Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Bridgewater Place road junction closure for high winds

People are being warned to plan ahead to avoid possible major disruption around Bridgewater Place tomorrow morning as roads will be closed due to expected exceptionally high winds.

Leeds City Council will shut the junction where Yorkshire’s tallest building stands due to the forecasts of high winds of up to 75mph.

No vehicles or cycles will be allowed along Victoria Road, Water Lane or Neville Street from around 6am until wind speeds drop to lower levels. A high-sided vehicle diversion at the junction will also be in place from midnight tonight

Meanwhile the council is carefully considering a recommendation from assistant coroner Melanie Williamson to shut the streets should wind speeds be lower- at around 45mph- to all users including pedestrians- and will report back to her within the statutory 56 days.

Her comments came as she gave her verdict yesterday that winds caused by Bridgewater Place did directly result in the death of Dr Edward Slaney when a passing lorry blew onto him.

She also ruled that Leeds City Council’s highways and planning decisions regarding the building were entirely appropriate, agreed with the council’s suggestion that the government should draw up national planning guidance on wind issues for tall buildings and put pressure on the building’s owners to bring forward their design solution for the problem as soon as possible.

Leeds City Council’s director of development Martin Farrington said:
“Given the high winds forecast and the known risk caused by Bridgewater Place we will close the roads around the building tomorrow. We appreciate the traffic disruption that this will cause, but these are exceptionally strong winds and we have to consider the safety of all road users.”

“While we need to take time to examine the coroner’s recommendations we would have had to close the junction tomorrow anyway due to the weather forecast. We apologise for the inconvenience and ask people who will be travelling in this area of the city to plan ahead.”

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

Dutch delegation visits Leeds to gain Tour insight

Caption: Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills Cllr Lucinda Yeadon (centre) flanked by left-to-right Hermien van der Wal, Martijn van Hulsteijn, Ton Wetselaar and Jo de Viet of Utrecht City Council outside Leeds Town Hall this week

A delegation of special guests from the Netherlands visited Leeds this week to see how the city is preparing to host the start of next year’s Tour de France.

Representatives of the city of Utrecht were in Leeds on Monday on a fact-finding visit as they begin their own preparations for the world’s largest annual sporting event having been chosen to host the Grand Départ of the following year’s race in 2015.

Led by project director Martijn van Hulsteijn, the delegation visited Civic Hall where they met and heard from representatives of the team delivering the 2014 Grand Départ – Leeds City Council, TdFHUB2014Ltd and Welcome to Yorkshire.

The group were given an insight into how the plans have developed around the Leeds start, which will take place from The Headrow in the city centre on Saturday 5 July 2014. They also discussed the business opportunities and economic benefits offered by the Tour de France, plus elements around marketing, profile-raising and communications.

While in Leeds, the delegation took in a guided walking tour of some of the city centre locations to be used to host the Tour next summer. They also heard about the work being carried out to secure a long-term legacy of the event by City of York Council, the authority leading on legacy for the Yorkshire region, and the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (Metro).

Utrecht Tour de France Grand Départ 2015 project director Martijn van Hulsteijn said:

“We are very grateful to Leeds for inviting us to come and talk to them about hosting the Grand Départ of the Tour de France, and it was a very enjoyable and valuable visit as we could discuss what they are doing and to find out how their plans have developed.

“We are thrilled to be following Leeds as the next host city of the start of the Tour de France. Like Leeds Utrecht has a real passion for cycling and we are honoured to have been chosen to start the 2015 Tour. We will be watching the 2014 start in Leeds with great interest and excitement as we get ready for our own Grand Départ a year later.”

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“We were delighted to meet the delegation from Utrecht and compare notes and ideas about hosting the Grand Départ of the Tour de France. The challenge it presents as a city is immense, but we know the hard work will all be worth it when the world turns its attention on Leeds and the Yorkshire region next July.

“The plans are now coming together as we prepare to enter the final few months before the largest annual sporting event in the world comes to Leeds, which is sure to be an amazing few days not to be missed.”

Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire Gary Verity said:

“I am sure the team from Utrecht will be feeling the same buzz and excitement that we had when we found out we had won our collective bid to host the Grand Départ in Yorkshire. The time flies and I hope they enjoy the journey as much as we have and continue to do so.”

For more information on the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ visit

Notes to editors:

Leeds City Council is the lead local authority for the Grand Départ of the 2014 Tour de France, liaising with other authorities and stakeholders on the route and in the Yorkshire region.

TdFHUB2014Ltd is the not-for-profit company set up by UK Sport to co-ordinate planning across the three stages of the Tour de France taking place in England in 2014, working with local authorities, Welcome to Yorkshire and other partners. It is headed by Sir Rodney Walker, the former chair of UK Sport.

Welcome to Yorkshire is the county’s official tourism agency and led the successful bid to bring the Grand Départ to Yorkshire.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,

Roundhay Park and Tropical World ‘taken over’ by six Leeds youngsters

Caption: Pupils from Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Primary School meet one of Tropical World’s Tarantulas.
(L-R-front) - Damian Robinson, Daisy Weekes, Jessica Hernandez, Grace O’Brien and Tropical World keeper Steve Dickie.
(L-R-back) - Rob Driver (Leeds City Council education officer), Harry Fox and CY Importio are joined by Tropical World mascot Mango the Meerkat.

It was a day never to forget for six Leeds school children, as they helped call the shots at one of the city’s most popular parks and tourist attractions.

As part of the ‘takeover day’ event which began at Roundhay Park, pupils from Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Primary School in Moortown were given the chance to see at close quarters the work that is undertaken on a daily basis at one of Leeds most iconic greenspaces, and also to contribute to key decisions taken on the day.

Following an exclusive tour from the site manager, where the youngsters had the chance to offer their thoughts and ideas on possible improvements that could be made at the park, their next stop was the award-winning Chelsea Gardens where they met members of the council team that look after the site.

After assisting the gardeners there with the maintenance of the display, the children then paid a visit, as part of their management duties, to Tropical World, where they worked closely with the keepers to ensure all the animals were looked after correctly.

Included as part of their responsibilities was cleaning out the enclosures and feeding the animals, and they also had the opportunity to meet some of the attractions scariest inhabitants, which included a tarantula spider.

Takeover Day is a national initiative organised every year by the Children’s Commissioner for England. However Leeds decided to take things a bit further than the usual ‘Takeover day’ and held a ‘Takeover month’ throughout November.

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

"The takeover days are always a great learning experience, and it was fantastic that this year, six pupils from Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Primary School were able join in the work and decisions undertaken at Roundhay Park and Tropical World.

"A lot of time and effort is put in to ensure that Roundhay Park and Tropical World are kept looking fantastic for visitors, and it was extremely interesting and useful therefore to hear the perspectives, thoughts and ideas of our young people about the park and how it might be improved.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for the contribution they made, which really was superb."

For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

Health without Wealth summit highlights challenges

Around 100 health and care professionals from across Leeds heard startling details of the impact poverty has on health today at a conference featuring experts from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Children’s Society and the NHS.

The event focussed on finding practical and innovative ways to be more responsive to the challenges of poor health and poverty.

Experts highlighted the poor health issues that disproportionately affect people on low incomes and they looked at ways that use of innovation and best practice could provide solutions even while resources were under pressure.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council, said:

“There’s a lot of good work around financial inclusion, budgeting and debt advice already taking place and we’re tackling loan sharks head on. With rising rates of social housing tenants in arrears and the effects of welfare reform starting to hit, the effect of poverty on the health of residents of all ages is a real and major challenge which we are committed to tackling.”

Cllr Lisa Mulherin, Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, said:

“The Health and Wellbeing Board is the forum for making health decisions in the city and we’re actively trying to find ways to reduce health inequalities and support more people back into work and healthy employment.

"But with over 30,000 children living in poverty in Leeds and a life expectancy gap of 12 years between the most and least deprived ward in the city, it is absolutely clear we need to do all we can to ensure health and care professionals are able and ready to respond, both to prevent poverty and to minimise its effect.”

Speakers included:
• Ruth Passman Deputy Director, Equality and Health Inequalities, Equality and Health Inequalities, NHS England),
• Dr Emma Stone (Director of Policy, Joseph Rowntree Foundation) and
• Damian Allen (Director of Children and Families, The Children’s Society)

They highlighted the importance of tackling a range of the most urgent health and poverty problems across the city, as well as discussing potential solutions with managers and practitioners from across the NHS, council and voluntary/community sector.

Dr Stone said:

“We know from our research how crucial it is for local authorities to have joined-up strategy and a real commitment to addressing poverty.

"I’m delighted Leeds has both made a clear pledge to tackling deprivation and poor health, and as today’s event shows, it is making real efforts to integrate work across the city to deliver more effective services.”

‘Health without Wealth: the health and care response to Poverty in Leeds’, was sponsored by the city’s Health and Wellbeing Board, and held at Leeds City Museum.


Issued by:
Phil Morcom
Communications and Marketing team
Leeds City Council
4th Floor West, Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

Mobile: 0772 227 5370
Tel: 0113 395 0393
Fax: 0113 247 4736

Notes to editors:
Data on employment rates in Leeds can be found at:
Wider social and economic data is at:
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation have extensive resources detailing poverty data and information at
More information about the Children’s Society is at:

Leeds Olympic heroes to officially open new Holt Park Active

Caption: Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council's executive member for leisure and skills and centre manager Mark Robinson poolside at Holt Park Active.

Olympic heroes Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee will be among the star-studded line-up on hand to officially open the new Holt Park Active wellbeing centre next week.

The triathlete brothers, who scooped gold and bronze respectively at the London 2012 games, will be joined by para-cyclist David Stone, who won gold at the 2012 Paralympics.

Also at the opening on December 9 will be Dick Gradley, who captained the British gymnastics team at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

Following speeches from Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure and skills and Cllr Adam Ogilvie, the council’s executive member for adult social care, the athletes will unveil a plaque to mark the official opening of the £28m centre.

Cllr Yeadon said: “It’s a real testament to the fantastic facilities on offer at Holt Park Active that some of our Olympics and Paralympic stars will be coming along for the official opening and to have a look around.

“The response from the local community since the centre first opened its doors in October has been amazing and even in such a short time, Holt Park Active has already firmly established itself as a hub for the whole community.”

The flagship wellbeing centre on Holtdale Approach is the first of its kind in Leeds and includes a range of flexible spaces for activities and support services for people of all ages and abilities.

The centre features 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.

Since opening to the public, the centre has also become home to a range of activities for older people, with service users who attended traditional day centre settings like Queenswood Drive now enjoying new activities at Holt Park Active.

Customers from the Learning Disability Service are also now using the centre as a brand new base.

Councillor Adam Ogilvie said: “Holt Park Active is a really important asset to the city, not only from a sporting perspective but also as a shining example of what we want to offer our older people and those with disabilities both now and in the future.

“The response we’ve had from those already using the centre has been really positive and we’re looking forward to giving more of our service users the chance to try out these state-of-the-art facilities.”

The project to build the new centre was 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, call 0113 378 1301 or follow @HoltParkActive on Twitter.


- Media are invited to attend the official opening event at Holt Park Active on December 9 from 10am. A plaque will be unveiled at approximately 10.45am.

- For more details or to confirm attendance, contact:
Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937

Should Leeds bid to become the European Capital of Culture?

A meeting is set to be held next month that will begin the conversation on whether Leeds should put itself forward to become the 2023 European Capital of Culture.

As part of the event at Leeds Town Hall on 7 January from 2pm-5pm, those in attendance will have the opportunity to join the discussion, and give their thoughts on the city potentially putting together a bid for 2023.

With one of the most diverse populations in the UK representing communities with roots in more than 200 countries, Leeds is already the home to a wide-range of world class talent and cultural attractions as diverse as the Leeds West Indian carnival, Opera North and The Tetley - Leeds' newest arts space.

Next year, Leeds will also be hosting one of the world’s greatest sporting events the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ, the British Art Show in October 2015 and in the same year will be a host city for the Rugby Union World Cup.

A bid to become the European Capital of Culture would offer a chance to build on this momentum, and galvanise every person, organisation and stakeholder in the city, representing networks including culture, business, sport, retail, hospitality, the arts and communities to get behind a programme that would showcase to Europe and the world the very best of what Leeds has to offer.

This initial meeting forms part of a wider conversation held in the upcoming months on the idea, with a proposal to bring the results back to an event later in the year where a decision to progress or not a bid will be made. Previous winners in the UK include Glasgow (1990) and Liverpool (2008).

The European Capital of Culture award is separate to the UK City of Culture prize currently held by Derry-Londonderry, and recently awarded to Hull for 2017. This award is administered by the Government’s department of Culture, Media and Sport.

To reserve a place at the meeting and join the debate, please see:, or telephone the Arts Development Team at Leeds City Council on Tel 0113 247 6419 or email leaving your contact details and indicating that you want a place. The office is open until Friday 20 December and open again from 2 January.

To join the debate online please use the twitter hashtag - #Leeds2023.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure and skills said:

"While 2023 may seem a long way away, it is very important, given the work that would be involved, that we begin a conversation as soon as possible to see whether there is a real appetite for Leeds to bid to become the European Capital of Culture.

"The aim of our meeting next month is to formally kick-off this discussion, and we would love to hear from groups and organisations representing a wide range of networks in our city at the event, as to what they think of the idea.

"There is a fantastic vibe about Leeds at the moment, and the opportunity to possibly build on that through a European Capital of Culture bid to supplement high-profile events already in our diary such as the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ, is certainly an exciting one.

"We look forward to investigating the proposal in the upcoming months, and plan to hold a further event later in 2014 that having listened to every piece of feedback, will inform our final decision whether to proceed with a bid or not."

Notes to editors:

The ‘Should Leeds bid for European Capital of Culture 2023’ event will be held at Leeds Town Hall on 7 January from 2pm-5pm.

The European Capital of Culture is a city designated by the European Union for a period of one year during which it is given a chance to showcase its cultural life and cultural development.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578