Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Hundreds flock to enjoy new £28m Holt Park Active

Hundreds of excited residents flocked to the opening weekend of the fantastic new Holt Park Active wellbeing centre.

Around 1,500 people are estimated to have visited the state-of-the-art, £28m centre over two days after the doors officially opened to the public on Saturday.

A range of free activities and taster sessions were organised ahead of the opening on Saturday morning, including cycling, kettlebell sessions, Tai-Chi and Pilates.

Among those who visited the centre was Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure.

Coun Yeadon said: “It was fantastic to see so many people coming along and enjoying this brilliant new centre and getting their first look at everything it has to offer.

“Everyone in the area has been really excited waiting for the doors to open and now that they have, Holt Park Active is sure to be a facility the local community and the city as a whole can be proud of.”

The wellbeing centre on Holtdale Approach includes a 70-station Bodyline gym, 25-metre pool, hydrotherapy and learning pools, dance studio, café, garden, sports hall, multi-activity rooms, Changing Places facility and meeting / training areas.

The new pool was used by around 685 swimmers of various ages over the weekend, with 74 tickets being bought for the new gym and many also taking the chance to sign up for gym membership.

As well as being a sporting hub, the centre will also host a range of activities for older people and those with physical or learning disabilities, including the hydrotherapy pool and an older people’s space.

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive member for Adult Social Care said: “The fact that so many people have already taken the chance to visit the new Holt Park Active centre speaks volumes about what this facility means to the local community.

“Over the coming weeks and months, we hope to see even more people of all ages and those with disabilities putting the state-of-the-art spaces and equipment at the centre to good use.”

The project to build the new centre has been overseen by Leeds City Council, with funding from the Department of Health through the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Work has been carried out through the Local Education Partnership alongside their contractor Interserve Construction.

For further information visit www.leeds.gov.uk/holtparkactive, call 0113 378 1301 or follow @HoltParkActive on Twitter.

ENDS

-Images from last week’s viewing event at Holt Park Active are available on request

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

All homeowners can heat their home for less


The council’s scheme to make homes cheaper to heat is now available to any Leeds homeowner.

Until now, Wrap Up Leeds ECO was only available to people in receipt of certain benefits. Now, anyone who owns their own property can benefit from energy saving home improvements.

Many of the improvements – like solid wall and roof insulation – will be significantly discounted and some residents may even qualify for a free boiler replacement.

As well as cutting fuel bills, the scheme will also help make Leeds’ homes greener – better insulated homes also mean reduced emissions by using less energy to heat them.

The team will be launching the next phase of the scheme at a property undergoing an energy efficient renovation.

**********Media opportunity**********
Media are invited to be the first to view a through terrace property that has benefited from an energy efficient makeover at 12.00 on Wednesday 16 October.

The home has had insulation and a new boiler – all available under Wrap Up Leeds ECO – as well as a host of other green improvements installed by LATCH staff and volunteers, learning on-the-job skills.

Join the Wrap Up Leeds ECO team, Councillor Mark Dobson and volunteers and staff from LATCH at the newly refurbished home for a viewing, photos and interviews at 18 Hillcrest View, LS2 4EB.

Please contact 0113 395 1577 to confirm your attendance.
**********Media opportunity**********

Following on from the council’s original, successful Wrap Up Leeds scheme which offered loft and cavity wall insulation, this new phase of Wrap Up Leeds ECO covers a wider range energy saving measures including heating controls, glazing and different types of insulation.

Even if residents have previously been turned down for cavity wall insulation due to how their home was built, Wrap UP Leeds ECO could still help thanks to the new products on offer, often at no cost to the homeowner.

Funding from energy companies means that the many energy saving products can be offered at reduced prices.

The first step is a home energy survey which will be offered at a special promotional price. Homeowners can pay for any shortfall from a source of their choice.

People can find out if they could benefit by calling 0113 395 0757, emailing wrapupleeds@leeds.gov.uk or visiting www.wrapupleeds.co.uk.

All works will be subject to a survey and will be carried out by the council’s partners SSE, Willmott Dixon Energy Services and Keepmoat.

Having already been vetted by the council, potential customers can be assured that they will be offered the best service.

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

“To help people out of fuel poverty and make Leeds greener, we need to make schemes like Wrap Up Leeds ECO available to as many people as possible. Widening the scheme to all homeowners, regardless of their circumstances is the next natural step.

“Having previously visited the home while works were underway, I know the property has undergone an amazing transformation. The type of work done shows that you can make your home warmer, greener and cheaper to heat and it still looks like any other on your street.”

Nigel Banks, Keepmoat group sustainability director, said:

“It’s great that we are able to work with Leeds City Council and our partners to help Wrap Up Leeds.

“The health, lifestyle and economic benefits of warmer homes, particularly for those most in need, are huge, so we would encourage Leeds residents to take advantage of the works that are on offer.”

Charles Farley, SSE Leeds development director, said:

“SSE is really pleased to be working with Leeds City Council on the Wrap Up Leeds ECO campaign and is excited about this new phase of the programme. SSE is bringing its wealth of experience to the project to install insulation measures and more efficient boilers to reduce household energy consumption, which in turn will make a positive impact to reducing energy bills. In this next phase we look forward to delivering these energy efficiency benefits to even more people in Leeds.”

Rob Lambe, managing director, Willmott Dixon Energy Services, said:

“We are delighted to be offering a wider range of energy saving measures including solid wall insulation to private homeowners in Leeds. The second phase of the Wrap Up Leeds ECO initiative will help householders heat their homes for less and live in greener, better insulated homes at a subsidised cost under the Government’s Energy Companies Obligation-ECO.”

With Wrap Up Leeds ECO, people could get a new boiler that could save them £300 a year or even insulation for cavity walls and lofts that could save up to £310 a year.

ENDS

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

Agreement reached over major Merrion House redevelopment



Caption: An artist's impression of the new Merrion House

Council customer services in Leeds will be offered from a new city centre home after agreement was reached for a redeveloped and expanded Merrion House.

In a deal revealed today by Leeds City Council and building owners Town Centre Securities PLC, the existing Merrion House is to be completely refurbished while a new extension is to be added to provide a new one stop centre for all main council services in the city centre.

The deal represents the largest office pre-let in Leeds city centre in more than 20 years, with the council’s existing long-term lease arrangement on Merrion House being replaced by a new 25-year agreement. As part of the new deal, the building will become jointly owned by Leeds City Council and Town Centre Securities PLC.

The agreement, which is subject to planning approval, would see staff numbers in the new Merrion House increase from 1200 to 1900 and allow the council to retain a maximum of four key city centre office buildings with the others being Civic Hall, Enterprise House and St George’s House.

Six council buildings have already been disposed of and there will be a minimum of seven more to follow in order to bring about savings of more than £15million over 25 years. This is being achieved under the council’s changing the workplace programme, adopting flexible and modern new working methods and environments to improve efficiency.

The new Merrion House will offer approximately 170,000 square feet of office space in total, including 50,000 square feet of office space in a new extension.

The new six-story extension will feature a new integrated one stop centre on the ground floor, offering the public access to all the main council services plus a number of additional partner services including Leeds City Credit Union and the Volunteer Centre Leeds.

The building will feature a mezzanine in order to create more space and an atrium to maximise the provision of natural light into the new one stop centre. The facility will host enquiry positions and rooms, self-service points, waiting areas, public toilets and baby change facilities as well as a Changing Places Accessible toilet.

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“We are delighted to have reached this agreement with Town Centre Securities PLC. I am particularly pleased that the newly-integrated one stop centre will enable us to offer better, easier access to a whole range of services to the public, all in a modern, state-of-the-art new building.

“At the same time, we will be saving a substantial amount of money – over £15million - which can be reinvested into those same services for the benefit of local people.

“The improvements will also help with the drive to regenerate a key area of the city centre, complementing the first direct arena and the Merrion Centre, and will help Leeds to continue to grow both economically and culturally, as well as assisting to meet our ambition of becoming the best city in the UK.”

Edward Ziff, Chairman and Chief Executive of Town Centre Securities PLC, said:

“To be able to bring all the council’s operations together at Merrion House in what represents the largest city centre office deal in over two decades is another achievement for the Arena Quarter.

“With the continued investment into the Merrion Centre, the area is transforming itself into one of the city’s most important destinations and this latest deal is testament to that. We are looking forward to creating a superb new facility for the council to enable its long-term strategic goals.”

ENDS

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

For Town Centre Securities media enquiries please contact:

Faye Binns, Space PR,
0113 259 7685
faye@spacepr.co.uk