Thursday, 3 October 2013

Senior councillors in Leeds to debate new planning levy proposal


Senior councillors in Leeds will next week discuss the introduction of a new planning levy to be invested in infrastructure improvements across the city.

The pricing structure for the proposed Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) which would be charged on most new buildings from April 2014 is to be debated by councillors at the executive board meeting at Civic Hall on Wednesday 9 October.

The new levy has been proposed due to changes to the existing national Section 106 regulations which mean the council will need to change the way in which it collects contributions from developers for infrastructure facilities such as transport, education or greenspace.

This contribution will instead be paid through the new Community Infrastructure Levy, with rates varying depending on the type of development being proposed and the area of the city it is proposed in.

The rates have been drawn up in line with similar proposals in other core cities around the country, and a broad projection of the income total it could generate for Leeds would be approximately £6.8million a year, compared to £3.5m a year under the outgoing Section 106 system.

Those responses together with an economic viability study carried out in January 2013 have been used to determine the appropriate levy rates to charge.

Should the executive board approve the proposed rates, another six-week public consultation will be carried out from late October with the proposal and any new responses received being presented to an examiner in January for a public examination.

If given approval, the new levy is currently intended to come into force in April 2014. Decisions on where and on what the Community Infrastructure levy income is spent will be taken as a separate process to the setting of the rates.

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

“A lot of hard work has gone into ensuring the charging levels for the new levy are at an appropriate level to help us pay for vital infrastructure improvements but also to show that we are sensitive to commercial realities and the need to support continued growth in Leeds as an attractive location for investors.

“The proposed levy rates in Leeds have been set following an extensive public consultation exercise carried out this year, with over 50 responses received from developers, businesses, parish councils, community groups, agencies and residents.

“We are very grateful to everyone who has taken part in the consultation. Their input has been invaluable in order to help us finalise our figures for something which is vitally important we get right.”

Notes to editors:


The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a new tariff-based system that will apply to new development, introduced by the Planning Act of 2008.

It will partly replace the existing system of planning obligations (Section 106 Agreements), particularly for those infrastructure projects that require funding from a number of different sources.

The CIL will therefore be used to help pay for projects such as schools, greenspace and public transport schemes.
S106 agreements will remain to address necessary site specific requirements, including affordable housing.

ENDS

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




Shortlist announced for 2013 Leeds Architecture Awards

PRESS RELEASE ISSUED JOINTLY BY LEEDS CHAMBER PROPERTY FORUM AND LEEDS CITY COUNCIL

Judging for the 2013 Leeds Architecture Awards takes place on Thursday 3rd October, with Trinity Leeds and the first direct arena amongst the list of shortlisted schemes.

The two Leeds heavyweights are joined on the shortlist by 17 other developments, selected from a total of 45 schemes nominated across five different categories.

A judging panel, chaired by guest assessors Martin and Oliver Wainwright, will visit each of the shortlisted schemes this week before deciding on the winners in each of the main categories. Martin Wainwright is the former Northern editor of The Guardian newspaper and author of the book ‘Leeds – Shaping the City’, published by RIBA. His son Oliver is the newspaper’s architecture critic.

Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony taking place at Leeds Town Hall on Thursday 23rd January 2014.
Organised by Leeds City Council and Leeds Chamber Property Forum, the Leeds Architecture Awards were set up to promote and provide a showcase for best practice in architecture and design.

The 2013 Leeds Architecture Awards will be the 25th awards ceremony and will include a special award for best sustainable building, selected from previous award winners.

Award categories include: best new building, covering completely new developments in the city; conserved building, focusing on restoration of historic buildings; altered buildings, celebrating new uses for existing buildings; landscape and public art; and a special children’s award, selected by a panel of young people who will chose their favourite building from this year’s awards.

The judging panel includes representatives from the Leeds Society of Architects, Leeds Civic Trust, Royal Institute of British Architects and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. A range of criteria will be used to assess each of the shortlisted schemes, including appearance, sustainability, fitness for purpose, relation to setting, appropriate use of materials, consistency of design, enhancement of the area and lasting qualities.

Andrew Latchmore, a partner at Shulmans LLP and chair of Leeds Chamber Property Forum, said:

“2013 has been a landmark year for Leeds, with flagship developments such as the arena and Trinity Leeds making national headlines. However, there have been a number of other first-class schemes completed in Leeds since the last awards in 2011. The awards provide an opportunity to highlight the best in class and celebrate the role of architecture and urban design in shaping the city.”

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

“The city of Leeds has been transformed since the first awards ceremony took place in 1987. The 2013 awards provide an opportunity to review how the urban landscape of Leeds has changed, consider which buildings and development schemes have stood the test of time and the contribution architecture has made to the character and nature of Leeds as a city.”

Guest assessor Martin Wainwright said:

"Subway art, mill chimneys, pioneering social housing, the Arena and much more - the shortlist is as fascinating and varied as you'd expect from the UK's best city. Olly and I only agree on things after fierce and thorough debate, so I'm much looking forward to the judging. Let discussion commence!"

[ends]

Notes for editors:

1. Shortlisted schemes for the 2013 Leeds Architecture Awards:
• Trinity Leeds (New Building / Landscape and Public Art)
• first direct arena - Clay Pit Lane, Leeds (New Building)
• LILAC - Lilac Grove, Victoria Park Avenue, Bramley (New Building)
• The First House - Chapel Allerton (New Building)
• Church Fields (phase one) - High Street, Boston Spa (New Building)
• Michael Marks Building (M&S Archive), Western Campus, University of Leeds (New Building)
• Age UK, Bradbury Building, Mark Lane, Leeds (Altered Building)
• Saxton, The Avenue, Richmond Hill (Altered Building)
• Crispin Lofts, New York Road, Leeds (Altered Building)
• Marshall’s Mill, Marshall Street, Holbeck (Altered Building)
• Reception to Martin House Hospice, Grove Road, Clifford, Wetherby (Altered Building)
• ‘Quiet Garden’, Martin House Hospice, Grove Road, Clifford, Wetherby (Landscape and Public Art)
• Morgans office, 75 Otley Road, Headingley (Altered Building and Landscape and Public Art)
• Former Majestyk, City Square, Leeds (Conserved Building)
• The Granary, Crag House Farm, Crag Hill, Cookridge (Altered and Conserved Building)
• Tower Works, Globe Road, Holbeck (Altered and Conserved Building)
• University Square and Sustainable Garden, University of Leeds (Landscape and Public Art)
• Feed Leeds - Civic Hall, Calverley Street, Leeds and Oakwood (Landscape and Public Art)
• Song Tunnel Artwork, Woodhouse Lane Subway, Leeds (Landscape and Public Art)

2. Members of the judging panel include:
Guest assessor Martin Wainwright MBE is a writer and broadcaster and author of 15 books including ‘Leeds - Shaping the City’, published by the RIBA. He retired in April as Northern Editor of The Guardian after working on the newspaper for 37 years.

Oliver Wainwright is the architecture and design critic of the Guardian. He trained as an architect at Cambridge and the Royal College of Art, and has worked in a variety of practices – from the Architecture and Urbanism Unit of the Greater London Authority, under Richard Rogers, to OMA/Rem Koolhaas in Rotterdam, to public realm work with Muf in London.

Mike Gardner, representing Leeds Chamber Property Forum; Edward Park, Chair of Leeds Society of Architects; Kevin Grady, Chair of Leeds Civic Trust; Keith Knight, Chair of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation; Jennifer Welch, director of RICS North and Midlands; Emma England regional director, RIBA Yorkshire; Emma Oldroyd, Landscape Architect, Leeds Met; and representing Leeds City Council, John Thorp MBE, Civic Architect; Stephen Robson, Landscape Team Leader; Phil Ward, Conservation Team Leader; Mark Burgess, Design Team Leader; Jenny Fisher, Urban Designer.


Work starts on new recycling and energy facility

(L to R) Daniel McConville, Ben Hutton and Ryan Brown join Veolia general manager Paul Fowler and Cllr Mark Dobson to officially start works on site.

(L to R)CNIM's project director Stephane Scheirich, Clugston Construction managing director Steve Radcliffe, Veolia director Christophe Bellynk, Cllr Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council's director of environment and housing Neil Evans and Clugston site operative Terry Smith oversee the official start of works.

Work officially got underway on the city's new recycling and energy facility yesterday (Wednesday 2 October).

The east Leeds site has become a hive of activity as the 300-strong construction team from Clugston begin to lay the site roads and start piling works.

Following employment events with the council's partner Veolia and Clugston, locally based people have been recruited to work on site. This includes Daniel McConville who is the site gate keeper and Ryan Brown and Ben Hutton. Both are quantity surveyors with Ryan joining the team on a year's placement from university. A number of Leeds businesses are also now in the construction supply chain.

Between now and the end of the year, a tower crane will arrive on site, ground stabilisation works will be completed and excavation to make way for key parts of the building will start.

The council’s partner, Veolia, will run the facility for 25 years and once operational in 2016, the facility will process up to 214,000 tonnes of black bin waste a year.

This will save the council around £200 million compared to continuing send this waste to landfill. This will help the city to achieve its long-term target of recycling more than 60% of its waste.

ENDS

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

and

Kevin Parker, Regional Communications Manager, Veolia Environmental Services (UK) Plc - 07909 883 226 or kevin.parker@veolia.co.uk

Review of council bowling greens’ set to be discussed

A proposed new way forward regarding the management of Leeds City Council outdoor crown green bowling sites is to be discussed by senior councillors next week.

This follows a public consultation earlier this year and the establishment of a working group, including crown green bowling association representatives, which looked to jointly agree how provision could be delivered in a sustainable manner in the future, whilst at the same time allow the council to tackle a current net subsidy in service provision for outdoor bowls of £245k each year.

As part of plans submitted to the meeting of the council’s Executive Board on Wednesday 9 October, a range of measures have been proposed to meet this challenge.

This includes over a four-year-period from 2014-2015 the introduction of a crown green bowl season ticket, beginning at £25 in the first year, which will allow bowlers to play on any council summer or winter green from April 1st to March 31st. The revised proposals will also see the introduction of a junior concession to encourage an increase in participation.

It has also been agreed with the bowling associations that clubs will begin to cover the cost of spending on gas and electricity in bowling pavilions, which is currently paid for by the council at a cost £30k per annum, along with the closure of six greens at five locations with multiple green sites from March 2014. Recommended for closure are sites at Potternewton Park, Harehills, Cranmore and Western Flatts Park which will each lose one green, with Woodhouse Moor Park losing two.

By introducing these proposals and at the same time preserving the council’s commitment to maintain the remaining greens throughout the city, it is estimated that the council will reduce its subsidy towards the provision of crown green bowling facilities by £114k by the end of 2017/2018.

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

“We have worked extremely hard through both a public consultation and a working group, which included Leeds bowling association representatives, to find a new way forward regarding how our outdoor bowling greens are managed in the future.

“With the very difficult financial challenge currently faced by the council and a current £245k subsidy in our city’s bowling greens, we simply could not continue as before and these proposals, I believe, set out a measured way in how we should proceed.

“One of our key aims throughout this process has been to keep any price increases to bowlers as low as possible. I therefore welcome the proposal, which will see incremental rises introduced over a four-year-period as part of a new yearly season ticket which will keep the costs to bowlers to an absolute minimum.

“On a final note, I would like to thank the bowling green associations and their members for the constructive way they have approached these discussions. This process has not been easy, and their valued contributions have played a pivotal part in the recommendations we have asked Executive Board members to support.”

Andrew Dewhirst, Chairman of Leeds and District Crown Green Bowling Association and Gordon Longfellow from the Wharfedale Clubs Bowls Trust said:

“Officers from Leeds and District Crown Green Bowling Association, along with colleagues from other associations, have worked closely with both officers from Leeds City Council and Councillor Dobson to establish this new way forward for crown green bowling in the city.

“Whilst some difficult discussions have had to be undertaken to arrive at this point, we are confident that the proposals being put forward to the council’s Executive Board for consideration will, if approved, put our sport on a much more sustainable and secure footing for the future.”

Notes to editors:

For more information on the crown bowling greens Executive board paper, please see: http://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/documents/s102895/Bowling%20Cover%20Report%20270913.pdf

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