An update on Student Changeover, the period when many students in the area all move house. We have had 6 enforcement Officers patrolling the whole area from 8am until 4pm since 20th June. They have been advising residents on what to do with waste, handing out warnings for presenting waste in the street and issuing fines where necessary. This is planned to be continuing until 6th July by which time the vast majority of people moving house in this period will have done so. We have been working on educating students, landlords and letting agents since the beginning of this year in preparation for this student changeover period. In regards to waste clearance we have put in as much extra resource in Headingley, Hyde park and Woodhouse as possible – obviously yesterday and today are the days when most people move so we should be reaching a peak with everything improving over the next few days. Our Cleaner Neighbourhoods Team operatives are working up until 7pm every day in this period, doing extra hours to alleviate as much pressure as possible. As local Councillors we too are supplementing this with ward walks and reporting in flytipping and waste – we are also reporting in all that is sent to us over email or text. If you are moving, please do not leave items out on your wall or in the street in the hope that people will want to take your things. 95% of these sort of items will not get taken and then the rest becomes illegal flytipping. Please dispose of your waste properly, either through acknowledged donation channels or thrown away properly. There is a huge amount to get through, so please bear with us over the next few days, and do contact us if you think there’s a street or area being missed. And thank you to all those residents for their patience in this annual difficult period! Cllrs Walshaw, Pryor & Garthwaite
Two online maps have been launched to help Blue Badge holders and other road users navigate around Leeds city centre as major road improvements are carried out and completed.
The disabled parking map shows the on-street locations where Blue Badge holders can park, with 111 spaces allocated across 21 different locations in the city centre. How to access the spaces and the direction of travel to them is shown on the map in blue, whilst the exit routes are shown in yellow. Everyone registered with the council as a Blue Badge holder will also receive a link to an online version of the and can request a physical copy of the map.
The second map shows which roads have restricted access and at what times. Where there are no restrictions at any time, roads are shown in green. However, others including The Headrow, Vicar Lane and Call Lane restrict access to certain road users at specific times of the day. For example, a large section of Vicar Lane is restricted to only buses, hackney carriages and cycles between 7am – 10am and between 4pm – 7pm.
The new restrictions will be enforced by cameras and Penalty Charge Notices will be issued for infringements. Some of the restrictions are already being enforced. Cameras for several of the new restrictions will be activated over the coming months and the public will be notified when new cameras are to be activated. All funds from this will be reinvested into making improvements to the Leeds transport network.
The maps have been created following discussions with stakeholders, to help ensure people can find their way around the city centre during the ongoing major improvements. These changes are part of the £173.5million Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme as part of Connecting Leeds, that aims to dramatically improve public transport and cycling and walking infrastructure across Leeds. It has been shaped from public consultations including the Transport Conversation in 2016, the City Centre consultation in 2018 and consultations on the Headrow and Corn Exchange improvements in 2019.
In these consultations, members of the public asked for:
priority for buses, pedestrians and cyclists above private vehicles
the retention of access routes to city centre public car parks and delivery routes for businesses
easy access for blue badge parking
bus gates to increase the reliability of buses travelling through the city centre (A ‘bus gate’ is a short section of road where access is restricted to buses, hackney carriages and pedal cycles only at certain times (as specified by the signage)).
enforceable and meaningful restrictions for private vehicle users
access maintained to important Leeds landmarks such as the first direct arena, the universities, Leeds General Infirmary, and Leeds Playhouse.
The maps will be further updated once future city centre improvement works have been delivered.
We are writing to you this week against the backdrop of the crisis unfolding in Ukraine. Leeds has a long and proud history of helping those in need and we are doing everything we can to support the relief effort and welcome displaced Ukrainians to our city.
We recently launched the Leeds Together for Ukraine appeal, and the total is already approaching £70,000. Every donation will help to provide accommodation and support for Ukrainians who have lost their homes.
Thank you to all who have donated, and to our partners helping with the appeal. They include the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (Leeds branch), Migration Yorkshire and Leeds Community Foundation.
Another way you can help is by registering with the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme if you are able to offer accommodation for at least six months.
We know however that closer to home the rising cost of living is a serious concern. We will outline below where to get advice if you are worried about money, as well as update you on the local coronavirus situation.
Helping you with money matters
With the rising cost of living putting pressure on household budgets, please remember there is support on hand if you are worried about managing your money and your fuel bills. Advice is free and confidential.
The 25 community hubs across Leeds provide information in person or by phone and can signpost you to other organisations in the city for assistance tailored to your specific circumstances.
If you need urgent help with paying for food, gas or electricity you can call our welfare support team on 0113 376 0330 Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm (from 10am on Wednesdays).
Subject to household eligibility, there is funding available for high quality attic insulation to keep homes warmer and cut energy bills. Find out the criteria and apply by 31 March.
Energy bills rebate and council tax
During April, we will pay the government energy bills rebate of £150 to most households in council tax bands A to D. If you pay by Direct Debit, the rebate will be paid directly into your bank account. If you use another payment method you must apply for the rebate by completing an online form, which will be available from 4 April. If you need help with the online form just ask at one of our community hubs.
Your council tax bill for 2022/23 includes more information about the rebate. Please read this carefully and keep your bill handy so you can find your council tax account number. You’ll need it if you have to claim the rebate or make any enquiries about your account.
The Covid-19 case rate in Leeds has reached 462 per 100K, a significant increase of over 50% in the past week. The case rate in England stands at 617 per 100K.
Whilst a rise in cases was likely as the lifting of restrictions led to increasing social contacts, the disease is less severe for most individuals who have been vaccinated. However the case rates are a timely reminder that Covid-19 remains with us and is a source of anxiety for those who are clinically vulnerable. We can all help by maintaining some simple precautions.
As the weather improves, we can enjoy meeting friends and family outdoors which is much safer. If you do have to spend time together indoors, you can reduce the risk of spreading the virus by opening windows and doors for fresh air and wearing face coverings where possible. Please remember to wash your hands regularly and try to stay at home if you are unwell.
During the pandemic it has been reassuring to be able to test regularly for Covid. It’s important to note that under the living with Covid strategy the government will stop providing free universal Covid-19 testing from 1 April. In-person test sites in Leeds offering PCR tests for people with coronavirus symptoms will close on 31 March. After that date lateral flow kits for asymptomatic testing will no longer be issued free of charge but can be purchased from retail outlets.
With effect from today, all Covid-19 travel restrictions are lifted for people arriving into England from abroad. Other countries still have entry rules in place, so you should check travel advice before departure from the UK.
Vaccination is the best protection
With restrictions lifted, the national living with Covid strategy centres on vaccines as the best line of defence against the virus. The effectiveness of the vaccines is constantly monitored and the data shows that two doses help you avoid serious illness while a booster dose as well makes you 90% less likely to need hospital treatment.
It’s never too late to start your Covid-19 vaccination course and there are clinics across the city where you can either book or walk in for your first, second or booster dose. Find a walk-in vaccination clinic near you or use the NHS booking service.
The self-isolation support scheme ended when the law on self-isolation was lifted on 24 February. However, if you were required to self-isolate before that date, you may still have time to apply for the self-isolation support payment. You can apply up to 42 days from your first day of isolation and must submit your application via the council website no later than Wednesday 6 April.
And finally…a week left to nominate in the Child Friendly Leeds Awards 2022
The Child Friendly Leeds Awards will be extra special this year. Not only is it their 10th birthday, Child Friendly Leeds is also celebrating all the wonderful ways in which Leeds is the best city for children and young people – even when there’s a global pandemic.
The awards were cancelled last year due to Covid restrictions, so if you know of a child, young person, adult or organisation deserving recognition for amazing achievements over the past two years, please tell us! Make your nomination online by 10pm on Friday 25 March.
“As we enter a new phase of living with the virus we would like to share with you some key advice and messages that may make you feel a bit safer and secure, when adjusting to new guidance. We know many older people may have had difficult experiences during the pandemic and we would like you to know we are here to offer advice and signposting.
COVID-19 continues to be a feature of our lives, so this next phase is around learning to live with it and managing the risk to ourselves and others.
Rates of COVID-19 infection are high and we should all continue to be cautious, help to reduce the risk of spread and protect people at highest risk of serious illness.
If you have not yet had your vaccine, we are here to support you whenever you are ready.
You are no longer legally required to wear a mask, social distance or self-isolate, but our advice is to continue to wear a mask in enclosed and crowded spaces such as public transport and health and care settings. Public Health advice still recommends self-isolation if you test positive for COVID-19.
If you are still working you no longer need to work from home.
Where possible, meet outdoors and let fresh air into homes and other enclosed spaces.
Many people will be excited about the return to the way things were before COVID-19, whilst others, may be more cautious.
Please get both doses of the vaccine and the COVID-19 booster if you are eligible to make sure you have the highest level of protection.
It is also important to reduce the risk of spread by washing hands, getting tested if you have symptoms, and isolating if advised to do so.
We want to make the advice as relevant and as clear as possible. We have created these Top Tips for you to use:
A unique service tackling anti-social behaviour and noise in Headingley, Hyde Park, Little Woodhouse and Burley launched this week, thanks to a unique partnership between the council and its two biggest universities.
The dedicated service is a national first, with Leeds Beckett University and University of Leeds funding overnight patrols, seven days a week, by council response officers.
The officers will work exclusively on noise and anti-social behaviour issues in inner north-west Leeds. They will carry out patrols to identify and stop potential issues from escalating while also providing capacity to respond to more calls, more quickly. The partnership will provide additional call-handling capacity at weekends and during peak times throughout the year, including Freshers’ week and end of assessments.
In what is a significant investment by the universities, as well as a major commitment by the partnership to improve the communities, the service is supported by a new Community Coordinator to keep the service working and improving efficiently.
The partnership will monitor and regularly share updates on the performance and impact of the service, and hold termly meetings with residents’ association leaders.
Community members can also join a network of ‘key individuals’ to complete short, regular feedback surveys to help to develop the service. Please email email@example.com if you live, work or run a business in the area and can spare a few minutes every month.
Councillor James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“While universities make an incredibly positive contribution to Leeds’ culture and economy, we also recognise that some issues can arise in all communities with a student population.
“While these issues are not unique to Leeds, our response is. The dedicated service is a national first, building on years of partnership and listening to communities.”
Professor Peter Slee, Vice Chancellor of Leeds Beckett University, said:
“Building and maintaining positive relations in the city is a priority for Leeds’ seven universities. We work with student unions, landlords, police and the council to support our students to live in diverse and vibrant residential communities.
“Leeds’ 70,000 students contribute significantly to the city’s economy and the majority play a positive role in their communities. This service recognises community concerns over the minority that behave inappropriately, and strengthens the partnership’s ability to respond to and deal with that behaviour.”
Professor Simone Buitendijk, vice chancellor of the University of Leeds, said:
“Together with our other partners across the city, we recognise the significant impact that noise and anti-social behaviour can have in the communities in which our students live.
“The introduction of this dedicated service is an important step forward for our collective approach in preventing as well as responding to these issues.
“We will also continue to work together to deliver an enhanced programme of good citizenship activities to ensure our students play an active and positive role in community life.”
Pango Simwaka, Union Affairs Officer at Leeds Beckett Student Union, said:
”Improving the relationship between students and residents in our community has always been a priority for us at Leeds Beckett Students’ Union.
“As a union, we welcome the new dedicated anti-social Behaviour and noise nuisance service and are happy to join forces with the universities and partners on this initiative.
“It’s important that we all work together to create a community which we are proud to live in, while also remembering the positive changes that the students and the universities bring to Leeds.
“We’re keen to show that the vast majority of students in Leeds really value their time in our city and are proud to study here.”
In spite of the new dedicated patrol service, there are no changes to how anti-social behaviour and noise nuisance are reported.
5pm to 4am every day 0113 3760337
Between 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, or if you do not require an immediate response, call 0113 222 4402
The Community Coordinator will provide a link between the service and local communities, working closely with a new community relations post at Leeds Beckett University and the Student Citizenship team at the University of Leeds.
This week the government announced its plan for living safely with Covid-19. The plan centres on vaccines as the first line of defence against coronavirus and encourages safe behaviours based on public health advice, rather than restrictions enforced by law.
The plan acknowledges that Covid-19 is here to stay and explains that the virus will be managed in future in a similar way to other infectious diseases such as flu. The prevalence of Covid is decreasing and there is great progress being made on treatments. Nonetheless, the lifting of the restrictions designed to keep us all safe may be a source of anxiety for those who feel vulnerable. As we adjust to the new normal, we can support one another by remembering the simple precautions and consideration for others that have become part of everyday life.
In this update we will outline the implications of the new approach for people in Leeds, and the support available for individuals, businesses and communities as we look ahead to the Covid recovery period.
Living with Covid in England
The government’s living with Covid plan is being phased in between now and April and includes some key changes that will impact families and individuals.
Self-isolation is no longer legally enforced if you test positive for Covid-19. Instead you are strongly advised to self-isolate until you test negative on two consecutive days. The rules requiring close contacts to test or isolate, depending on their age and vaccination status, have ceased to apply and contact tracing has stopped.
As a result, provision for people self-isolating has ended, including support payments, nationally funded practical assistance and medicine delivery services. The Covid-19 provisions which expedited the payment of statutory sick pay and employment support allowance will end on 24 March. For help and advice if you are struggling financially visit help with food and household bills on the council website.
Testing provision will be scaled back under the living with Covid plan to focus on the most at-risk groups. Lateral flow tests will no longer be freely available after 31 March. Refreshed guidance will be issued advising people how to maintain safe behaviours and minimise the risk of infection for themselves and others.
In the spring, the vaccination programme will expand to offer an additional booster dose to those most at risk from Covid-19, including over-75s, older care home residents and vulnerable people over the age of 12.
The Covid case rate in Leeds has declined by 26% in the past week, to 348 per 100K. Although the city’s case rate is lower than the rate in England, the trend reflects the national position with infections remaining high despite the gradual fall in numbers.
Public health advice in Leeds is therefore to remain cautious and take whatever action you can to prevent the spread of infection. Please continue to stay at home if you are unwell, let in fresh air when indoors, wash your hands regularly and wear face coverings in crowded indoor spaces.
The Covid vaccination is the best way to protect yourself from infection and serious illness. Whether you need a first, second or booster dose the vaccine offer remains in place across the city. Visit the NHS in Leeds for details of local clinics.
The government’s living with Covid plan addresses future monitoring and management of coronavirus. Leeds City Council’s public health team will continue to work closely with health service colleagues to monitor the local position, contain outbreaks and manage any new variants of concern.
For local information and links to the latest national guidance visit the coronavirus page on the council website.
Applications invited for hospitality and leisure grants
There is still time to apply for financial support if you run a hospitality, leisure or accommodation business which was affected by coronavirus restrictions.
The Omicron hospitality and leisure grant is offered to businesses based in Leeds at premises subject to business rates. Applicants must have been registered as the current rate payer on 30 December 2021.
The grants are worth up to £6,000 depending on the rateable value of your premises. Please apply online by the deadline of Friday 18 March.
Energy bills rebate to reach households via council tax
The government recently announced that in April they will provide a one-off energy bills rebate of £150 for most households in council tax bands A to D. You will not have to repay this money, which is to help you with rising energy costs.
We will administer the payment via the council tax billing system, so if you think you may be eligible you don’t need to do anything for now. We will be in touch with more information shortly once the government has clarified how the system will work.
You may wish to arrange payment by Direct Debit if you don’t already pay your council tax this way. This will help us pay the rebate to you as quickly as possible. Find out more at How to pay your council tax.
Join our outstanding social care team
Are you looking for rewarding work as we move on from Covid-19? Could you make a positive difference to some of the most vulnerable people in Leeds? Our award-winning social care team needs you!
Visit Leeds City Council’s Jobs and careers page to find opportunities for experienced and newly qualified professionals – in social care and many other roles too.
Local theatres stage a recovery with 2-for-1 tickets
The cultural recovery is well underway after successive lockdowns forced the arts sector online during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Leeds theatres are taking part in the Love Your Local Theatre campaign, supported by The National Lottery, which aims to encourage post-Covid recovery in the entertainment industry.
The campaign offers 2-for-1 theatre tickets to National Lottery players. Visit Love Your Local Theatre to find a participating venue near you.
Earlier this week the government annouced it’s ‘Living with Covid’ plan meaning that almost all of the covid rules have now been relaxed.
From today it will no longer be a legal requirement to self isolate if you test positive for Covid 19, however the guidance is still to stay at home and avoid contact with others to prevent spreading the virus.
Covid is still around and while the legal restrictions are no longer in place the advice, from government and, emphatically, from health experts is to continue to take precautions to keep yourself and others safe
Also from 1st April, not everyone will be able to book a PCR test if they have symptoms. Tests will still be available for some vulnerable groups, likely to include over 80s and people who are immunosuppressed. The exact list is still being drawn up.
In the week that the government has lifted Plan B restrictions, we look ahead to a new phase as we learn to live safely with Covid-19. Although the virus is still here, the protection offered by vaccinations is allowing us to return cautiously to a more normal way of life.
Please read on for an overview of the Covid situation in Leeds and the steps we can take to keep ourselves and others safe. We also explain the options for getting your vaccinations in Leeds, how to apply for business support grants and the upcoming changes to international travel rules.
We hope this information is useful and helps you look forward to moving on from the pandemic. We have all had different experiences during this time, and it’s natural that some of us may feel anxious as restrictions relax. We can show kindness and understanding to others by continuing with a few simple precautions to reduce the risk posed to everyone by the virus.
Covid-19 and families in Leeds
The number of Covid cases in Leeds has fallen since the peak on 4 January, with a 14% decrease in the past week. However the case rate remains high in the city at 1,124 per 100K, compared with the average case rate in England of 1,000 per 100K.
This week the government’s Plan B measures ended, which lifts the mandates on working from home, using the NHS Covid Pass and wearing a face covering in indoor public spaces.
While many of us welcome the return of greater freedoms to our lives, we must remember that Covid-19 still has the potential to spread in our communities. The virus poses a great risk to people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
Covid-19 spreads easily in enclosed places, so when you meet other people it’s worth considering if you can get together outdoors. If you can’t, you can lower the risk indoors by letting in fresh air, wearing a face covering and testing before you go.
It’s never too late to get your Covid vaccinations
Wherever you live or work in Leeds, there’s a vaccine clinic near you. Across the city there is a wide choice of venues where you can book an appointment or just drop in for your vaccinations.
If you work in the city centre or are heading there for shopping or leisure in the next couple of weeks, you’ll find drop-in clinics at Kirkgate Market on Fridays and Trinity Leeds on Saturdays and Sundays. There are out-of-town options for shoppers too, with a vaccination pop-up at the White Rose Centre this weekend.
The vaccination centre at Elland Road is open seven days a week, and venues including pharmacies, GP surgeries, schools, community centres and supermarkets are holding clinics too.
The NHS publishes all up-to-date details of venues, opening hours and vaccines offered so you can easily find a vaccine clinic near you. Whether you still need your first, second or booster dose, the sooner you get vaccinated the sooner you will build up your own immunity to the virus and protect others too.
Support grant scheme opens up to smaller businesses
There’s welcome news for smaller businesses this week as a support grant scheme which helped businesses throughout the pandemic lowers the level of business costs needed to qualify.
The discretionary grant scheme offers assistance of up to £15,000 to help with overheads for Leeds-based businesses and charities from any sector. Applicants must submit a figure for their fixed business costs for the period from 1 August last year to 31 March this year.
From 1 February the qualifying figure will be reduced to £1,000 (from £2,000 previously) which opens up the scheme to smaller organisations. Please contact the council as soon as possible to apply for a grant before the deadline of 22 February.
A second grant scheme offers one-off grants worth up to £6,000 to Leeds-based businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors. The scheme has extended its deadline for applications from the end of February to 18 March.
New testing rules a boost for vaccinated travellers
The arrangements for travelling abroad are set to change next month, making it easier for many people to plan long-awaited holidays or visits to family and friends.
From 11 February, fully vaccinated people travelling to England from abroad will no longer have to test before departure or self-isolate on arrival. Those who are not fully vaccinated must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than two days before departure and take a pre-booked PCR test on arrival in England, at their own expense.
There’s lots to look forward to closer to home as well! Our partners at Leeds 2023 are marking one year to go until their celebration of culture takes off. Watch their One Year To Go film to see what’s in store.