City Council has been working with residents, businesses and property owners in a number of hotspots – known as environmental improvement zones – in east and north Leeds to ensure they know how to keep on the right side of law when it comes to managing and disposing of their waste.

HRSK Ltd repeatedly ignored warnings and two separate legal notices giving them up to four weeks to remove the piles of waste and cut back overgrown hedges from two properties on Nowell Mount. As a result the magistrates handed down maximum fines earlier this month.

HRKS Ltd’s company secretary and director Kulwinder Kaur Parmar now has to pay two £1,000 penalties, a victim surcharge of £100 and costs totalling £1,227.79.

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

“This is not a trivial matter. Communities don’t want to be blighted with litter and gardens full of waste, so these zones are proving very effective at offering the right balance of education and enforcement where people fail to take their responsibilities seriously.

“These cases highlight just how important it is for landlords to ensure their properties are maintained to high environmental standards. Anyone who lets uncontained waste accumulate on their properties like this, need to know that a lack of co-operation on their part can have severe consequences. Residents want the council to help improve standards and behaviours and we will continue to take decisive action like this on their behalf.”

The first of two properties on Nowell Mount was identified when the environmental improvement zones were launched last year with huge amounts of rubbish lying loose in the garden.

Having identified the owner of the empty home as HRKS Ltd, they were service a legal notice under the Prevention of Damage by pests Act 1948, section 4 in October 2012.

The notice required all waste to be removed and further steps to be taken to prevent it happening again within 21 days. With no response and no action taken, the council cleaned up the property and started court proceedings.

In August 2012 another HRKS Ltd property on Nowell Mount was earmarked for action with uncontained waste in the garden. A severely overgrown hedge also meant the street looked untidy and was causing an obstruction. A warning letter was sent to HRKS Ltd to let them know that the rubbish needed to be moved and the vegetation cut back.

Another warning letter in September was ignored so they were service a legal notice under Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 requiring all litter and waste to be removed and the vegetation cut back within 28 days. Again, they failed to do so, so the council stepped in.

ENDS

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

Council leader issues challenge over ‘unfair’ funding reductions


The Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield has challenged the government to tackle “the clear inequalities and unfairness” in reductions to council funding following today’s national public spending review.

Further grant reductions of approximately 10 per cent for local government were announced today for the period leading up to March 2016, with the likelihood of additional reductions to follow leading up to the end of the decade.

This follows on from reductions of £200 million which Leeds City Council, the second-largest local authority in England, will have made over a three-year period by March 2014. That period has seen significant decisions taken in terms of stopping, reducing or altering a range of council services and how they are delivered.

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“While we were expecting to see another 10 per cent cut in our grant funding as the government’s austerity measures continue, that doesn’t make it any easier in terms of continually taking significant chunks out of public finances and still expecting core services to be delivered.

“We have done all we can since these reductions began to work within our means but with a clear priority of working as hard as we can to protect key services for our most vulnerable members of society. The decisions we have faced along the way have been far harder than any of us imagined and with more reductions to come clearly many more painful decisions are going to have to be made.”

As part of a review into the effects of council funding reductions, capping council tax and changes nationally to welfare reform, business rate collections and the introduction of the New Homes Bonus scheme, increasing evidence is emerging that areas outside London and the South East are being significantly disadvantaged.

Figures released this month by the Special Interest Group of Metropolitan Authorities (SIGOMA) revealed the effect of the changes between 2010 and 2012 amounted to a reduction per person in Leeds and the wider Yorkshire and Humber region of approximately £140. This is almost double the national average for England of approximately £80, and is in stark contrast to an overall funding increase in London of approximately £45 per person.

SIGOMA is also forecasting that by 2017-18 the cumulative impact of all the various changes will be a total funding reduction of £2.7billion across the Yorkshire and Humber region – or around £502 per head of population. This compares to an equivalent of £352 per head in London and £256 per head in the wider South East.

Commenting on the figures Councillor Wakefield added:

“These figures are clearly a cause for concern as they indicate in inherent unfairness in the reality of the financial position with the effect of actually increasing inequality between affluent and lesser well-off areas rather than reducing it.

“We also have major concerns that things like the New Homes Bonus, capping council tax and the new system of business rates collections benefit better-off areas as their starting positions with higher house prices and stronger local economies are much better than poorer areas, so I would call on the government to look very carefully at the real effect these changes are having.”

Notes to editors:

For more information on the Special Interest Group of Metropolitan Authorities (SIGOMA) and to see their report ‘A Fair Future ?’ released on June 11 2013, visit the website at www.sigoma.gov.uk/

The Local Government Yorkshire & Humber (LGYH) spending review briefing can be viewed at www.lgyh.gov.uk/dnlds/Y&H Councils 26 June Spending Round briefing - final.pdf


ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:

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







Wyke Beck Valley Pride environmental group honoured

A local community project’s innovative work to improve the environmental quality for both visitors and wildlife at Wyke Beck Valley will be honoured this week.

As part of the three-year programme, members of Wyke Beck Valley Pride and partners have worked closely to enhance the green corridor that runs all the way from Roundhay Park to Rothwell Country Park through Gipton, Seacroft, Killingbeck, Primrose Valley and Halton Moor.

This has resulted in a raft of environmental enhancements being undertaken to create better access and opportunities for involvement in the life of the valley. Information to visitors has also been improved and new entrances installed from Wykebeck Woods to Halton Moor, giving important green spaces across the valley an identity.

…………………………………..Photo-opportunity……………………………………..

What: School children, community and business sector volunteers, Wyke Beck Valley Community Forum members and other stars of the Wyke Beck Valley Pride project will receive Achievement awards from Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive member for environment and Martin Wainwright, President of Leeds Civic Trust and former Northern Editor of the Guardian, who will also make the keynote speech.

When: Friday 28 June 2013 11.00 – 12.30

Where: The Moyes Centre, Bishop’s Way, Seacroft LS14 6NU

……………………………………Photo-opportunity……………………………………..

Honouring members of the group will be the council’s executive member for the environment Cllr Mark Dobson and President of the Leeds Civic Trust Martin Wainwright.

The £500k scheme is funded by Natural England’s Access to Nature fund, Leeds City Council and Green Leeds and is being run as a partnership between members of the community, the Wyke Beck Valley Community Forum, Leeds City Council, TCV, Groundwork Leeds, Leeds Voice, and Ahead Partnerships.

Cllr Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive member for the environment said:

“It gives me a lot of satisfaction to present these awards, which honours the fantastic work of the Wyke Beck Valley Pride project.

"This project is a tremendous example of excellent partnership working and I would personally like to thank every group, organisation and volunteer who have made such a big difference to the way people both use and look after the green space along the Valley.”

John Kilner, the project Co-ordinator, said:

“The awards highlight many peoples’ commitment over many years, culminating in the grant from Natural England that made it possible to do a lot of dedicated work with the schools, groups and residents of the Valley as well as the landscape.

“Together with an energetic group of new volunteers, all the physical access and habitat improvements, the Wyke Beck Valley management plan, education pack and walks leaflet announced today will mean benefits will continue for many years to come.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

The Wyke Beck Valley Community Forum is the community partnership supporting improvements in the Wyke Beck Valley. To contact the forum ring 07535 386851 or e-mail wykebcf@yahoo.co.uk

East Leeds Regeneration is Leeds City Council’s priority long term regeneration programme, working together with communities and partners to improve neighbourhoods, investing now and for the future and improving quality of life and choices for local people
Telephone 0113 2478125 or e-mail eastleedsregeneration@leeds.gov.uk

Access to Nature is run by Natural England and is part of the The Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme launched in November 2005 to help communities enjoy and improve their local environments.

Natural England manages this £28.75 million Lottery-funded programme on behalf of a consortium of twelve national environmental organisations comprising BTCV, British Waterways, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Greenspace, Groundwork UK, Land Restoration Trust, The National Trust, Natural England, RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts and the Woodland Trust.

Through this programme, it is Natural England’s ambition to create opportunities for people from all backgrounds to have greater access to our natural environment and bring a lasting change to their awareness and understanding as well as improved links to the natural world, which many of us can take for granted.

Access to Nature closed to applications in May 2010 but for further information about the programme visit www.naturalengland.org.uk/accesstonature

For further information about the Big Lottery Fund, its programmes and awards visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

Groundwork is a national charity working with partners to improve the quality of people's lives and the places where they live, work and play.
Contact Groundwork Leeds on 0113 2380601 or email john.cummins@groundwork.org.uk

TCV, a national environmental volunteering charity, enables people to make a difference in their lives and improve the places around them.
For more details call 0113 2742335 or email hollybush@btcv.org.uk:

Voluntary Action Leeds (VAL) provides support and advice to third sector organisations & community groups and helps people to volunteer across Leeds.
For more details call 0113 2977920; email info@val.org.uk
Ahead Partnerships is a social business helping companies across the city to get involved in the social and economic regeneration of Leeds.
Telephone 0113 246 7877 or email: info@leedsahead.org.uk

Green Leeds Limited is a charity which receives and distributes Landfill Communities Fund grants for environmental projects across Leeds. Telephone 0113 2478185 or e-mail: Sue.Lumby@leeds.gov.uk.
If you would like further information regarding the project, please contact:

Leeds City Council Parks and Countryside service manages around 4000 hectares of green space across Leeds, ensuring that the city remains one of the greenest and most attractive places to live in Europe. They are responsible for visitor attractions such as Tropical World, Home Farm at Temple Newsam and Lotherton Hall bird garden. Other work includes supporting Leeds In Bloom, operating a large plant nursery, managing cafes and running an education programme.
Telephone Parks and Countryside Head Office 0113 2957400

For further details about the project, please contact:
Maggie Bellwood,
Regeneration Programmes team,
Leeds City Council, Thoresby House,
Leeds,
LS2 8UR,
0113 2478125; maggie.bellwood@leeds.gov.uk

For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578
Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk

Countdown to CBBC Live in Leeds begins

Issued in partnership with CBBC

Details of next month’s CBBC Live in Leeds event have been revealed today as stars of some of the channel’s biggest programmes prepare to pack their bags and head to the city to kick off the summer holidays in style.

The CBBC Live in Leeds event – which is aimed at children aged 6-12 years old and their families - will take place in Leeds city centre on 25, 26 and 27 July, will be free to attend and is a collaboration between BBC North and Leeds City Council.

Stars from some of CBBC’s most popular shows will be appearing at the event, and programmes including Blue Peter, Newsround and Wild will be going live from the location over the three days. The CBBC presentation team, including Chris Johnson and Hacker the Dog will also be broadcasting live from Leeds during the event.

Millennium Square in the city centre will be host to the Main Stage, where CBBC favourites Dick and Dom (Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood) will entertain the crowd on Thursday 25 July, followed by a live transmission of Blue Peter which will see presenters Helen Skelton and Barney Harwood reveal their brand new co-presenter as voted for by viewers of Blue Peter – You Decide!

On Friday 26 July the Main Stage will be hosted by dynamic duo Sam and Mark (Sam Nixon and Mark Rhodes), while on Saturday 27 July Naomi Wilkinson will be keeping wildlife and adventure lovers entertained with special shows throughout the day, created by BBC Learning.

As well as the activity taking place on the Main Stage, kids will have the chance to take part in hands-on activities in a variety of interactive zones around the site, including a Creative Zone to encourage children to try something new online, a Wild Zone for animal and nature lovers, the CBBC – It’s Your Go! Zone where kids can – amongst other things - try their hand at TV presenting, the Absolute Genius Zone for budding scientists and a small area where little brothers and sisters can join in the fun. The team from CBBC’s Officially Amazing will also be on site with some very special world record attempts.

Hacker the Dog from CBBC said: “I can’t wait! It’s only a month till we do CBBC Live In Leeds – it’s going to be top drawer! I’ve got my meat paste sandwiches and framed picture of Sue Barker packed already! I’m all geared up to get on the road, and I know that the people of Leeds will be looking forward to seeing a superstar like me broadcasting live from their lovely city. See you soon Leeds!”

Oliver Larking, Leeds Children’s Mayor said: “It’s so exciting to have all the stars from CBBC coming to Leeds. It will be great for the children of Leeds to have a chance to see the live shows and take part in the activities and the interactive zones. When I became the Leeds Children’s Mayor my manifesto was all about getting outside and being active, so I’m especially looking forward to the ‘Wild’ Zone. It’s going to be lots of fun, I can’t wait!”

The events in Millennium Square will be taking place from 12noon to 7pm on Thursday 25 and Friday 26 July, and 10am to 4pm on Saturday 27 July – no tickets are required and families can simply turn up on the day. Events are free though there may be a queuing system in place at busy times. Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult, and over 18s must be attending with a child.

In addition to the main activities in Millennium Square, CBBC’s Wild – the live Saturday morning programme which encourages children to get up off the sofa and enjoy the outdoors – will be broadcasting from the site in front of a ticketed audience. There will also be special family programme screening events taking place over the weekend, featuring CBBC drama favourites The Dumping Ground and Wolfblood. Entrance to the screening events will also be ticketed. For more information on how to apply for free tickets to either the Wild programme broadcast or the CBBC drama screenings, please visit the BBC Shows and Tours website at http://www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/shows/events/cbbc_live_in_leeds_2013

Beyond Millennium Square, children and their families can also enjoy a range of activities hosted by child friendly Leeds partners. Craft sessions, storytelling, outdoor giant games, dance and film workshops are among the exciting activities on offer at a number of venues, including the City Museum, Central Library and many more. Visit www.leeds.gov.uk/CBBC for more information.

Ends

PHOTOCALL:
CBBC Controller Cheryl Taylor and Councillor Judith Blake, Leeds City Council’s executive member for children’s services, are available for photographs today, Wednesday 26 June between 1pm and 3pm.

They will be attending the BBC School’s Challenge, an event taking place in Leeds City Museum between 9.30am and 3pm today. The event will see teams of Year 8 students from Leeds being challenged to be a CBBC Development team for the day – including generating a creative idea for the channel or website and developing a budget for the project.

If you are interested in coming along to take a photo, please contact Emma Whittell from Leeds City Council on 0113 247 4713 or email emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS:
For more information on CBBC Live in Leeds, please contact Claire Briscoe in the CBBC press office on 07711 387 585.

ABOUT CBBC:
CBBC is the BBC’s multiplatform offering for 6-12 year olds bringing the very best drama, entertainment and factual programmes to its young viewers.

CBBC is the most-loved and most-watched channel of children in its target age group. Almost a third of children (6-12) consider it one of their favourites and over a third tune into the CBBC channel each week.

CBBC aims to encourage children to find out more about existing interests and inspire them to develop new ones; helps them understand the world around them and provides an entertaining watch when they just want to relax.

The majority of our output is UK-made, reflecting children’s lives in the UK today. Popular programmes on the channel include Horrible Histories, Deadly 60, Wizards Vs Aliens, My Life, Wolfblood and The Dumping Ground as well as long-running favourites Blue Peter and Newsround.


Leeds Children’s Mayor:

Oliver Larking, aged 10, is Leeds Children’s Mayor for 2013. He attends Bardsey Primary school. Oliver won the honour after pupils across Leeds voted for their favourite manifesto submitted by children in to an annual competition. Oliver’s idea, ‘Open Aire Active Zone’ focused on a scheme to encourage children and their families to get outside, get some fresh air and get fit and healthy.
‘Leeds Children’s Mayor’ is a local democracy project supporting children to recognise they have the power to influence change within their own communities by increasing awareness of democratic participation. It is part of Leeds City Council’s wider vision to become a Child Friendly City.