Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Council submits new development levy for public scrutiny

Plans to introduce a new levy on developers for local infrastructure improvements in Leeds have been submitted for public scrutiny from the Planning Inspectorate.

The proposal is for a new Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) to raise funds to help support infrastructure such as public transport improvements, upgrading green spaces, and new schools.

The new levy would partly replace the existing system of planning obligations known as Section 106 agreements, particularly for infrastructure projects which require funding from a number of different sources. It will be charged on most types of new buildings in Leeds, although not on householder extensions or self-build, development by not for profit organisations, affordable housing, or where the building replaces existing floorspace.

The council has held public consultation on the proposed levy rates and is now progressing towards a public examination. If approved by the examiner the levy is expected to be in force at the end of the year.

Councillor Peter Gruen, executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said:
“Central government changes mean we have to implement a two tack system of charging developers for necessary infrastructure improvements.

“We are nearing the completion on the process of bringing in this new levy and feel we’ve achieved the right balance between generating funds towards paying for infrastructure across Leeds, and also ensuring that we encourage continued investment and growth.

“We’ve held extensive consultation throughout the process and now there’s further opportunity for comments and views on the modifications we’ve proposed.”

There is a four week public consultation on the recent minor modifications proposed since the previous consultation, which finished in December 2013. The modifications are mainly needed to reflect national regulations which changed in February 2014. A document called the ‘Statement of Modifications’ has been published for this consultation to explain the changes.

Notes to editors:
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a new tariff-based system that will apply to new development, introduced by the Planning Act of 2008.

S106 agreements will remain to address necessary site specific requirements including affordable housing.
The council will advertise the date and location of the examination once it has been set.

ENDS

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

New advice service launched to better meet needs of people in Leeds

Leeds has launched a new advice service on the back of unprecedented high demand for support and advice in the city.

Leeds City Council has awarded the three year contract to a consortium of Leeds advice agencies, including Leeds CAB, Chapeltown CAB, and Better Leeds Communities which will be known as Leeds Advice Consortium.

The consortium will bring together services covering a range of issues including welfare benefits, debt, housing, employment, consumer affairs, utilities and immigration/asylum, but with a key focus on the finance side to begin with.

The new advice service has been developed with feedback from service users, advice service staff and professionals so as to understand what type of service would work for people in the city. The review has allowed the council to bring together the funding for advice services across the public sector, so as to get better value for money and to make sure that everyone in Leeds can access the same high level of consistent, impartial and free advice.

Along with recognising the need to bring together advice agencies in the city, by using one consortium to deliver the new service, the council are able to make efficiency savings over the three year contract period, without reducing services at a time when other local authorities are looking to squeeze these budgets.

The service will be delivered across Leeds through many different locations including council and voluntary sector facilities, GP surgeries and health centres, NHS mental health outreach services and children’s centres. Over the next year other methods of delivering advice will be developed and expanded including e-mail, web and a greater emphasis on telephone provision.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:

“There has never been a more important time to make sure we are providing high quality, free and impartial advice services to our communities and localities across Leeds.

“Not only have the number of people wanting to access advice services increased, but the way people are getting hold of the advice is changing too – more than ever people are turning to online services or using their mobile or tablet devices to gather information.

“We are still seeing the effects of the welfare changes, and in Leeds we are committed to helping local people. This new advice service forms another strand of our work to help local people. Along with the recent launch of the Money Information Centre website and our long term support and partnership with Leeds Credit Union, Leeds as a city is really showing support to our most vulnerable citizens.”

Notes to editors:

A detailed review of all current service provision was conducted between September 2012
and March 2013.

Alongside the review, a detailed consultation took place with current advice providers, such as
citizens advice bureaux and local third sector organisations who deliver advice alongside
other important community services. It also involved talking with current users of
advice services to better understand why they need advice and how they would prefer to
access it in the future.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office 07712214224
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

Information sessions get residents ready to apply for jobs

Information sessions are being held to help people living in the Kirkstall area get ready to apply for new local jobs.

The sessions, which have been organised by Employment Leeds, are the latest in a number of similar workshops designed to give people a helping hand before applications and interviews.

The sessions, which take place in Kirkstall, Burley and Armley this week, are being held ahead of the opening of a new supermarket in the area.

The new Aldi store, due to open in Kirkstall this June, is recruiting a number of store assistants and stock assistants.

The information sessions will be held on April 9 at Armley One Stop Centre, 9.30am-10.30am, Hawksworth Wood Village Hall at 11.30am-12.30pm and Burley Greenhow Community Centre 2pm-3pm.

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

“We know that the job market is still extremely challenging and employment opportunities remain hard to come by for many people living in Leeds.

“So by working closely with local residents and the private sector on information sessions like these, we can ensure that both employers and those people looking for work are best placed to take these opportunities when they come along.

“By giving local residents the chance to find out more about the roles on offer, we can put them in the best position to secure a new job and also ensure that employers are able to recruit from a pool of enthusiastic and well-prepared applicants.”

Employment Leeds, which is run by Leeds City Council, works with firms of all sizes based in the city and helps them to recruit new staff.

The team has worked with a range of large, established companies as well as smaller, fast-growing businesses.

Previous partnership work done by Employment Leeds has included a number of successful information sessions held earlier this year, which were designed to help local people apply for more than two hundred jobs at a new Asda store in Middleton.

Other work carried out by the team includes introducing employers to colleges where staff can be trained, developing apprenticeship schemes and helping businesses to identifying funding opportunities and incentives which can help them grow.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the new jobs in Kirkstall can contact 07891 270 634 or 07891 270 652 to book a place on an information session.

To find out more about Employment Leeds, telephone 0113 2475862 or email employmentleeds@leeds.gov.uk

ENDS

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