Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Council leader issues ‘spread the word’ call as Le Tour is coming

The Leader of Leeds City Council has called on everyone in the city to “get ready and spread the word” as more details were today revealed about the Grand Départ of next year’s Tour de France.

An update report on the preparations being carried out as Leeds gears up to be host city for the world’s largest annual sporting event is to be discussed by the council’s executive board at its meeting at Civic Hall on Wednesday 18 December.

The report gives an insight into the progress being made in the preparations by the council and other local authorities along the route and in the region, as well as with partner agency Welcome to Yorkshire and TdFHUB2014Ltd, the government company based in Leeds set up to co-ordinate planning for the first three stages of next year’s Tour in the UK.

The 2014 Tour de France begins on The Headrow in Leeds city centre on Saturday 5 July, and Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“The purpose of this report is to hopefully provide reassurance to everyone that the preparations are coming along well to deliver an incredible Tour de France Grand Départ.

“Another reason is that before we reach the end of the year, we want everyone to start thinking about how the Tour is going to impact on them next summer. It is going to be an unprecedented, fantastically exciting few days for Leeds and Yorkshire, but it is going to impact significantly on the city and it is hugely important everyone gets ready for that and also spreads the word so nobody is left unsure of what is happening.

“Lots of information will be going out in the months to come about road closures and alterations to services, which is where word-of-mouth has a massive role to play as it is the best way of making sure family, friends and colleagues know what is going to happen on that historic weekend next July.”

To receive the latest Tour information for Leeds as it is released, everyone is encouraged to email to sign up for updates.

Among the new details released in the report are:

- Millennium Square is to be the official hospitality area for the start of the Tour in Leeds
- Leeds city centre will also host a press and media centre for approximately 2,000 journalists and staff covering the event from all over the world
- The Tour’s famous publicity ‘caravan’ of vehicles which precedes the race each day will be based on the former Leeds International Pool site before moving to Woodhouse Moor to form up before heading to the start on July 5
- All riders and teams taking part in the Tour will attend a briefing in the city before heading to the first direct arena for the opening ceremony on Thursday 3 July
- The riders will carry out the traditional ‘signing-in’ ceremony on the morning of the race on Victoria Gardens on The Headrow

The full route which was revealed at the end of October sees the Tour’s traditional non-racing ‘rollout’ take the riders along The Headrow to Eastgate then along Regent Street and following the A61 Scott Hall Road and Harrogate Road through Moortown and Alwoodley and on to Harewood.

Turning left at Harewood, Le Tour will pass the historic Harewood House before turning left again onto the A659, where the 190-kilometre stage one officially begins. It then heads on to Pool-in-Wharfedale, Otley, Ilkley and Skipton, before turning north and heading through the Yorkshire Dales. The final element of the stage sees the route return south passing through Ripon before the finish in Harrogate.

The report reveals a series of planned communications to residents and businesses, especially those directly impacted by the route, will have taken place by the end of April.

The preparations already carried out include consultation with councillors across the city, plus discussions with parish councils and Otley Town Council on celebration events around the Tour planned in local communities.

Leeds City Council is engaged with businesses in the city, along with Welcome to Yorkshire and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to maximise the economic benefits and opportunities the Tour de France brings.

Welcome to Yorkshire is also leading on the 100-day Cultural Festival of the Grand Départ, with discussions underway for a street performance programme in Leeds city centre in the days leading up to the race start. In addition, Leeds City Council has offered arts grants through its Leeds Inspired programme to community groups and small arts organisations for activities around the Tour.

Schools in Leeds will also be benefiting from the Grand Départ, as they will be following the new education pack for key stage two and three pupils launched last month as part of the ‘Cycle Yorkshire’ legacy programme for the region.

The Tour de France Grand Départ forms part of a packed sporting weekend as July 5/6 also features quarter-finals of the football World Cup, the Wimbledon tennis finals, the Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone and the Queen’s Baton Relay for the Commonwealth Games.

Councillor Wakefield added:

“There is still a lot of work to do between now and July, but hopefully this report has shown that things are coming together nicely and that we are on course to deliver an unforgettable celebration which everyone can be part of in Leeds next summer.”

Notes to editors:

The budget for delivering the Grand Départ of the 2014 Tour de France is £21million, made up of £9.936m of government funding and £11.040m from local authorities.

The Leeds City Council contribution remains at £3.6m, of which £500,000 will be spent on road resurfacing on the route and strengthening works to Victoria Gardens which will be the focal point as the startline area for the Tour on The Headrow.

Stage 2 of the 2014 Tour de France is from York to Sheffield, while Stage 3 is from Cambridge to London.


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

Leeds shows positive impacts through supporting vulnerable people

Leeds City Council has had a positive impact in Leeds since 2003 supporting some of the most vulnerable groups of people in the city.

The Leeds Housing Related Support Programme (formerly known as the Supporting People Programme) has been through a period of significant change in the last year. This has included re-modelling key elements of the programme, responding to central government budget reductions and implementing on-going service improvements.

The programme has also commissioned services for people experiencing domestic abuse. A review of drug and alcohol services in the city is currently being undertaken, as is a review of services for older people and people with disabilities.

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

“At the centre of all our decisions has been to ensure we meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable groups in our city.

“Following consultation, the redesign of provision has enabled the programme to better meet the needs of clients and realise efficiency savings whilst ensuring capacity to respond has been maintained. In 2012/13 we were able to support 13,240 individuals/households.

“We have on-going budget challenges, but have worked closely with our services users to determine new approaches which offer a more modern and effective approach to dealing with issues.

“A new city wide mental health and housing support service – Positive Pathways, was launched in April 2013. The service provides floating support for people who are settling in after a stay in hospital, leaving prison or already living in the community but experiencing problems managing their tenancy. The consortium of local voluntary sector organisations is led by Community Links.

“The programme has had a positive impact across Leeds since 2003 and we want to continue this into the future with the primary aim of supporting vulnerable people to achieve and sustain independent living."

The primary aim of the service is to support people in the city to achieve and sustain independent living. The key changes have revolved around the remodelling of homeless provision in the city and ensuring that the council works closely with stakeholders and clients to ensure a more modern approach where there has been a move towards self-contained accommodations rather than hostel based provision. Provision is flexible and responsive with a focus on partnership working to develop integrated pathways for clients and long term solutions.

A new single point of entry service has also been launched to support young people aged 16-24 to sustain independent living, develop financial awareness, access training and work and improve their health and well-being. The Flagship scheme provides 150 trainer flats and offers additional floating support. The consortium is led by GIPSIL and has already helped over 100 young people with accommodation since July.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Council targets landlords in Crossgates to keep standards high

Leeds City Council is taking action in the east of the city to ensure work is continuing to bring empty properties back into use and that private sector housing in the area is up to standard.

There are a number of empty private properties that have been identified in Crossgates, and the council has been working with owners over recent weeks to ensure that these properties are brought back into use or are being actively marketed for sale.

Already eight of the properties have been brought back into use, with a further 16 being actively marketed for sale. The council will continue to monitor another 21 properties which are currently exempt from council tax as the owners have either passed away or are in care homes.

The council will also be visiting a number of large houses of multiple occupation (HMO’s) that have previously been the subject of concern of local residents to identify any issues regarding property standards, and using any necessary powers of enforcement to correct any outstanding issues.

Along with ensuring that housing in the area meets a good standard, work has been carried out to address issues of fly-tipping, drainage, dog fouling, litter bins and waste in gardens.

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

“Ensuring we help to bring empty properties back into use is a real priority for the council. It is great to see a number of properties have already been brought back into use in this area, and as a council we will continue to monitor the other properties to keep this work up.

“We have noted concerns from residents about a number of large houses in multiple occupation and will be visiting these properties in the coming weeks to ensure standards of housing are to the right level, and that the frontage of these properties remains in a good state of repair.”

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450