Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Tackling the sale of super strength alcohol in Leeds

A culture change is needed amongst retailers who sell super strength alcohol products, to help reduce crime and improve health in their local communities, according to research carried out by Leeds City Council.

The council’s licensing committee will next week consider evidence gathered as part of research into ‘Super Strength Alcohol Schemes’ which have been introduced in other areas of the country. The research was carried out to determine if a similar scheme should be introduced in Leeds, in order to try to reduce anti-social behaviour and improve health in local communities.

The report, being considered at a meeting of the licensing committee on Tuesday 8 July, proposes that in Leeds, rather than introduce a single voluntary scheme which tackles super strength products in isolation, retailers be approached as part of other schemes and programmes in order to raise awareness and bring about a culture change.

Councillor Mary Harland, chair of the licensing committee said:
“Unfortunately there is no quick, catch-all solution to antisocial behaviour and health problems caused by drinking alcohol, so ideally we want to introduce a series of measures which bring about long-term change in people’s drinking habits.

“There are only limited ways we can achieve this through licensing regulations, but there are existing schemes and programmes in place which we can utilise to raise awareness and help promote responsible retailing.

“We want retailers to consider the role they play in their community, the impact the sale of super strength alcohol products has on their neighbourhood and the benefits of removing them from sale.”

There are a number of schemes and programmes already in place which could be used to connect with retailers and raise awareness of the issues. They are:
• Local licensing guidelines – can be used when new or variation applications are submitted in vulnerable areas, to encourage responsible retailing.
• Retailing forum – being set up as part of the Town and District Centre regeneration scheme.
• Responsible retailing – a Trading Standards initiative that working with retailers.

The group which carried out the research on behalf of the committee was made up of officers from public health, Acute Trust, area committees, community safety and licensing.

The research carried out looked at the success of voluntary schemes, requiring retailers to voluntarily remove high strength, low cost alcohol from sale, as well as schemes which require voluntary introduction of minimum prices for high strength alcohol.

As well as looking at how schemes have been introduced in other areas of the country, the group also gathered evidence within Leeds, to determine how successful a similar scheme would be, and whether retailers would be supportive of such a scheme.

The research showed that it was difficult to differentiate between crime and disorder, and health issues, associated with high-strength alcohol as opposed to lower strength alcohol. It was also identified that not all retailers would sign up to the voluntary scheme, in particular those who did not experience any problems with antisocial behaviour in their premises.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds echoes Core Cities welcome for plans to give cities freedom to grow

The Core Cities Group has broadly welcomed the Lord Adonis’s Review, outlining how a Labour Government would drive growth. The Adonis Review now means all major parties see strong city economies with more freedom and less Whitehall control as key to unlocking growth.

Following the announcement in Leeds this morning, Councillor Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council said:

“Leeds, along with West Yorkshire and York, are already strong and vibrant economically, seeing the second biggest value added to the economy – over £55 billion. What we really want to see is the support from Whitehall for fair investment in infrastructure which will mean that the North can deliver on our potential. The Review clearly points in the right direction by emphasising the opportunities devolved spending could bring.”

The Review recommends more than £30bn of funding could be devolved over the course of a parliament – three times more than is planned now. This would include cities having more power to control funding for housing, transport, business support and employment.

The inclusion of funding and powers for cities to tackle skills in the Review is also a major step forward. The Core Cities have long argued that the current skills system is too complicated and fails to meet the needs of local business. Cities need the freedoms to train the workforce to deliver the skills that local businesses need.
Other measures include the creation of ‘business hubs’ to stimulate innovation and the smarter use of central Government procurement to help local SMEs. Both proposals were put forward by the Core Cities Group in their Prospectus, launched in autumn last year.

Councillor Jon Collins, Leader of Nottingham City Council and the Core Cities Portfolio Holder for Growth, said:
"The Core Cities are pleased that all the major parties see cities as the way to drive economic growth and welcome today’s proposals in the Labour Growth Review to provide more power for our cities to let them create jobs and grow our economies.

“Long term investment in our cities’ infrastructure and vocational training for our residents is key to establishing a strong economy across the country that can produce high skilled products and exports. In order to achieve this we need funding changes to local government which will see a better balance of funding for the regions.

“ We are particularly pleased to see the inclusion of more local control of skills funding in these proposals. This would help us provide locally led business and innovation support to help create jobs and meet the specific skills and training needs of commerce and industry in our cities.”

Overall the Review is a positive step towards setting cities free to grow. The proposals could go further in some areas though, such as taxation. Core Cities’ urban areas already deliver 27% of the English economy and are home to 16 million people, yet only retain about 5% of the total tax base raised in these cities which is damaging their economic potential. Adonis sets out proposals which would increase the tax retained by cities, but not enough.

Greater freedom to decide how to spend the money generated in cities, such as property taxes, would help the Core Cities meet their target of outperforming the national economy, and becoming financially self-sustaining. Independent forecasts demonstrate this could mean an additional £222 billion and 1.3 million jobs for the country by 2030. That is like adding the entire economy of Denmark to the UK.


Notes to editors

The Core Cities consist of: Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.

The Core Cities recently released a Growth Prospectus which can be read online here.

The Core Cities are a unique and united local authority voice to promote the role of their cities in driving economic growth. They represent the councils of England’s eight largest city economies outside London. The Core Cities Group has a track record of 15 years as a cross party group, led by the City Leaders. For more information please visit http://www.corecities.com/.

Issued by:

Phil Morcom

Communications and Marketing team
Leeds City Council

4th Floor West, Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

Mobile: 07891 276270
Tel: 0113 224 3602
Fax: 0113 247 4736

New fawn makes big impression at Lotherton Hall

Caption: The first new fawn of the year has arrived at Lotherton Hall.

A popular Leeds country estate is celebrating after welcoming its first fawn of 2014.

The new arrival has already made himself very much at home in the deer park located in the grounds of Lotherton Hall, which this year has a number of new exciting features. These include a new path which takes visitors into the deer park and a hide which provides the perfect cover to spot those deer which are a little bit shy. Improved information is also available for youngsters to learn more about the deer and other wildlife on the estate, while new seating, a pond and a marsh for the frogs, toads and newts has also been installed. These new features have been provided as part of funding from the council’s Aiming High for Disabled short break fund, and sit aside other attractions including a bird garden, stables, a gift shop and café.

Once visitors have enjoyed the outside delights of Lotherton Hall, the inside of the house also has much to offer. This includes a range of rare items and collections, and a new interactive area that allows visitors to explore the story of one of Lotherton’s most famous families, the Gascoignes, and find out more about their travels around the world from the 1700s onwards. Also featured is a dressing-up room which is available in the house and a range of tactile interpretation cabinets.

Councillor Jack Dunn, Leeds City Council’s lead member for the environment said:

"We are absolutely delighted to welcome our first fawn to the Lotherton Hall estate this year, and it is great news that the new arrival is doing really well.

"Lotherton Hall is a really fantastic place to visit, and on our estate there is a plenty to do for all the family to enjoy, including a lovely bird garden and stables."

Notes to editors:

Lotherton Hall:

Lotherton Hall Estate is a charming Edwardian house and country estate. A single entrance price allows access to the house, with its wonderful collections of fine and decorative arts and a dedicated fashion gallery, and extensive grounds with an abundance of activities to keep everyone busy. Lotherton Hall has undergone numerous changes over the last few years since becoming one whole visitor attraction. With this new and larger audience the house has adapted by improving access and introducing a new range of family-friendly facilities. Other recent improvements have seen the re-opening of the Servants’ Rooms on the ground floor following a major restoration last year.
Lotherton Hall has been displaying fashion since its early days of being a museum in 1968, showing fine examples of both historic and more contemporary fashions.
Address: Lotherton Lane, Aberford, Leeds, LS25 3EB
Tel: 0113 378 2959
Email: lotherton.hall@leeds.gov.uk
Web address: www.leeds.gov.uk/lothertonhall
See our member’s page for year round entry: www.leeds.gov.uk/lothertonmembers
Summer opening times (March to October) House, café, shop and bird garden: 10:00 to 17:00 with last entry at 16:15. Estate gates: 07:30 to 20:00.

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

Prestigious civic award awarded to two city residents

Picture captions: Jean Johnson and Professor Monty Losowsky receive their individual Leeds Awards from the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor David Congreve.

Two Leeds residents have been awarded one of the city’s highest civic awards in recognition of their fantastic work and dedication to helping others.

Presented by the Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor David Congreve, Jean Johnson and Professor Monty Losowsky are the latest names to join a select group of people to have received the ‘Leeds Award’. Launched in 2008, the Leeds Award recognises those people who have made a tremendous difference in the city. Both Jean and Professor Losowsky’s awards were approved by councillors of all parties at March’s meeting of council.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor David Congreve said:

"Being given a Leeds Award is one of the highest civic honours that someone can be given by our city and there can be no doubt given the tremendous achievements of Jean and professor Losowsky that they both are full deserving of this accolade."

Nominated by Dawn Newsome, Jean, who is 85-years-old and currently chair of older people’s charity Armley Helping Hands, has dedicated almost 50 years of her life to supporting young and old people in her local community. This has included working as a helper at the Brownies for over 50 years, Girl Guides Service for 60 years, 10 years at the Scout fellowship and as a volunteer at St Bartholomew’s Church.

In putting forward Jean for the honour, Dawn who is a project manager at Armley Helping Hands included a comment by a user of the charity, who simply said that she was “a very caring, considerate person who is always there to listen and help you.”

Also at the ceremony held at Leeds Civic Hall was Professor Losowsky and nominator David Barnett. In his letter to the Leeds Award panel, David cited Professor Losowsky’s significant contribution to medical education and research both in Leeds and at a national level. His achievements include establishing a department of medicine at St James’s Hospital, serving as a Dean at the School of Medicine and Dentistry from 1989-1994, and the author of nine published books. Having served on over 30 local, regional, Department of Health and other national committees, Professor Losowsky continues to provide his knowledge and support to Thackray Medical Museum which is based in the city.

Also in attendance at the ceremony were members of the Leeds Award panel, Cllrs Graham Hyde (chair), Barry Anderson and Judith Elliott. Former chair of the Leeds Award panel Bernard Atha, who served as a city councillor for 56 years, was also in attendance.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor David Congreve continued:

"Their hard work and dedication to help others and serve the people of our city in many different capacities and roles overs so many years is truly inspiring, and it was fantastic to meet Jean and Professor Losowsky so we could pass on our thanks when presenting the awards."

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