Thursday, 23 January 2014

Work starts at Elland Road park and ride

************************************************Media Opportunity*************************************************

Media are invited to attend the start of works on the Elland Road park and ride scheme.
Leeds City Council’s Councillor Richard Lewis and Metro Chair Councillor James Lewis will
be on site at 9am on Wednesday 29 January.
If you wish to attend please contact Dan Johnson in the Leeds City Council Press Office on
0113 2475472 as personal protective equipment will need to be organised.

***************************************************Media Opportunity*************************************************


Heavy machinery has arrived at Elland Road to begin work on a £2.8m congestion-busting scheme.

Construction of the city’s first major 800-space park and ride scheme is underway this week seeing installation of a new high quality surface, bus waiting facilities, shelters, lighting, signage, ticketing machines, fences, CCTV and landscaping.

Collaboration between Leeds City Council, Metro and First Group will see express double-decker buses running every 10 minutes between the new park and ride facility and Boar Lane in Leeds city centre.

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

“The Elland Road park and ride is just part of our future plans to offer Leeds residents better, cheaper more efficient travel options. It is a fantastic use of existing car parking space and a hassle-free alternative to parking in the city centre.

“We are committed to driving down congestion and this project will certainly help bring the number of cars in the city down.

“Thanks to this initiative motorists can leave their cars behind knowing they will be safe and secure and enjoy a short, cheap ride into the city centre. Leeds has not had a purposed-built bus-based park and ride of this size before and it brings us on par with some of the other major cities we are surrounded by. It is not before time and I look forward to other schemes in the near future.”

Return fares will be around £3 making it cheaper than parking in the city centre and self-service ticketing kiosks will enable passengers to top up smartcard tickets with the advantage of smartcard discounts and special offers.

Journeys will take around six minutes with additional stops in the south of the city centre for the fast-growing numbers of people working in that area. Operated by First Group, the services will run from 7am to 7pm Monday to Saturday apart from Saturday match-days when Leeds United Football Club play at home.

Metro Chair Councillor James Lewis said:

“Providing people with quick, comfortable and frequent journeys between an easily accessible park and ride site and the heart of Leeds will help to reduce the numbers of cars on city centre roads.

“As well as improved air quality, reduced congestion means the easier flow of goods which benefits businesses and the local economy.”

Bob Dorr, service delivery director for First in West Yorkshire, said: “We are delighted that work has started on this important Park and Ride project and we look forward to welcoming customers on board our vehicles later this year.”

Forming part of a wider ‘Elland Road masterplan’ the scheme was first outlined in 2007 with the intention of regenerating the area around the football ground along with Beeston and Holbeck.

Future plans will see a new permanent ice rink being created adjacent to the proposed park and ride area scheduled to open in autumn this year. Construction is also underway at Elland Road on the new divisional headquarters for West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner

Highways improvements will aid access to the main Elland Road entrance to the park and ride site, which will include 15 dedicated disabled parking spaces.

Notes to Editors

You are invited to send photographers/reporters to the Elland Road site at 9am on Wednesday 29 January when Cllr Richard Lewis and Metro Chair Cllr James Lewis will be donning hard hats and high–viz jackets to get work underway.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Dan Johnson,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472
Email: daniel.johnson2@leeds.gov.uk

Clock starts ticking on Tour de France countdown commission


Caption: Trinity Leeds will host the winning clock commission (image courtesy of Leeds and Partners)

A citywide commission has been launched today to design a unique clock which will help Leeds count down to the start of this year’s Tour de France.

Leeds City Council, in partnership with the Trinity Leeds shopping complex and the University of Leeds, is calling on the city’s creative community to submit designs for a public countdown clock to mark the days ticking down to the start of the world’s largest annual sporting event in Leeds on Saturday 5 July.

Working with students from the University of Leeds School of Mechanical Engineering, the winning entry will be turned into reality and placed in Trinity Leeds to be a focal point as Leeds builds towards the day of the Grand Départ.

Entries are now open, with the design brief able to be downloaded from http://www.leeds.gov.uk/council/Pages/Tour-de-France.aspx or by request by emailing granddepartleeds@leeds.gov.uk.

The closing date for designs is Friday 7 February 2014 at 5.30pm and a shortlist of designers will be announced the following week. The commissioned designer will work with the University of Leeds staff and students to develop the detailed technical drawings and design the mechanisms to fit the design.

The completed clock will then be unveiled in the Trinity Leeds shopping complex in Leeds city centre on Thursday 27 March, coinciding with 100 days to go to the Grand Départ and the start of the Yorkshire Festival 2014 celebrating the best of culture and the arts in the county.

Running alongside the commission, a design competition will also be open to schools, colleges and others to share their designs for a countdown clock with those entries featuring in an exhibition to be held in Leeds in the run-up to the Tour.

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

“The creative community in Leeds is thriving with designers, makers, architects and artists at the cutting edge of their field. This competition offers an opportunity to spotlight and celebrate the creative talent we have and create a striking, visual reminder building excitement towards the Tour de France Grand Départ. We want to encourage people to come forward with the most innovative and imaginative designs they can to help us mark this incredible event.”

Gerald Jennings, Portfolio Director at Land Securities, the developer behind the Trinity Leeds shopping complex, said:

“The Tour de France itself is one of the largest sporting events in the world, drawing a huge crowd of spectators and visitors to the city. It is sure to be an amazing time for the city and the wider Yorkshire region. Trinity Leeds and Land Securities are proud to play a role in helping celebrate the Grand Départ.”

Senior Teaching Fellow at the School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds Dan Trowsdale said:

“We’re really excited about this commission. The Tour de France in Leeds is a once in a lifetime event and for our engineering and product design students to be able to play a part in that is a fantastic opportunity, and a great way to celebrate the city’s young talent at the same time.”

The commission brief can be downloaded at http://www.leeds.gov.uk/council/Pages/Tour-de-France.aspx or is available upon request by emailing granddepartleeds@leeds.gov.uk. The closing date for designs is Friday 7 February 2014 at 5.30pm.

Notes to editors:
• Leeds is the host city for the official Tour de France Grand Départ taking place on the July 5 2014. The first stages of the Tour de France are expected to be watched by an international audience of more than three billion people, and a further one million visitors are expected over the weekend of the July 5 to watch Stage 1 of the race.

• Trinity Leeds is an 817,000sq ft retail development at the heart of Leeds city centre. The development opened in March 2013 and has made a number of contributions to the cultural sector included two new permanent large-scale public art commissions as part of the development.

• University of Leeds’ Faculty of Mechanical Engineering focuses on disciplines including product design, mechatronics and robotics, and automotive engineering. The faculty was responsible for the creation of the 2012 Olympic Countdown Clock commissioned as an internal university project.

• Yorkshire Festival 2014 is a 100-day festival of culture and arts leading to the official Grand Départ in Leeds on Saturday 5 July. The festival will take place across the Yorkshire region with a mix of major art commissions and events throughout the 100-day build-up. For more information visit www.letour.yorkshire.com/cultural-festival

ENDS

Contact information:
For further details related to the countdown commission contact Leanne Buchan at Leeds City Council on 0113 24 78919 or email Leanne.buchan@leeds.gov.uk

For media queries regarding the Tour de France Grand Départ in Leeds contact Roger Boyde, Senior Communications Officer, Leeds City Council at Roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

Insulation scheme on hold due to energy funding changes

Properties in the Nowells area were due to benefit from an energy efficient makeover starting this month.

A scheme to make east Leeds homes warmer has become a casualty of government changes to energy efficiency funding.

The £1.2million home insulation scheme that was due to start this month has been put on hold.

The 150 properties in the Nowells area were due to have solid wall insulation installed by the council’s partner Keepmoat. This was being paid for by energy company obligation (ECO) funding.

ECO places an obligation on energy companies to install energy efficiency improvements in low-income households and areas, and in properties that are ‘harder to treat’.

However, changes to ECO funding announced as part of the autumn statement mean that energy companies have cut the amount of funding available for the project by almost two thirds, now making the scheme unaffordable.

The works were due to be carried out to the properties free of charge for residents. Over 80% of the residents have signed up to have insulation attached to the walls and roof spaces of their homes to stop heat escaping. Residents were expected to cut their heating bills by over 40%.

Built around 1900, the properties have solid walls making them some of the hardest to heat in the city.

The project complemented the ongoing works taking place in the area under the Leeds Neighbourhood Approach.

The new partnership approach was launched by Leeds City Council in May 2013 to improve private sector housing conditions, bring empty properties back into use and make areas safer and cleaner to live in.

Councillor Peter Gruen, executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services, said:

“It’s extremely disappointing this part of a wider project has stalled due to circumstances outside of our control.

“We’ve gone to great lengths to bring about positive changes that go far beyond making homes energy efficient. Through no fault of their own – or of our making – residents have been severely let down by these government changes. But we remain committed to helping residents with the innovative neighbourhood approach.”

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

“We predicted back in December that these changes would have an impact. Unfortunately, we’re now seeing this for ourselves.

“We’re working closely with Keepmoat to explore a range of options to ensure we can help residents in the area cut their heating bills, which are still available across the city under the Wrap Up Leeds ECO scheme.”

Steve Batty, head of sustainability at Keepmoat, said:

“We are extremely disappointed that the Nowells scheme has had to be put on hold. The work that was due to take place was expected to make a real difference to residents’ lives - helping to reduce their energy bills and make their homes warmer – at no cost to the individual. However, the recent changes announced by the government mean that the scheme is no longer financially viable at present.

“Keepmoat remains committed to the scheme and we are continuing to work with Leeds City Council with a view to finding alternative funding. We expect the new funding initiatives announced alongside the changes to ECO on the 5th December to enable the scheme to be delivered later this year, but we are waiting for the details of these initiatives to be announced by Government.”

Notes:
Previous press release issued about changes to ECO.

See www.wrapupleeds.co.uk for more information on Wrap Up Leeds ECO to see if you could heat your home for less.

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

ENDS

Harrison Clock which helped ‘change the world’ on display at Leeds City Museum



Caption: The 'John Harrison, the Clockmaker who changed the world' exhibition, is now open at Leeds City Museum.

An 18th century precision pendulum clock, which played a valuable role in helping to solve one of the greatest scientific challenges of the age, is now on permanent display at Leeds City Museum.

Built by famous clockmaker John Harrison and his brother in 1727, the longcase clock No.2, will be showcased, as part of the ‘John Harrison, the Clockmaker who changed the world’ display which will celebrate the timepiece’s contribution to accurately determining longitude at sea.

This complements the displays at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich (part of the National Maritime Museum) that are dedicated to navigation, precision timekeeping and John Harrison. It is the only display outside of London about John Harrison, and, by chance, is near to his birthplace, Foulby, Wakefield.

For many centuries the dilemma of not being able to accurately determine longitude had cost nations a fortune in lives, ships and cargoes lost. In 1714 the Longitude Act was launched by the British Government, offering a king’s ransom (£20,000) for a practical solution.

Many believed the answer lay in astronomy but Harrison knew accurate timekeeping was the key to solving the longitude problem. Taking on the challenge set by the government, Harrison produced a series of precision clocks, each one more accurate than the last.

The clock on display at Leeds City Museum is a fundamental part of Harrison’s long research, which led to his solution of a large, extremely accurate watch completed in 1759. Tested at sea this watch could withstand the motions of the ship in all sea and temperature conditions, and maintain accurate time on lengthy voyages. The most accurate timekeeper on Earth at the time exceeded the terms of the Longitude Act, and went on to eventually win the Longitude Prize.

Visitors will also have the chance to learn more about Harrison’s quest for longitude and how to this day the precise measurement of the fourth dimension - time, is used in modern navigation systems to allow us to fix points in three dimensional space.

For those who want to experience what it was like to navigate and avoid getting lost at sea, you can also enjoy the display’s ‘In Peril’ video and ‘Lost’ interactive game.

The display has been made possible through funding which has been provided by the Arts Council England, Friends of Leeds Museums, Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, the Leeds Art Fund and the support of the National Maritime Museum.

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

"Accurately determining longitude at sea was a question that baffled scientists and experts for many centuries, and this new exhibition at Leeds City Museum will enable visitors to see one of John Harrison’s precision pendulum clocks, that played a valuable role in helping to solve the problem.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about Harrison’s work and his quest to find an answer to one of the greatest scientific challenges, and also to find out if you have what it takes through an interactive game, to navigate and avoid getting lost at sea."

Notes to editors:

This year is the three-hundred anniversary of the Longitude Act and marking this will be the culmination of findings of the Board of Longitude project, the first comprehensive history of the Board of Longitude, a project being driven forward by the National Maritime Museum and the University of Cambridge, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The Longitude Act was effectively the first government sponsored research and development project. The Board of Longitude was therefore of immense importance in guiding and investing into research to solve the Longitude Problem.

The ‘John Harrison, the Clockmaker who changed the world’ display is located on the ground floor of the Leeds City Museum next to the Brodrick Hall and World View Gallery.

Leeds City Museum is a free attraction located just up the steps on Millennium Square in Leeds city centre.
Admission free. Mondays closed (except bank holiday Mondays 11am-5pm), Tues, Weds and Fri 10am-5pm, Thurs 10am-7pm, Sat and Sun 11am-5pm.
www.leeds.gov.uk/citymuseum
Millennium Square, Cookridge Street, Leeds, LS2 8BH.

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



Ice Cube back to wow crowds on Millennium Square

Caption: (L-R) -Cllr Lucinda Yeadon and Capital FM drivetime presenter Adam O'Neill are looking forward to the opening of the Ice Cube on Millennium Square.

The ever-popular Ice Cube returns to Millennium Square in Leeds this Friday, offering people of all ages and abilities the chance to experience the magic of outdoor ice skating and other thrill attractions, or just the chance to get active and healthy in the New Year.

Organised by Leeds City Council with support from media partners Capital FM and the Yorkshire Evening Post and now in its 14th year, the centrepiece of the Ice Cube is a 500 square metre family-focused ice rink with adjoining nursery rink for children aged 8 years and under. Popular ‘penguin’ skating aids will also be available to help youngsters on the nursery rink with their first steps onto the ice.

All skate sessions are based upon one hour skating and includes skate hire. Tickets are priced at £7.50 adults, £5.50 children (12yrs and under) with discounts available for those persons with a valid LEEDSCard or BreezeCard.

Tickets will be available to purchase on the day from the event ticket office although anyone wishing to attend are advised to get them early to guarantee their preferred skating session and avoid disappointment. Advanced bookings are now available for all public skating sessions online at www.leeds.gov.uk/icecube or via the advanced booking line powered by Quaytickets by calling 0843 208 1841.

Besides general public skating, the Ice Cube also offers a ‘first steps to skating’ tuition programme for Leeds schools and a weekly dedicated accessible session every Thursday morning between 9am to 10am for wheelchair users and the disabled.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor Lucinda Yeadon said:

"A trip to the Ice Cube at Millennium Square is always a fantastic experience and this year promises to be one of the best yet.

"There really is something for everyone to enjoy, and I am delighted that we are able to provide an opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to experience the thrill of ice skating. This includes offering tuition programmes for our city schools and accessible skating sessions for those persons with a disability."

Visitors to the Ice Cube will also be able to enjoy other winter-themed attractions including the Capital FM Snowslide – a 40m dry slope snow-tubing slide, the Snowball Adventure – a giant inflatable obstacle course inside a giant snowball, and the Ice Dragon Coaster – a themed roller coaster ride for children. Tasty treats and hot and cold snacks will also be available for all visitors in the Dolomites Café by Casa Mia. Whilst skating at the Ice Cube, visitors will also be able to listen to the latest chart topping music provided by Capital FM via the rinks’ very own in-house radio station – Capital Ice Radio.

Alex Jungius, programme controller, Capital FM said:

"The Ice Rink is one of our biggest annual partnerships and we are very excited at Capital to be involved again for a third year running.

"It’s great to be part of such a vibrant and fun Ice Rink and Snowslide right in the heart of the city centre, and we can’t wait for the event to start."

The ice rink and all of its attractions will be open daily from 12pm to 8.30pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 8.30pm Saturdays, Sundays and School Holidays (closes at 7pm on Sundays).

Notes to editors:

For full skating details including prices and skating session times together with further information for all other attractions can be found at www.leeds.gov.uk/icecube

The Ice Cube will be open from Friday January 24-Sunday 23 February 2014.

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





Lord Mayor to attend Holocaust Memorial Day event at Leeds Town Hall

The Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Thomas Murray will be attending a commemoration service at Leeds Town Hall as part of a Holocaust Memorial Day event at 2pm on Sunday 26 January 2014.

Marking the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on 27 January 1945, the event will be hosted by the Lord Mayor and include speakers, live music and a performance by young people.

On the programme will include a speech by Chris Butler (CEO of Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust), candle lighting and a traditional Hebrew memorial prayer sung by Rudi Leavor.

‘Journeys’ is this year’s theme of Holocaust Memorial Day, and an exhibition of the topic by pupils from Carr Manor School will be on display alongside contributions from the Holocaust Survivors Friendship Association. The exhibition will be on display until the end of January 2014.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Thomas Murray said:

"Holocaust Memorial Day events are always an extremely moving experience, and I feel extremely humbled to be involved in this year’s commemoration service at Leeds Town Hall.

"The journeys and stories detailing the experiences of those people who suffered greatly during the Holocaust should never be forgotten, and events such as these are a chance to both reflect and remember those people who were both victims and survivors."

Notes to editors:

Holocaust Memorial Day is held on 27 January 2014.

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

Council keeps place in top 100 Stonewall index

Leeds City Council has retained its position in the top 100 Stonewall index for the fourth year running.

The council was ranked 76 out of 100 alongside companies such as Barclays, Ministry of Defence and Aviva amongst many others.

The Stonewall top 100 employers 2014 is the definitive list of Britain's most gay-friendly workplaces in the UK, and with over 365 companies making a bid to be part of the list this year, there was plenty of competition.


Tom Riordan, Leeds City Council’s chief executive said:

“It is a real achievement to retain our position in Stonewall’s top 100 equality index and it further recognises our work towards making Leeds an LGBT friendly city.

“As a council we see equality and diversity as a key in all that we do.”

Cllr Alison Lowe, Leeds City Council lead member for crime and community safety

“It is fantastic news that we have retained our top 100 spot for the fourth year, and especially when the competition has become so much tougher.

“We remain fully committed to equalities at the council and will continue our good work to ensure we keep our position in the Stonewall Index.”


Simon Feeke, head of workplace at Stonewall said:

“Congratulations to Leeds City Council for their performance in the 2014 Workplace Equality Index.

“With the most demanding criteria to date, every employer securing a position in the Top 100 has performed impressively. In a tough economic environment, where employers need all of their staff to perform to their full potential, the Index remains a powerful tool for giving employers a strong competitive edge and attracting the best staff – regardless of their sexual orientation.”

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk