Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Letting agents must register with redress scheme

Letting agents are being reminded to register with an approved complaints scheme.

Since 1 October 2014, letting agents and property managers must join one of three Government-approved ‘redress’ schemes.

The legal requirement means that tenants and landlords dealing with letting agents, and leaseholders and freeholders dealing with property managers, will have an independent person to complain to if they receive a service that falls below standards.

This will make it easier for tenants and landlords to report bad service and prevent disputes escalating.

Registration to the redress scheme is enforced by the council’s housing regulation team who can fine unregistered letting agents and property managers up to £5,000.

Councillor Debra Coupar, executive member for communities, said:

“The redress scheme is designed to weed out bad agents and drive up standards. It’s another tool we can use to crack down on those in the privately rented sector who operate outside the rules.

“If you are a letting agent or property manager in Leeds please ensure you join one of the schemes. Our housing regulation team will be checking those who need to sign up have done so.

“Anyone who tries to avoid mandatory membership will face the consequences of a significant financial penalty.”

For more information on registration, letting agents and property managers can speak to the housing regulation team on 0113 247 7594 or search for ‘property redress scheme’ at

For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577


Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Youngsters learn from Rhinos how Smart Swaps mean healthy habits

Children at one Morley school were delighted when they won a chance to meet Rhinos players Ash Handley and Robbie Ward after a top performance in the Smart Swaps healthy eating challenge this year.

Recent data suggests more than one in ten Leeds children in their last year at primary school are overweight, so Leeds City Council’s Public Health team have teamed up with schools and Leeds Rhinos to encourage families to make easy swaps from unhealthy snacks and healthy ones. Following this year’s Smart Swapathon challenge, Morley Newlands Primary were the winners of the Smart Swaps Leeds Rugby Assembly.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Chair of the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said:

“Leeds has been doing really well in recent Smart Swap campaigns, and I was delighted to hear about the amazing efforts made by the children at Morley Newlands Primary school to eat more healthily. It is great that alongside thousands of other individuals and families around the city, they are heading in the right direction to live longer, healthier lives by ditching unhealthy snacks and swapping to alternatives which are just as tasty, but also better for them.”

Emma Strachan, health improvement specialist with Leeds City Council’s Public Health team, said:

“Healthy diets make a big difference to your health. For instance, we know sugar doesn’t just have an impact on teeth, it causes fat to build up inside the body, with potential consequences like heart disease, some cancers, or type 2 diabetes later in life.

“The Smart Swapathon has been a great chance to get loads of people, schools and organisations on board with making healthier choices.”

Janet Munro, healthy schools co-ordinator Morley Newlands primary school said:

“Mums and dads want a healthy diet for their children and we’ve been delighted to help encourage the children to take up the challenge. It has been great to see the children do so well and we were delighted to have the Rhinos come along to school as a reward.”

Caption: Ash Handley signs autographs for Smart Swappers

Caption: Newlands Primary Smart Swappers join Cllr Mulherin, Emma Strachan, Janet Munro and Rhinos Ash Handley and Robbie Ward

Notes for editors:

More information about Smart Swaps can be found at:

•             Consuming food and drink high in sugar means extra calories which causes fat to build up inside, that could lead to heart disease, cancer or type 2 diabetes

•             By the time they leave primary school, one in three children are carrying excess weight

•             Children who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop illnesses such as type 2 diabetes , go onto experience weight and health problems in adolescence, and are more likely to become overweight or obese adults

•             Consumption of foods high in sugar can lead to tooth decay

•             In 2012, almost one-third of five year olds in England had tooth decay with stark inequalities across the country

•             Children’s sugar consumption, as a percentage of energy intake, is up to 50% greater than the current SACN recommendation. Soft drinks contribute 17% of sugar intake amongst 4-10 year olds and 30% of sugar intake amongst teenagers

For further information contact:

Phil Morcom
Communications team
Leeds City Council
4th Floor West, Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR
Mobile: 07891 276270
Tel: 0113 224 3602

Monday, 1 June 2015

Comment on visit to Leeds by Secretary of State for Transport and the Chairman of HS2 Ltd

Leeds City Council has made the following comment after meetings held at the Civic Hall today on transport issues attended by Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin MP and the Chairman of HS2 Ltd Sir David Higgins.

Following the event,  Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor James Lewis said:

“We were delighted to welcome the Secretary of State for Transport as well as Sir David Higgins and the chairs of the northern combined authorities to Leeds today and it was very welcome to hear of the commitment to tackling the historic lack of transformational investment in transport infrastructure in the north as a priority. 

"High-speed rail in the forms of HS2 and HS3 hold the key to unlocking the vast economic potential of the north, together with further significant investment in a fully-integrated modern transport network and the resources and local decision-making powers to help directly benefit millions of people, businesses and communities. Clarity on the final route of HS2 is important to come as soon as possible in order to provide certainty, but also with a continued focus on minimising the impact on communities directly affected.

“We will continue to push for the eastern and northern second phases of HS2 to be built as early as possible so that we can all enjoy the full benefits in terms of jobs, growth and enhanced rail journeys. The cities along the HS2 east corridor already contribute more than 25 per cent (£100bn) of the UK’s GDP, with an additional £4.2bn to be generated through high-speed rail. It would greatly improve the lives and prospects of the 12 million people living there as well as helping to rebalance and strengthen the UK economy as a whole, so without question it will be an essential element to the overall success of the HS2 project.”


Leeds City Council communications
Tel: 0113 395 0244

Historic 18th Century building set for major facelift

A project to protect and preserve a key part of Leeds's heritage is set to begin thanks to a major funding package, financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Leeds City Council.

A grant of £110,000 will be used to repair 92 Kirkgate as part of the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI), with work set to begin on site soon.

This is one of a number of historic buildings that have been part of the Kirkgate landscape since the 18th Century and which form part of the THI project.

Work on 92 Kirkgate will include repointing in lime mortar, re-roofing with stone slate, installation of sash windows and reinstatement of a traditional shop front.

The specialist work will not only restore the architecture, but will be in keeping with the nature of the building and the aesthetic of the area as a whole.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said:

“The restoration of 92 Kirkgate will be the first step in a genuinely ambitious project to transform what is one of the oldest parts of Leeds city centre.

“This project, alongside work on the nearby White Cloth Hall, shows that with help from the council through the Townscape Heritage Initiative, investment can and will take place in the Kirkgate area.

“This part of Leeds is steeped in history but has been neglected for far too long and we need to act now to invest in the area and ensure it is not lost.

“By making this investment, we will not only be protecting the history of the area but bringing these buildings back into use and in turn stimulating business and economic growth and thereby recouping our investment in the long term.

“Lower Kirkgate is a key part of our city’s heritage and I am confident this scheme will help change its fortunes for the better and restore this important area to its former glory.”

Historically, the Kirkgate area was a centre for the cloth industry, with the First White Cloth Hall being the first covered trading hall in Leeds.

Although 92 Kirkgate would originally have been a cloth merchant’s house, Pigots Directory shows that once the trade moved elsewhere in the city, it was used by house and sign painter Joseph Lucas in 1829 and then grocer Francis Thornton in 1834.

The building is the first of a number in the area which will be transformed and brought back into use in the same way, with grants being pursed for further major improvement projects.

Survey works have recently finished on the First White Cloth Hall and specialist conservation architects are currently considering how the building could be restored in future.

If a viable scheme is identified it is hoped that repair and rebuilding will be able to begin in 2017.

The Townscape Heritage Initiative also aims to protect and restore the historic character of a number of other buildings in the lower Kirkgate area and in total £1.05m has been awarded to the project from the HLF, which will be matched with £668k public funding.

This, along with £894k potential private funding, could bring the total investment to an estimated £2.6m.


For media enquiries, please contact:
Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937