Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Senior councillors set to approve Elland Road park and ride scheme

Caption: An artist's impression of the park and ride site at Elland Road

Final approval for the creation of the city’s first major bus-based park and ride scheme will be considered by senior councillors in Leeds next week.

At its meeting at Civic Hall on Wednesday 6 November, the council’s executive board will be asked to give the go-ahead to the £2.8million project to create a new park and ride scheme to be run from the council-owned car parks to the west of Elland Road Stadium.

The plan and designs have been drawn up by Leeds City Council and Metro, with the scheme seeing the introduction of an express bus service running every 15 minutes to and from Boar Lane in Leeds city centre.

The service would run from 7am to 7pm Monday to Saturday, excluding Saturday matchdays when Leeds United are playing at home. Running initially for a five-year period, the service would provide parking space for up to 800 vehicles at Elland Road and significantly ease congestion by reducing vehicle numbers entering the city centre.

Work on site would see a formal parking area being put in place along with bus waiting facilities, a shelter, lighting, signage, ticketing machines, fences, CCTV and landscaping to enhance to visual appeal of the area.

Planning permission was granted last week, so should executive board approve the plans work would be expected to start on site in February 2014 with the service scheduled to start operating three months later in May.

Funding for the scheme is from the West Yorkshire Local Transport Plan and contributions secured from other developments.

Surveys carried out across the city identified Elland Road as the best location to base a viable park and ride operation, with more to follow across Leeds in future years. Leeds United, Metro and West Yorkshire Police are supportive of the proposals, and a public consultation exercise has been carried out including with local councillors and a local community group.

The proposal forms part of the wider ‘Elland Road masterplan’ first outlined in 2007 to develop the area around the football ground which will help the broader regeneration of Beeston and Holbeck.

Under this masterplan, the site is expected to see a new permanent ice rink being created adjacent to the proposed park and ride area. Planning permission has been granted for the rink, which is scheduled to open in the autumn of 2014. Construction is also underway at Elland Road on the new divisional headquarters for West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, with an estimated completion date of early-2014.

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

“The Elland Road masterplan is a key area of development for the city, and along with the new police headquarters and the ice rink the park and ride scheme has a major role to play not only in reducing traffic congestion in the city centre but also in promoting investment and regeneration in Beeston and Holbeck.

“We do recognise local concerns about the impact on the immediate area by the park and ride scheme, but I would like to reiterate we will do everything we can to address and minimise any problems to ensure this scheme is a success for the local area and Leeds as whole.”


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

Top civic honour awarded to Leeds businessman

"The Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr Tom Murray present the Leeds Award to Victor Watson CBE DL"
A local businessman who has served the city of Leeds with great distinction for over half a century has received a top civic honour.

The immense contribution of Victor Watson CBE DL, was recognised this month with the presentation of a ‘Leeds Award’ by the Lord Mayor Councillor Thomas Murray at a special ceremony held in the civic hall.

A former 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers after World War II, Victor joined Leeds based company John Waddington LTD in 1951, and was made chairman in 1977 until his retirement in 1993.

During his time at John Waddington, Victor played a major role in helping to develop the famous board game ‘Monopoly’ that the company made, which has subsequently become a firm favourite right around the world.

Outside of his work at John Waddington, Victor has also held a wide range of other posts in the city, including President and Chairman of the Leeds Chamber of Commerce, Director of Yorkshire Television PLC and Director of Leeds Holbeck Society.

A great supporter of education, charities and voluntary organisations in Leeds over many years, the 85-year-old is still Chairman of Governors at Gateways School after 25 years of service, a trustee of Martin House Hospice and a former President at the Northern Division of Mencap.

The honour of the Leeds Award, will sit aside a range of accolades already given to Victor during his illustrious years of service, which include a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Yorkshire Business Awards and an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Laws by the University of Leeds.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Thomas Murray said:
“Victor has made an enormous contribution to the city over many, many years, and it is fitting that his work has been recognised with a Leeds award.

“His enthusiasm and dedication is absolutely fantastic, and his efforts will leave a lasting impact not just in business, but a host of education, charity, voluntary and cultural organisations which he has actively supported in Leeds.”

Notes to editors:
The Leeds Award is a prestigious honour that recognises that there are many people, groups, organisations and teams that bring great credit to the City through their exceptional hard work and dedication.
Criteria for granting the Award:
• Awarded to those who change the life or lives of the people of Leeds.
• For those who perform an exceptional service to their community
• Precluded from the Leeds Award if previously recognised for the same service by a national award
• A person/team/group/organisation may not nominate themselves and, where appropriate, letters of support in addition to the nomination may be required
• If an individual is nominated by a family member, another independent nomination or letter of support must be received.

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

Bright sparks reap rewards from gadget recycling

Caption: Eco team members (l to r) Chloe Walker, Holly Grassham, Rebecca Green, Joshua Riley and Grace Oliver receive their reward from Cllr Jack Dunn and Vikki Law from Weee Link.

Kippax pupils were celebrating last week having picked up their reward for recycling old gadgets.

Over the summer term, staff and pupils at Kippax North Junior, Infants and Nursery School collected a total of 113kg of old electronics in their waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) bank.

Similar in size and shape to bottle banks, the WEEE banks have been placed in 30 playgrounds to help the schools and communities stop unwanted, outdated or broken gadgets going to waste.

The out-of-steam irons, toasted toasters and kaput kettles recycled by the school put them in second place for the amount collected. The school was awarded £300 for their efforts.

Each term last year, the council’s partner Weee Link rewarded the top three schools that recycled the most with cash prizes to be invested in other environmental projects. Weee Link collect the items and break them up to recycle the parts.

For the summer term, Ireland Wood Primary School again topped the recycling league table with Guiseley School coming third. The schools have been awarded £500 and £200 respectively for their continued efforts.

Councillor Jack Dunn, deputy executive member for the environment, said:

“My congratulations go to all the staff and pupils at Kippax North Junior, Infants and Nursery School. They’ve made a real, continued effort to help the whole school community understand the benefits of re-using and recycling electronics that would otherwise go to waste.

“I’m confident that with the ongoing support of schools across the city, we can help spread the reduce, re-use, recycle message and help people reap the environmental and financial rewards of doing so.”

Barbara Clark, headteacher at Kippax North junior, infants and nursery school, said:

“You can’t miss the WEEE bank in the school ground so it’s been an ideal way for us to engage with pupils and their parents about recycling.

“The prize will be a real kick start to some of our newer projects. We’ll be investing in caddies for our composters and crop protection to stop animals nibbling on the food the pupils have worked so hard to nurture in our allotment. However, the pupils are most excited as the prize brings us one step closer to getting our own chickens.”

Vikki Law, scheme manager at Weee Link, said:

“The work of staff and children at Kippax school is nothing short of inspirational - a highly deserved recipient of last terms prize. I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to visit the school and together with Councillor Dunn, to present the cheque to such worthy winners.”

In the academic year 2012/13 all 30 schools collected a total of 5,623kg of electrical items.

Notes to editors:

Items that can be placed in the WEEE banks include: battery operated toys, CD players, chargers, clocks and watches, computer keyboards, electrical DIY and gardening tools, DVD players, cables, electric toothbrushes, electric toys, hairdryers, hair straighteners, internet boxes, irons, kettles, phones, radios, remote controls, shavers, small electric fans, small kitchen appliances, toasters and video cameras.

The schools with WEEE banks are: Bramhope Primary, Bramley Primary, Broadgate Primary, Colton Primary, Cottingley Primary, Driglington Primary, East Garforth Primary, Five Lanes Primary, Guiseley Infants, Guiseley School, Horsforth Newlaithes School, Ireland Wood Primary, Kippax North J & I School, Little London Primary, Meadowfield Primary, Morley Newlands, Moortown Primary, Ninelands Lane, Otley Whartons Primary, Pudsey Lowtown Primary, Rawdon Littlemoor Primary, Rawdon St Peters Primary, Rothwell C of E Primary, Stanningley Primary, Swillington Primary, Templemoor High School, Thorner Primary, Westerton Primary, Whitecote Primary and Yeadon Westfield Primary.

Currently over a third of all schools are registered with the Leeds sustainable schools framework working to improve their environmental performance across a range of areas including energy, waste, building, grounds and global links.

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


Senior councillors to discuss halting plans for parking permit charges

Senior councillors will next week consider scrapping for now plans to introduce a fee for resident and visitor parking permits following public consultation.

The council undertook an extensive consultation exercise by asking for the views of around 10,500 Leeds residents.

Following the results of this, Leeds City Council’s executive board are expected to agree the decision when they meet next Wednesday.

In June, the executive board agreed to consult on the proposals to charge for the permits in light of the unprecedented budget pressures being faced by the authority.

But after receiving more than 4,200 responses from the public, senior councillors are set to not proceed any further with the introduction of fees at this time.

Councillor Richard Lewis, the council’s executive member for development and economy, said: “Like everyone in Leeds, in the current economic climate we are having to make some difficult decisions.

“The council has to save at least £36 million over the course of the next year and our options for generating income are reducing every day.

“However, despite these budget pressures, the views of our residents are always hugely important to any decision that we make.

“But whilst I believe we have done the right thing by fully consulting with the public before taking any decision, the financial gap – and consequent headache - still remains.”


1. Of the city’s 320,600 households, 16,200 are in areas which are covered by a parking permit scheme.

2. Of those, 10,500 currently hold free resident and visitor permits, with 21,374 individual permits being issued by the council.

3. The current annual running cost of residents parking permit schemes is £164,870.

4. During the consultation, 61 per cent of respondents said they felt their parking permit scheme had made parking near their home easier, with 52 per cent fully supporting the scheme.

For more information, contact:

Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937
Email: stuart.robinson@leeds.gov.uk

Citizens@Leeds – A plan to tackle poverty and deprivation in Leeds

Proposals which put the citizens of Leeds at the forefront of a new plan to tackle poverty in the city will be considered by senior councillors at a meeting of the executive board in Leeds next week.

The proposals include banning advertising by high cost lenders and providing easier access to a broader set of essential advice services, to help the citizens of Leeds who are either at risk of falling in to poverty or already experiencing the devastating impact of living on the breadline.

Following on from last week’s successful national conference about tackling the issues around high cost lenders, organised by Leeds City Council, the council’s executive board, is now considering a raft of proposals which have been put together to provide solutions to one of the city’s biggest challenges – poverty.

The four propositions cover:
• The need to provide accessible and integrated services:
• The need to help people out of financial hardship:
• The need to help people into work; and
• The need to be responsive to the needs of local communities.

The proposals include the introduction of ‘community hubs’ that provide the right mix of council and partner services each community needs, in the most efficient manner. This will involve a more integrated approach to service delivery and maximise the use of the assets and service points that currently exist across the city including joint service centres, one stop centres, housing management offices, libraries and children’s centres.

To ensure that the services reach the people who need it most, this new approach will also see pop-up services being provided in places like supermarkets and GP surgeries and a mobile provision will also be available. The community hub concept will be initially tested in three existing one stop centres in Harehills, Middleton and Armley.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“We want to do all we can to stop people suffering and help them get out of poverty. The best way to do this is by helping people find employment opportunities, make sure they have easy access to all the essential advice and support services and promote sensible low-cost borrowing options.

“These proposals set out a thorough and sensible approach to tackling poverty and deprivation - one of the biggest challenges our city is facing. By focusing our services on the people who need it most we can start to improve the lives and futures of people who find themselves living on the breadline.”

The council’s proposals aim to support people to achieve affordable renting, affordable fuel, financial inclusion, digital inclusion, live healthy lives and improve employability.

Particularly vulnerable groups of people such as young people leaving council care and ex-members of the armed forces who are experiencing hardship would be specially targeted for assistance under the new proposals.

As well as extending the council’s campaign to tackle high-cost lenders, by banning advertisements on council facilities and other assets the council is also looking to develop agreements with key partners across the city to put in place similar arrangements. At the same time the council will support the credit union to develop its services and accessibility as a more affordable option for citizens.

Cllr Wakefield added:
“Unfortunately high-cost lenders seem to feed off those people who can least afford it, and are in fact pushing some people into poverty – rather than helping them, as they may claim. We have already started sharing our ambitious plans to rid the city of these unscrupulous lenders, at our very successful conference last week. We are hopeful that our ‘Take a stand’ campaign, announced at the conference, will encourage more cities to look at how they can stop the activities of predatory lenders in their communities.”

By using the new community hubs, the council will deliver improved training and employment advice services to help people into training and employment, focused on those who need it most and in places where it is most accessible.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk

Tickets sale announced for BBC Sports Personality of the Year in Leeds


Caption This year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards will be held at the first direct arena in Leeds

Tickets go on sale for BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2013 on Friday 1 November at 9am.

The star-studded event, now in its 60th year, will take place on Sunday 15 December at the first direct arena in Leeds. This hugely anticipated evening features over two hours of celebration, looking back at the sporting events that have made the headlines this year and the sports men and women who made them. Hosted by Gary Lineker, Clare Balding and Gabby Logan, the 2013 Sports Personality of the year will be broadcast live on BBC One and BBC One HD.

Tickets are priced at £40, £50 and £60 and will be subject to a 10 % service charge (except for cash payments – see below) with a limit of four per person. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, minimum age 10 years. Full information available at bbc.co.uk/sportspersonality

To book go to www.firstdirectarena.com or phone 0844 248 1585. Tickets can also be bought directly from the Arena ticket office at the Trinity Leeds Customer Service Lounge. The ticket office is open Monday to Saturday 9am – 8pm and Sundays 11am – 5pm. Tickets paid for in cash in person at the ticket office will not be subject to the service charge.

It has been another amazing sporting year, with highlights including the Lions victory, England’s Ashes triumph, Andy Murray being crowned Wimbledon champion, Ellie Simmonds triple gold medal haul at the IPC World Swimming Championships, Christine Ohurougu and Mo Farah’s golds at the World Athletics Championships and Justin Rose claiming the US Open.

Last year the coveted trophy was won by Sir Bradley Wiggins. This year’s winner will join him and some of the many sporting greats to claim the trophy before them, including; Bobby Moore, Princess Anne, Lord Sebastian Coe, Daley Thompson, Dame Mary Peters, Torvill and Dean, Liz McColgan, Sir Steve Redgrave, David Beckham, Dame Kelly Homes, Andrew Flintoff, Sir Chris Hoy, Jonathan Edwards, Paula Radcliffe, Zara Philips and the first winner, Sir Christopher Chataway, in 1954.


For further information contact:
Diane Bramall
Publicist, BBC Sport and BBC Radio 5 live
Tel: 07850 212100
Email: diane.bramall@bbc.co.uk

Bridgewater Place owners take on major wind issue design solution

The owners of Bridgewater Place have agreed to take responsibility for a comprehensive scheme to reduce wind issues around the building and in the nearby roadway.

Since early 2008 Leeds City Council has been pushing for a detailed design solution to combat problems caused by high winds around the city’s tallest building.

A number of measures were put in place to make the area safer for passers-by and road users, but the council has been actively pursuing a comprehensive and permanent scheme on both the building and in the road.

The council also appointed design company Buro Happold to devise a sophisticated solution to address wind problems not just for the building itself- as proposed by its owners- but also for the environment around it.

Now the owners of Bridgewater Place have agreed to take on responsibility for the entire scheme and appoint the same design company to speed up its progress. It has been indicated that plans may be submitted to the council before Christmas this year.

Up until recently they had accepted responsibility only for wind mitigation measures on their own land and not for the adjacent highway.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for development and the economy, said:
“This is excellent news that will deliver the solution we have been striving towards for a considerable length of time. We have always insisted that we will not settle for anything that falls short of a complete design scheme to combat the dangers of high winds to both pedestrians and road users around Bridgewater Place.

“We now look forward to the company presenting its plans to the council before the end of the year.”

Officers are now to formally request permission of the council’s executive board to put on hold the work done so far with Buro Happold, on which councillors agreed spending of up to £245k in February this year, to allow the owners to take over the scheme.

A potential solution had been identified for the council by the company’s wind experts which involves canopies and large screens on the building and a number of 4 metre deep “baffles” to be placed six metres above Water Lane.

Intensive wind tunnel testing by specialists of the design has produced very promising results, with significant improvements to other options previously tested.

Notes to editors:
While pursuing the comprehensive design solution, Leeds City Council introduced a number of measures to combat the effects of high winds at Bridgewater Place.
Concrete barriers and guard railing were put in place in in April 2008, with the concrete barriers being replaced by guard railing later that year. A total 180 metres of guard rail was installed around the building.
High-sided vehicles over 7.5 tonnes were also diverted away from Neville Street when wind speeds topped 45mph from a westerly direction. This has recently been upgraded to a permanent ban on all HGVs from Victoria Bridge, whatever the weather conditions. Electronic warning signs to all road users are also automatically triggered at 35mph.

For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office, 0113- 224 3335
Email donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk