Friday, 12 September 2014

Revellers reminded to be ‘taxi aware’ to get home safely

Everyone visiting Leeds city centre at night is being reminded of a few simple checks to make sure they get home safely.

Leeds City Council is launching a new safety campaign to coincide with Freshers’ Week, which asks ‘Are you taxi aware?’ to remind people of the importance of making sure they get into a properly licenced taxi or pre-booked private hire vehicle to avoid taking risks with their safety.

Posters and leaflets have been produced to make people more aware of the difference between hackney carriages (taxis) and private hire vehicles and highlight the risks of getting into an unlicensed taxi or private hire vehicle. These will be distributed during Freshers’ Week, as well as being on display in pubs and clubs across the city. The council will also be using social media to spread the message around the students in the city.

The campaign is asking people to be ‘aware’ and follow five simple rules:
Always pre-book
Only use a licensed taxi or pre-booked private hire vehicle
Wait for it to arrive
Never get into a vehicle other than the one you have booked or a Hackney carriage you have hailed in the street or at a taxi rank
Always check their badge
Confirm the driver is licensed and that they have a badge
Ride with friends
Sharing a vehicle is a great idea and always sit in the back seats
Enter only when sure:
If you have any doubts, don’t get in, and order another vehicle

Councillor Mary Harland chair of the licensing committee said:
“With the influx of students returning to the city wanting to take advantage of the great nightlife here, we want to make sure their time in Leeds is as worry-free as possible.

“We are reminding people to keep their wits about them when choosing how to get home after a night out in Leeds as getting into an unlicensed taxi or private hire vehicle, is just like letting a complete stranger take you home – there are none of the safeguards that properly licensed drivers must adhere to.

“These guidelines are intended to help people make the right choices to get them home safely. By following a few simple steps you can avoid the potentially devastating result of getting in a car with the wrong person.”

To help revellers stay safe, Leeds City Council is asking them to remember a few simple facts:
• Taxis (officially called Hackney Carriages) can be hailed in the street. Most look like traditional black cabs, and all taxis have an illuminated ‘taxi’ sign on the roof.
• Private hire vehicles cannot be hailed in the street – they must be pre-booked with an operator, otherwise they are not insured and no record of the journey is kept.
• The driver must have an ID badge on display.
• The vehicle must have a Leeds City Council licence plate on the back.
• Cars cruising the street looking for customers are illegal and will be uninsured to take paying passengers.
• Be careful not to give any personal details to the driver if you chat to them.
• If you feel threatened ask the driver to stop in a busy area and get out of the car. If the driver refuses to stop call the police from your mobile and try to alert other drivers and pedestrians by waving and shouting out of the car.

Leeds City Council’s taxi and private hire licensing team is responsible for making sure that drivers, vehicles and operators meet the terms of their licence and that the trade in Leeds is operated in a professional manner. People can report any complaints or concerns about the taxi and private hire trade to the Taxi and Private Hire licensing section on 0113 3781570 or by emailing

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Public welcome to attend memorial service for Ann Maguire

A memorial service to celebrate the life of Ann Maguire will take place at Leeds Town Hall, on Monday, 29 September 2014 at 12 noon.

Members of the public are welcome to join invited guests to celebrate Ann’s life and her contribution to education in the city throughout her teaching career, which spanned more than 40 years.

The memorial service has been planned in conjunction with Mrs Maguire’s family so that there is an opportunity for everyone who wants to honour Ann’s memory to attend.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“Ann Maguire spent her whole career educating, nurturing and supporting generations of young people at Corpus Christi Catholic College. This public memorial service will give us all an opportunity to celebrate her life and her outstanding contribution to education in the city.”

The Ann Maguire Arts Education Fund has been set up in Ann’s memory and donations can be made via: The fund will provide bursaries and funding for the enhancement and personal development of young people under 18 years old through music, drama, language and dance.

Notes to editors:
• Details of speakers and an order of service will be available shortly.
• Arrangements for media access will also be announced soon.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Future of two city golf courses set to be discussed by executive board

Proposals regarding the future of two golf courses in the city are set to be discussed by Leeds City Council’s executive board next week.

As part of a meeting set to be held on September 17, senior officers will discuss a number of options regarding the long-term viability of Middleton Park and Gotts Park golf courses. This follows the council in 2013, deferring a previous decision to close both courses in order to see if a new way of delivering the service could be found and undertaking a wide-ranging public consultation.

Attempts to find a suitable business case to keep the courses open, which made a collective loss of £217k in 2013/2014, have as yet been fruitless, and at the executive board, members are being asked to recommend that the council cease to provide golf at either course from 31 October 2014.

If this decision is given the go-ahead, and Gotts Park Golf Club does not indicate it wishes to manage the course which would see the council, subject to approval, entering into a yearly agreement with the organisation, plans would move forward on the development of a new country park. Made up of 37 hectares, the green space, which would be called the Benjamin Gott Country Park, will offer somewhere where the public can for free, play games, relax, and enjoy the interesting and diverse range of wildlife habitats.

In regards to the closure of Middleton Park Golf course, if agreed by the executive board, the council will invest £74k in the space which is currently occupied by Middleton Park Golf Club. This investment will be shaped in consultation with local councillors, Friends of Middleton Park, Wades and the local community where a number of ideas are set to be looked at.

It is expected that the projected savings in closing both courses will be £170k this year, and this money will be used to establish the parkland and as match funding for suitable grants until 2015/2016.

To read the full executive board report, please see:

Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive member for cleaner, safer and stronger communities said:

"We have worked extremely hard with both golf clubs to see if a suitable business case could be found to deliver this service, and unfortunately these investigations have as yet not been successful. Given the significant challenges that the council faces and the combined loss of both golf courses which were £217,000 last year, it is simply unsustainable to carry on as before. It is because of this reason that we have asked the executive board to recommend that both golf courses close.

"We have been determined however, that if Gotts Park Golf Club doesn’t take up the option of managing their particular service, and the closure of both courses does go ahead, that plans are put in place to ensure that these two lovely pieces of green spaces are made fully accessible and enjoyed by the public.

"With that in mind, we would like to move forward on the development of a country park at Gotts and working closely with the community of Middleton, see what they would like the green space to become in the future. As part of our commitment, we will use the projected £170k savings this year, to help establish the parkland and support the work at Middleton."

For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578