Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Failed appeal against blue badge fraud ends in court

A man has been fined for using a Blue Badge without the badge holder being present.

Iradj Kouhazari of Harrogate Road, Moortown was in court today having pleaded not guilty to mis-using the scheme intended to help disabled people park nearer to where they’re going.

Magistrates found Kouhazari guilty and fined him £55 and ordered him to pay £200 costs plus a £30 victim surcharge.

Kouhazari was seen by civil enforcement officers on 28 March 2013 parking in a pay and display space.

He was the only occupant of the vehicle and after putting a Blue Badge on his dashboard, he walked past the ticket machine making no attempt to pay.

When officers checked, it was clear that the Blue Badge Kouhazari was using belonged to a female.

Officers issued Kouhazari with a penalty charge notice which he appealed at the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, claiming the badge holder had been present.

The independent adjudicator dismissed his appeal, paving the way for prosecution.

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

“The rules on using Blue Badges are very clear – the badge holder must be present when it’s being used.

“We need to ensure that the system is being used fairly by only those who are entitled to so they aren’t disadvantaged by cheats. We’ll continue to crack down on people abusing the system and hope that these cases help get that message across.”

People could have their Blue Badges revoked or renewal refused if they or others persistently abuse them.

They also face a maximum £1,000 fine if prosecuted and found guilty of abusing the system.

See www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/pages/blue-badge-parking.aspx and www.gov.uk/browse/driving/blue-badge-parking for more information.

ENDS

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

The art of recycling

Items left at the city’s recycling centres are being given a new lease of life as part of an art project.

Students from Leeds Metropolitan University on the BA (Hons) Fine Art course are working with world renowned artist Chris Dobrowolski to turn unwanted household goods into sculptures.

While battered bikes, wonky wheelbarrows, irregular ironing boards and malfunctioning mowers are normally recycled into other goods, a selection of items have been transformed by the group of undergraduate students.

Working with Chris and senior lecturer James Chinneck, the students have been working intensively in the studio transforming the discarded objects into kinetic sculptures that are engineered to interact with the public.

The way Chris makes things has a deliberate “put together in the garden shed” aesthetic and each piece has its own story attached. Over the years, Chris has retold and refined these stories as both artist and teacher.

Depending on the size and nature of the final sculptures it’s hoped that some may go on display at the city’s eight recycling centres.

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

“We’d normally encourage residents to drop off stuff at the recycling centres to ensure the valuable resources they contain can be re-used or recycled rather than languish in landfill and add to our landfill tax bill.

“Recycling means transforming items into a new product, so we’re really pleased to be supporting James, Chris and the students. We’re intrigued to see how the everyday items will take on a completely new aspect.”

James Chinneck, senior lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University, said:

“It is a testament to the quality of the BA (Hons) Fine Art course here at Leeds Metropolitan University that world renowned artists such as Chris Dobrowolski want to send time working with our students helping them to learn more about the diverse range of possibilities within visual art practice. It has been great to have the council on board, the project has really been made possible by their support.”

The city’s eight recycling centres are open throughout the year so household goods can be re-used and recycled.

A full list of the sites and the range of materials that can be re-used and recycled can be found at www.leeds.gov.uk/recyclingsites.

Each site also has a special container so that any unwanted household items – furniture, bikes or bric-a-brac – can be donated and put to good use by local charities.

Revive, the re-use shop, can be found at the East Leeds recycling centre. Run by a community interest group made up of local charities Emmaus, SLATE and SVP, good quality unwanted items can be donated and are sold back to the public at low prices.

More information about Chris Dobrowolski can be found at cdobo.com/.

ENDS

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

West Leeds community groups urged not to miss out on funding

Community groups delivering a wide range of important projects in three areas of west Leeds are being urged to not miss out on the chance to apply for a support grant from their local area committee.

As part of the inner west area committee’s wellbeing fund, over £130,000 of funding has been made available to those agencies, groups and organisations that are making a real difference in and around the areas of Armley, Bramley and Stanningley.

The deadline to submit a funding application is Monday 20 January 2014, with both existing and new groups welcome to apply.

For more information and to request an application form contact west.north.west@leeds.gov.uk or call 0113 3367856.

Councillor Caroline Gruen, chair of the inner west area committee said:

"We are extremely keen through our area committee to ensure that this funding is spent in the interest of people living in our communities.

"We want a happy, healthy, active community and we are particularly keen to see more young people getting jobs, more families enjoying a good standard of housing and an attractive outdoor environment.

"If you have a project that you think will make a real difference in our area, we would be very pleased to hear from you."

Notes to editors:

10 Area committees across the city, play a vital role setting out detailed improvement plans for the areas they represent, and decide through a monitored service level agreement, where both street cleansing and environmental action should be targeted.

The management and budgets of community centres are also undertaken, while funding is also provided to agencies, groups and organisations which support a range of important projects that are being delivered in communities through their wellbeing fund.

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