Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Leeds City Council looks at further ways to tackle unlawful encampments

Leeds City Council has secured a quick turnaround after working with the courts to evict Travellers from land on Kirkstall Road.

The council reacted quickly after reports of an unlawful encampment and have secured an ‘abridged court date’ which means the case can be heard within a matter of days, leading to what will hopefully be a successful eviction notice.

The council is currently looking at all available options to deal with unlawful Gypsy and Traveller encampments across the city after having used a number of successful methods recently.

In the past 12 months the council has been successful in reducing the amount of money spent on dealing with unlawful encampments – dropping by more than £200,000. Since 2008/09 the number of unlawful encampments in the city has dropped by 63%. New, innovative ways of working have been introduced such as two toleration agreements, one at Bath Road and the other at the old Primrose High School and two injunctions.

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

“We have worked closely with the courts to secure this quick turnaround, so as to minimise disruption to residents.

“We recognise the need to continue to reduce our spending on unauthorised encampments and are working to see what further powers we can use to do this.

“In the case of the encampment at Kirkstall Road we have moved swiftly and also have plans in place to minimise the risk of the camp moving elsewhere in the city.

“We approach the police in all cases to assess what powers they can use. Already we have put in place a number of initiatives such as toleration agreements and injunctions to tackle the issue which have worked successfully to a point and we want to continue to build on this work.”

Councillor Javaid Akhtar, chair of the inner north west area committee said:

“We have worked locally to erect CCTV signage around this area, and our intention is to place a camera on site as soon as possible.

“We have already arranged for skips to be placed at the area to keep rubbish to a minimum and will be looking at how we can minimise disruption for local residents.”


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

History of rugby league celebrated in Leeds

Rugby League World Cup heritage month continues this week with two special events taking place at Leeds Central Library.

On Tuesday, 24 September, 6.30- 8pm, Mick Martin, the writer of the play ‘Broken time’ will be on hand to discuss the history of rugby league , the writing of the play and historic events surrounding it whilst members of the cast perform extracts from the play.

Then on Friday 27 September, 1 to 2.30pm, David Hinchcliffe will talk about his recent book ‘They walked on water’, which tells the story of the infamous Watersplash Challenge Cup Final between Leeds and Wakefield Trinity in 1968.

The events are part of a full programme of free activities taking place as part of the Rugby League World Cup Heritage Exhibition at 1st Floor, Leeds Central Library during the month of September.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member for leisure and skills said:
"Leeds is steeped in rugby league tradition and we are extremely proud to have the honour of being a host city for the world cup tournament this year.

“These events are a must for anyone who is interested in finding out more about how rugby league became the great game it is today.”

Additional info
Rugby League World Cup 2013 kicks off on Saturday October 26, 2013 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, with matches played in England, Wales, Ireland and France. The final on Saturday November 30, 2013 will be played at Old Trafford.

Two high profile games will be played at Headingley Carnegie Stadium; a group match between New Zealand and Papua New Guinea on Friday 8 November, and Quarter Final 3 on Friday 15 November. Tickets are available from the ticket office at Headingley Carnegie Stadium and the Leeds Visitor Centre at Leeds Railway Station, the opening hours of which are Monday 10am - 5.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday 9am - 5.30pm, Sunday 10am - 4pm. For more information please visit the website www.visitleeds.co.uk, email tourinfo@leeds.gov.uk, or telephone 0113 242 5242.

Tickets can also be purchased by visiting www.rlwc2013.com or by calling the 24 hour Ticket Hotline on 0844 847 2013.

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

Services help people avoid rubbish fines

The council is reminding people about the range of services on offer to recycle or collect waste.

The reminder comes as a Beeston man has been prosecuted for flytipping furniture.

Instead of donating an unwanted sofa to charity or arranging a bulky waste collection through the council, Michal Ryznar of Brompton View, asked work colleagues to collect it in December 2012.

The sofa, initially spotted outside Ryznar’s property by environmental action officers, turned up on a piece of land in a neighbouring street a few days later.

Ryznar was prosecuted for flytipping and Leeds Magistrates have ordered him to pay £450 costs and a £75 fine plus a £20 victim surcharge.

Ryznar could have avoided the hefty fine by donating the sofa to charity or passing it on through Leeds Freegle.

Many charities and organisations across the city will pick up unwanted furniture and take donations of good quality household goods and working electronics.

The council’s recycling centres also have dedicated containers so people can drop off household goods to be re-used by local charities.

The east Leeds recycling centre at Seacroft is also home to Revive, a re-use shop selling donated items back to the public at low costs.

If large items or furniture can’t be reused, the council offers a bulky waste collection service.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, said:
“One person’s trash really is another person’s treasure. We need to ensure things we no longer want or need are reused and recycled while sending things to landfill should be a last resort.

“If your household goods can’t be re-used or recycled then please ensure they’re disposed of properly as you could face a hefty fine for flytipping.”

Re-using and recycling furniture and household goods has multiple benefits; with less waste going to landfill the council saves money and good causes can raise funds while providing affordable goods or they can put them to good use in the services they provide.

For more information on re-use and recycling services in the city, please see http://www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/Pages/ReUse.aspx.

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


Award win for centre helping those with brain injuries

A Leeds resource centre that helps people cope with the aftermath of life-changing accidents and injuries has won a prestigious award.
Osmondthorpe Resource Centre, part of Leeds City Council’s Adult Social Care based in East Leeds, has been supporting the victims of serious illnesses or accidents for almost 25 years, with a range of rehabilitation projects and workshops.
Now the team at the centre have won a National Workers' Educational Association (WEA) award to recognise the difference they have made to people in the local community.
Ian Wallace, manager at the centre, said: “It’s fantastic for everyone here that we’ve won such a prestigious award.
“We’ve been nominated and won awards before and it’s always great for the team because it’s recognition for the work that they do.”
He added: “But it’s also great for our service users because they’re the ones who steer us and take us in the direction that we go in terms of the services we deliver.”
Osmondthorpe Resource Centre provides projects for around 120 adults with a broad spectrum of physical or sensory impairments.
Around half of those using the centre have acquired brain injuries, with the other half all getting support to help them cope with a range of disabilities.
Supporting service users to get involved in other opportunities outside the centre, the team has also seen a number of regulars go into volunteer placements.
Cllr Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive member for Adult Social Care said: “Osmondthorpe Resource Centre has been a crucial part of helping so many people to regain their confidence and learn new skills following serious brain injuries.
“The work done by the team at the centre has been making a real difference to service users for almost 25 years now and this award is thoroughly deserved.”
The Workers' Educational Association (WEA) is holding its biennial conference in Cambridge from October 11-12 with the theme Building Communities.
As part of the theme, WEA regions were asked to nominate a successful partnership for a recognition award.
The Yorkshire and Humber region nominated Osmondthorpe Resource Centre.
Julie Hewson, chair of the service users consultation committee will attend the event to pick up the award on behalf of the centre.
Organisers have praised the centre’s successful partnership working as well as its innovative and exciting programmes of learning for adults.


For more details or to arrange pictures, contact:
Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937
Email: stuart.robinson@leeds.gov.uk