Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Council backs plans to set up city improvement district plan

Leeds City Council has given its backing to plans to set up a Business Improvement District (BID) in the city centre.

Council chiefs have agreed to support the private sector led development of a Leeds BID in principle, believing it will strengthen the city's ability to improve and promote Leeds City Centre as a leading European business location.

At a meeting of the executive board today senior councillors heard that a successful Leeds City Centre BID could generate direct investment for the city centre up to £2.6m annually.

Over 170 Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are operating in towns and cities throughout the UK including Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle. Leeds is the largest city not to have a BID in the UK.

For a Business Improvement District to be established, a ballot of businesses – those within the boundary and eligible to pay the levy - must deliver a majority vote in favour. The BID works by agreeing to introduce a levy that is collected through the business rate. Local organisations in the BID have the power to raise funds to be spent locally, with the aim of improving their own business environment. BIDs may use funds to pay for additional services, over and above those provided by the public sector, such as security, events and marketing to attract visitors, signage, skills and employment initiatives. With a BID the council would commit to an operating agreement to provide a baseline of services, to which the BID could add to.

Senior Leeds councillors also supported the principle of small businesses, within the BID boundary, to be exempt from paying additional rates but not to be excluded from the benefits that the proposed BID would bring.

The plan for a Leeds City Centre BID to be launched from April 1 2015. In the next phase of developing a BID, there will be formal consultation covering the proposed BID boundary, levy rate and threshold enabling a final business plan to be produced based on the feedback. A city centre wide ballot of businesses to vote for or against setting up a BID is planned to be held in November 2014.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive board member for development and the economy, said:
"Now is an ideal time to consider how the private and public sector can work together in different ways to boost the city economy. It is important that the city seizes the opportunity of a step change brought about by key developments of Leeds Arena, Trinity Leeds and Victoria Gate to seriously explore the establishment of a city centre BID.

"BIDs are a proven mechanism for driving local-led improvements that sit beyond the scope of councils, and in Leeds it could be a catalyst for further investment and strengthen the city's ability to compete nationally and internationally for jobs and growth. It's an exciting proposition and we look forward to a full BID proposal coming forward from our private sector partners."

Proposals for a Leeds City Centre Business Improvement District have been developed by the private sector lead by the Leeds, Yorks and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce. Further information can be found www.leedsbid.co.uk

Details of the council's executive board report about the Leeds City Centre BID can be found at http://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/documents/s111487/BID%20Cover%20Report%20240314.pdf

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Laura Ferris
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472
Email: laura.ferris@leeds.gov.uk

Council chiefs give go-ahead to cutting edge flood defence scheme


Watch a video ‘fly though’ animation of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme which takes you through the flood defences along length of the scheme, on the River Aire https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ-_MZyll94


Senior councillors have agreed final proposals for a cutting edge flood defence scheme which aims to provide Leeds city centre and over 3,000 homes and 500 businesses with protection against a one in 75 year flood event from the River Aire.

The council’s executive board has approved details of the city centre and Holbeck scheme that will see the replacement of the existing fixed weirs at Crown Point and Knostrop with moveable weirs that can be lowered in flood conditions to reduce river levels and the threat of river flooding.

The use of moveable weirs will place Leeds at the forefront of national flood defence schemes. This pioneering technology will be the first of its kind to be installed in the UK although they are tried and tested in other countries.

An island at Knostrop Cut which separates the river from the canal will also be removed to allow the river and canal to merge. This will create additional flood storage to assist the flow of water to lower water levels in flood conditions. Low level flood defences in the city centre will also be constructed.

There are no formal flood defences along the River Aire currently. The city had narrowly avoided major flooding in 2000 with further near misses in 2004, 2007 and 2008. Estimates from the Environment Agency have suggested that over 3,000 homes and 500 businesses are at risk and any major flood from the River Aire could cause £400 million of direct damage.

The Leeds Flood Alleviation scheme is expected to cost £44.8m and is being funded by contributions from Leeds City Council, the Department for Environment, Food and Agriculture (Defra), the Environment Agency and the Department for Business Industry and Skills (BIS).

Work in the city centre and Holbeck is due to start this year in late summer and to be completed by the end of 2016. Advanced work is already underway at Woodlesford, which is expected to complete by July 2014.

The project is being delivered by Leeds City Council working closely with the Environment Agency and other partners.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive member for the economy and development, said:

“This is a vitally important scheme for the city, not just because of the threat to lives and property from floods but also the positive impact it will have on the growth and regeneration of the Leeds economy, particularly the South Bank area. It will also give much-needed protection to key transport infrastructure and access routes we rely on to keep the city moving.

“By using cutting edge flood defence technology, we can provide sound flood defence for the city that is good value for money, as we have to weigh the cost of the scheme against the potential costs that would be caused by flooding to the city centre.”


Adrian Gill, flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, said:
“Leeds has narrowly avoided significant flooding to the city centre on a number of occasions in recent years. As a major residential, economic and transport hub this would not only cause disruption to the city, but also the surrounding area.”

“The Environment Agency, Leeds City Council and everyone involved in the project have worked extremely hard over many years to develop a workable scheme for Leeds and secure the necessary funding. Today’s announcement will enable work to commence in the city centre and Holbeck later this summer.”

Note to editors:
Flood risk is not just the likelihood of flooding, but the possible damage a flood could do as well.

The likelihood of flooding is described as the chance that a location will flood in any one year. If a location has a 1% chance of flooding each year, this can also be expressed as having:
• a 1 in 100 chance of flooding in that location in any year
• betting odds of 100 to 1 against a location being flooded in any year

However, this doesn't mean that if a location floods one year, it will definitely not flood for the next 99 years. Nor, if it has not flooded for 99 years, will it necessarily flood this year.


ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Laura Ferris
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472
Email: laura.ferris@leeds.gov.uk

Scheme paves the way for reduction of road works

The number and duration of road works have been dramatically reduced thanks to the introduction of a permit scheme which has been hailed an overwhelming success.

Thousands of days’ worth of disruption caused by roads being dug up in Leeds have been saved thanks to the introduction of the scheme, which is a first for Yorkshire.

Over 13,000 days of road works on the city’s most heavily used highways have been avoided in the first year of operation.

Companies planning to work on congested roads or bus routes must now apply for a permit in advance. They could face a fine if they fail to do so as the council aims to reduce the amount of time companies take carrying out work on key highways.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive member responsible for highways, said:

“Motorists have been saved from countless hours of sitting in traffic jams thanks to the permit scheme, which has proved to be a huge success. We are now in a position where companies are carrying out works more efficiently saving road users from unnecessary delays and journeys in our city are running much more smoothly.

“Road works are necessary to provide essential services and well maintained roads, but we are pleased to see the management of them come more into our control. It is making life easier for all involved and we will continue to improve as we move forward.”

The council may refuse to grant a permit if it is not happy work will meet special conditions aimed at minimising potential traffic delays. Those companies that break the agreed conditions or carry out work without a permit are fined.

Under the new system the council can also direct where the work will take place, what traffic management should be used to ease congestion, what time of day the work will be carried out and most importantly set deadlines for completion.

The average duration of works is down from seven days before the scheme to five days since the scheme was introduced.

During the 12 months reporting period 6279 works were undertaken on the permit street network compared with 7615 works over the equivalent period before the scheme was introduced.

The amount of works has also reduced as utility companies have planned their works more carefully or diverted them away from busier roads. Quality and accuracy of information has improved which has enabled the council to co-ordinate works more effectively while keeping road users and residents informed.

Yorkshire councils were among the first to adopt the scheme following trials in Kent and select London boroughs.

Leeds, Doncaster, Barnsley, Kirklees, Rotherham, and Sheffield were the first six councils to begin using the scheme following the introduction of new powers in June 2012. Due to the success of the scheme more authorities in Yorkshire and across the country are set to follow suit.

Information about current or planned road works in Leeds can be found at roadworks.org.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Dan Johnson,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 4450
Email: daniel.johnson2@leeds.gov.uk

New exhibition created by young people set to open at Leeds Art Gallery

Caption: An example of the work produced by young people in the 'Look into My World' exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery. Photo credit: David Lindsay.

A new exhibition of work created by young people from 10 schools in the city opens at Leeds Art Gallery this Thursday.

Showcased in the Artspace section of Leeds Art Gallery, over 280 young people participated in the project, which resulted in the production of over 60 selected artworks which were created using a range of skills and techniques from print making and painting to sculpture, film and installation that form part of the ‘Look into My World’ exhibition. Themes used as inspiration by the young people for the artwork included the exploration of their favourite things, memories, experiences and relationships through to creating characters and imaginary worlds of their own.

The ‘Look into my World’ project began in September 2013, when young people aged 7 to 17, from six primary schools and four secondary schools enjoyed a special visit to Leeds City Museum and Leeds Art Gallery. As part of the trip, the work of popular international author and illustrator Anthony Browne and the humorous and serious stories he portrayed was explored at Leeds City Museum, while at Leeds Art Gallery, contemporary art and the way that artists work was investigated.

Experience in making sculptures was also provided to groups, while workshops were also delivered in schools by artists Kate Genever and Lou Sumray to further develop imaginative ways of working with pupils, where they were encouraged to express their own ideas that have subsequently inspired this unique exhibition.

Primary Schools featuring in the project were: Allerton CE Primary, Alwoodley Primary, Holy Family Catholic Primary, Ireland Wood Primary, Pudsey Primrose Hill Primary and Stanningley Primary. Participating secondary schools included Benton Park, Crawshaw and Guiseley.

Available to view at the Art Gallery until 1 June 2014, the project has been delivered in partnership with ArtForms, Leeds College of Art and Studio 12 with funding support from Arts Council England.

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

"We undertake a lot of work with pupils of all ages in our schools, and it is brilliant when a project such as this one which we have developed with partners, results in a fantastic exhibition at one of our city museum and gallery sites.

"On display at Artspace in Leeds Art Gallery, the standard of work in the ‘Look into My World’ exhibition really is superb, and is another example of the great young artistic talent that exists in our city."

Ursula Parkin, Year 10 pupil from Crawshaw High school, participating in the project said:

"Our installation began as a team effort, which then led to each of us making individual art works.

"We’ve been given lots of freedom to develop our own ideas, at first we almost had too many ideas, but the focus of the exhibition gave us a goal and motivation. I’ve felt really connected to the project through all the stages, from visiting the Anthony Browne exhibition right through to seeing our work in the Gallery.

"Seeing our art work in the gallery makes it all feel worthwhile, although it’s quite surreal, especially when we are just used to seeing it in our classroom. The Look Into My World exhibition makes it very public and almost scary, but exciting at the same time!"

Siobhan Coleman, Year 4 Teacher from Holy Family Catholic Primary said:

"The children initially interpreted ‘Look Into My World’ as literally looking inside their heads. First thoughts were in 2D, but they have now developed into 3D pieces. The children enjoyed the freedom of expressing their own artistic ideas, rather than following a set structure. It has allowed each child to feel they can be artists."

Notes to editors:

Leeds Art Gallery
The Headrow
Leeds
West Yorkshire
LS1 3AA
0113 247 8256
city.art.gallery@leeds.gov.uk
www.leeds.gov.uk/artgallery

Free admission
Opening Times
Monday & Tuesday 10am – 5pm
Wednesday 12pm – 5pm
Thursday to Saturday 10am – 5pm
Sunday 1pm – 5pm
Closed on Bank Holidays

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



Sobering campaign makes students think about alcohol risks

Leeds students have come up with an innovative way to get their friends on campus to cut back on their alcohol consumption. As part of a competition organised by the college in conjunction with Leeds City Council’s Public Health team, they designed a targeted campaign using their own knowledge of the issue.

The competition saw 130 entries from 60 teams and individuals, with the winning entry chosen by an expert panel including Kerry Hazlewood (Leeds City College), Claire Roberts (Platform) and Julie Stafford (Public Health).

Panel judge Kerry Hazlewood said:

“We were extremely impressed by the way the team had realised the way that their message needed to make a difference to the people who saw it. They put in plenty of market research and tailored the product in a really clever way by focussing on the issues that really concerned young people, like alcohol-related violence. Their images were colourful and immediately grabbed your attention. It was very difficult to choose our winners."

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Chair of the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, presented the award winners with their mini i-pads. She said:

“Although we know the number of young people in Leeds choosing not to drink has reduced by almost a tenth since 2009, we also know admissions to hospital as a result of alcohol intake for young people in Leeds are still worse than those regionally and nationally.

“This competition has been a great way to engage young people in raising awareness of the health and social problems that alcohol can cause. I was delighted to see the quality of the entries and it is encouraging to see young people using their creative talents to get involved.”

Danny Charlotte was a member of one of the winning teams. He said:

“We really thought about how to get the message across and decided to focus on negative words linked to alcohol pouring out of bottles. We wanted the point to be really obvious straight-away. We really didn't think we'd win and couldn't believe it when we did."

Rebecca Charlesworth's parents commented:

"Today couldn't come around quickly enough. We're incredibly proud of the hard work that went into this."

-ends-

Notes for editors

Award winners were:
• Danny Charlotte and Emma Firth for their poster campaign
• Rebecca Charlesworth and Sarah Royston for their information leaflet.

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 224 3602
Fax: 0113 247 4736
www.leeds.gov.uk

Group’s city snaps go on display at Leeds Town Hall






Caption: Group members Bob Ward (front) and Roy Whittaker visit Leeds Town Hall to look at their photos with Catherine Loftus (left) and Debbie Meehan from the Mariners Resource Centre.


Stunning snaps of the city captured by a local resource centre’s photography group have gone on show at Leeds Town Hall.

The photos, which depict well-known locations around Leeds, have been put together by people who use the Mariners Resource Centre.

Based in Beeston, the centre supports people with a physical impairment or head injury to live independently.

The centre’s digital photography group visited some of their favourite places around the city, taking a series of imaginative images.

After seeing the results, members of the group asked if they could put their photos on display for other people to enjoy.

Thanks to the town hall’s management team, the pictures were given pride of place in the building’s reception area and members of the group have since paid a visit to see their work on show.

Places that feature in the exhibition include Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds Civic Hall and the famous clock on the city centre’s Dyson building.

Bob Ward, a member of the group who took the photos, said:

“It’s been a great opportunity being part of the photography project and all the hard work has paid off.

“I’d like to thank the staff at the centre for all their enthusiasm and support making this exhibition happen because it’s given the group a real confidence boost.”

Catherine Loftus, who works at the Mariners Resource Centre and helped the team with the exhibition, said:

“It has been so rewarding working with the group planning and getting the exhibition up and running.

“The group had a real focus and were determined to reach their goal. All our hard work has paid off and we are delighted with the display.”

Part of Leeds City Council’s adult social care team, the Mariners Resource Centre works alongside the Osmondthorpe Resource centre to help anyone with a physical impairment or a head injury.

Both centres offer a range of activities as well as the chance to learn new skills, join support groups and socialise.

The centres aim to support those using the service to have greater independence, personal choice and control.

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult social care, said:

“These fantastic photos not only show some of the beautiful sights our city has to offer, they’re also a real credit to the group at the Mariners Resource centre, who have used their talent and passion to create an exhibition they can all be very proud of.

“This creative project is typical of the type of innovative work that takes place at the centre, which really engages and involves those taking part and gives them the chance to pick up some new skills.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937
Email: stuart.robinson@leeds.gov.uk
www.leeds.gov.uk