Monday, 3 March 2014

Council city growth masterplan moves closer to completion

The council’s masterplan for future planning and growth of the city is moving into the final phase as council chiefs are asked to approve limited changes recommended by the inquiry inspector.

At a meeting of the council’s executive board on 5 March, senior councillors will discuss the feedback received from a planning inspector on its Core Strategy document and decide whether to accept his recommendations. By formally approving the changes, the strategy will progress to the next stage and a six week public consultation exercise will be launched giving everyone a chance to comment upon the latest changes.

The Core Strategy will guide all development in the city over the next 15 years.

Earlier this month the council welcomed the planning inspector’s comments to its Core Strategy with many of the main components of the plan left unchanged. A key element of the strategy is providing 70,000 new homes in the city by 2028 which received backing from the inspector, along with suggested housing distribution across the city.

The plan also has a strong focus on concentrating building on brownfield sites in order to promote regeneration and protect the greenbelt and the inspector endorsed the council’s policies on where development should take place, including the split between brownfield and greenfield land.

A report to the executive board recommends accepting and publishing all the main modifications put forward by the inspector together with changes to affordable housing and gypsy and traveller policy. One change suggested by the inspector is to remove the step up in the number of houses to be provided over the life of the plan (15 years). This has implications for the supply of housing land in the short-term which the council will need to consider.

Leeds City Council’s executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services Councillor Peter Gruen, said:

“We’ve reached an important stage in the process and feel confident and encouraged by the inspector’s comments, which show that we’re on the right track with many key elements of the plan unchanged. It’s vital that we get the strategy right as once finalised it will be the key guide to all development and growth in Leeds for the next 15 years.”

The core principals guiding the strategy are:
- An agreement to build more houses to address housing need
- A need for significant proportion of new affordable housing
- A strong focus on building on brownfield sites in order to promote regeneration and protect the greenbelt
- Fairness across the city, in terms of all parts of the city accepting some new housing
- Respecting and retaining community identities and character, rejecting possible suburban sprawl
- Infrastructure of services around new developments, such as schools and health services to also be carried out in a manageable and sustainable way

The inspector will deal with outstanding issues of affordable housing and gypsy and traveller policy at further hearing sessions in May. It is anticipated that the Core Strategy will be adopted later this year and become the key planning document for Leeds.

To find out more about the Core Strategy visit and search for Core Strategy.

Laura Ferris
Senior communications officer
Communications and marketing
Leeds City Council
Tel. 0113 24 75472/07891 274201

Bones of lost wonder displayed at Leeds City Museum

Caption: The skeleton of the Moa will be on display at Leeds City Museum.

Curators at Leeds Museums and Galleries have uncovered the bones of a lost wonder while looking through their collection at Leeds Discovery Centre. Following restoration work, the skeleton of a large, extinct, flightless bird hailing from New Zealand and one of the largest birds ever to roam the Earth has now being put on display at Leeds City Museum.

The skeleton of the heavy-footed Moa (Pachyornis elephantopus), is part of the Leeds natural history collection which has several specimens of extinct species like the Tasmanian wolf, Great Auk, Dodo and passenger pigeon, many of which are in display in the city museum. This bird standing at an imposing 1.35 metres tall will be available for visitors to view in the Collectors Cabinet at Leeds City Museum from today, 3 March.

This follows restoration and conservation work undertaken to repair the skeleton, which was made possible by funding provided by the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society and the Friends of Leeds City Museum. The skeleton was damaged in 1941 after the Philosophical Museum in the city where it was originally on display, was bombed during World War II.

To ensure the skeleton’s safe transfer from its storage location at the Leeds Discovery Centre to its new home at Leeds City Museum, it has been carefully packed into a custom-built framework. The first Moa bones arrived in England during the 1830s, with a skeleton being acquired in 1868 by the then Curator of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society Henry Denny, who arranged the purchase from a London mineral dealer, Bryce Wright.

The most famous Moa specimen can be found at the Natural History Museum in London, which was collected by their first ever Director, Professor Richard Owen. Denny was said to have been in close correspondence with Owen, when aiming to secure the specimen for the city.

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

"I am delighted that visitors to Leeds City Museum will have the opportunity to see the imposing skeleton of the now extinct Moa bird, which originally hails from New Zealand.

"The skeleton was originally on display in the city from 1868 until the Philosophical Museum was bombed in 1941 during World War II, and it is fantastic that after restoration work, the Moa bird will once again be on show in Leeds.

"A lot of time and effort has been undertaken to make this ambition a reality, and I would like to thank the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society and Friends of Leeds City Museum for their enormous support and contributions to this project."

Clare Brown, Curator of Natural Science at Leeds Museums and Galleries said:

"We’re so lucky to have such an important specimen in Leeds. When the museum bought it in the mid-19th century there was only one other in the country – at the British Museum, now the Natural History Museum, in London. We’ve loved having it on display in the store at Leeds Museum Discovery Centre and I’m really pleased that we can now – very carefully – move it to go on display at the City Museum.

"I’d been passing this old, dirty skeleton in our store for ages thinking I must do something with it. It had no label and its skull and legs were missing. Imagine my delight when I discovered that it wasn’t only an extinct Moa but also an important specimen from the Phil and Lit’s original collection. I was thrilled."

Camilla Nichol, Head of Collections at Leeds Museums and Galleries said:

"Specimens of extinct species like this are incredibly important to science as they can tell us much about current threats to species and perhaps understanding how and why these amazing animals became extinct could help us prevent it happening again.

"Having our Moa on display in the city museum I hope will both amaze our visitors and maybe allow them pause for thought about the endless variety and vulnerability of life on earth."

Notes to editors:
Leeds City Museum – Entrance is free

Admission free
Monday closed (except bank holiday Mondays 11am-5pm),
Tues, Wed and Fri 10am-5pm, Thurs 10am-7pm, Sat and Sun
Millennium Square, Cookridge Street, Leeds, LS2 8BH
Tel: 0113 2243732. Email:

Leeds Discovery Centre
Admission Free
Monday – Friday: Visits are by appointment only (09:00 - 16:00).
Saturday and Sunday – closed

Carlisle Road, Leeds, LS10 1LB
Tel: 0113 378 2100. Email:

Behind the scenes guided tour – Every Thurs, – 12pm & 2pm – 3pm. Booking essential.
For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578