Wednesday, 30 April 2014

College could bring world-class engineering to Leeds

Leeds is hoping to equip the next generation of world-class engineers as it officially enters its bid to host a new further education college.

Leeds City Council has today (Wednesday 30 April) put the city forward to become the home of a specialist construction college developing the engineering and construction skills required for the implementation of a high-speed rail network.

This unique college would support skills and training across the UK to deliver important future infrastructure projects.

The proposed four-acre site is on a cleared brownfield space on Carlisle Road in the South Bank.

By 2016 the site will be fully ready for construction and the final design would feature at least two bespoke specially equipped work spaces with environmentally friendly elements.

Residential accommodation could also be included at the northern end close to current purpose built student housing complexes.

The college will be another key element in the regeneration of the South Bank – one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe.

It would be at the heart of this exciting opportunity close to the future City Centre Park and the arrival of the Leeds HS2 station now being proposed for New Lane.

Leeds Dock will also see a multi-million pound investment which could create up to 5,000 jobs.

Leeds city council executive member for leisure and skills, Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, said:

“The college is not just about delivering HS2. Future projects coming through Network Rail and the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund, plus investments being made by other regions, would mean the college would be preparing the next generation of world-class engineers.”

Leeds city council executive member for development and economy, Councillor Richard Lewis, said:

“We want to see the people of Leeds and Yorkshire getting the benefits of HS2 early doors. Bringing the college here would create jobs and new opportunities for local people and will also help hugely to regenerate the whole of the South Bank area of the city.”

Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership offered support for the bid:

“Nowhere is better placed than Leeds City Region to host this flagship new college. Our strategic location and connectivity at the centre of the UK strategic road and rail network means we are the gateway to the North.

“Our engineering and rail industry credentials are the strongest in the country, with the highest concentration of employment of LEP areas by a wide margin, coupled with an impressive skills partnership and railway heritage means this bid puts forward a strong case to locate in the region.

“This is a perfect opportunity for the High Speed Rail College to boost the City Region economy and provide the skills and opportunities for our next generation of young people.”

Leeds City Council along with educational providers in the city already have close working relationships with companies which have strong industrial heritages.

Innovation and best practice will thrive in a talent hotbed that features the recently opened Leeds City College Printworks Campus, the soon to open Leeds College of Building Campus and a proposed school.

Ian Billyard Principal and Chief Executive Leeds College of Building said:

“Leeds College of Building has considerable experience of working with the civil engineering supply chain and professions through a range of Advanced and Higher (graduate) Apprenticeships.

“These companies are likely to be the prime contractors when the HS2 contracts are let. No other college in the country has the expertise of working with these companies and will ensure the HS2 College operates effectively from its inception.”

Leeds already attract 34,000 overseas students - more than anywhere outside London – and the council believes it can turn this institution into a destination of choice for overseas companies as well as a way of training our people to work abroad.


For media enquiries
Please contact Dan Johnson at Leeds City Council on (0113) 24 74450

Leeds City Council provides alternative to unlawful encampments

Leeds City Council is seeking to end a cycle of encampment and eviction for Travellers in the city by using a location at Kidacre Street which has been empty for a number of years.

The council has developed a plan to expand the current Cottingley Springs Travellers site and, subject to a planning inquiry, this can provide around 12 more permanent pitches. In the meantime, because Kidacre Street is a site that has lain empty for a number of years, the council believes it is the best site available to provide an interim solution.

The council is keen to meet concerns raised by local communities, as well as trying to provide suitable places for Travellers to stay, also reducing the costs for arranging alternative pitches and evictions.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said:

“We realise there is never going to be a perfect solution which fully meets everyone’s needs, but Kidacre Street is close to amenities for Travellers to use, while at the same time providing an alternatives to the recent unlawful encampments elsewhere in the city. The council have worked with as many of those who could be affected by this plan as possible, including representatives of the Gypsy and Traveller community, local businesses and others who have been affected by encampments elsewhere in the city.

“We know how frustrating the situation is for everyone involved and have made every effort to find solutions which achieve the most possible agreement. I hope this short term solution will make a difference and I look forward to making more progress following the judgement about Cottingley Springs from the Secretary of State, which we hope to see later in the year.”

The space at Kidacre Street, south of the city centre, has been cleared and will provide room for a number of Travellers to station their caravans. The council are also committed to an intensive approach to policing, anti-social behaviour and refuse disposal. The Council is additionally making sure there is an accessible route for ongoing dialogue with local businesses.

- Ends -

Notes for editors:

• These arrangements have been put in place for Leeds-based travellers, rather than from other areas.
• Leeds City Council will take swift enforcement action for unlawful encampments.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Phil Morcom, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3602