Last night saw Leeds railway station plunged into chaos when a power cut and subsequent failure stopped trains entering and exiting the station for 90 minutes, reports the BBC. Although power was restored by 5:30 the resultant delays got worse and rush hour commuters were frustrated at the problems. Travellers were taking buses and taxis and the traffic around the station caused problems for the road network, especially buses which were suddenly overwhelmed with commuters trying to get to Huddersfield, Wakefield and Harrogate. It is expected that everything be back to normal this morning.
It is against this backdrop that Metro announces a major shakeup in how it does business, reports the YEP. It has to make £9m in savings before the end of the 2013-14 financial year, and plans on how to do this were released on Wednesday. £4.5m may come from reducing the subsidy to bus companies, and raising the rail fares for over 60s from 50p to the half fare price is also on the table. The South Entrance and Leeds Trolleybus projects are not likely to be affected, say Metro.
The YEP reports on For Disability Mobility, a charity that provides a minibus service to groups in sheltered housing, residential care and other communities in South Leeds. The Rothwell-based minibus is under threat as the care home in which they’re housed is one proposed to be closed by LCC. When For Disability Mobility contacted LCC to ask about the future of their charity, the response was less than encouraging:
Ron Frost, joint secretary and trustee of FDM, said: “The heart of the system in Leeds didn’t even know we existed despite the fact that we pay rent to them. When I called the council they said, ‘Who are you?’, ‘Do you rent a room at Dolphin Manor?’, ‘Have you got a lease for your building?’.”
Things seem to be better now, however. LCC has met with FDM and solutions are being put together:
A council spokeswoman said: “We would not want to see the organisation disadvantaged by any plans for the future of Dolphin Manor. The organisation uses garage space at Dolphin Manor and we have promised all along to work with its managers and volunteers to help find alternative premises, should the decision be taken to close Dolphin Manor.”
Earlier in the week Prime Minister David Cameron set out his stall in the Yorkshire Post, arguing for his “better future for everyone”, by which he seemed to mean “very large building contractors” and “people who can afford it”. Some infrastructure improvements are being claimed as a win for the Government and new businesses in Yorkshire are getting a tax break for new employees. He also mentions the Leeds LEP, worth £7bn, a lot of money in anybody’s book (aand Mike Chitty blew that one out of the water last October) which will at least partially go to consultancies and marketing agencies, and pay for management and buttonholing existing pet projects. Still, at least the PM is talking to regional newspapers.
The Guardian’s John Baron has been busy this week. Firstly, a round up of the news and views concerning Leeds Kirkgate Market’s future takes a look at what has been a turbulent week for Europe’s largest indoor market. Secondly, a look at HS2, the high speed rail link between the North and South, with words from the Transport Secretary, Phillip Hammond. HS2 has sparked immense controversy in recent weeks with press in the South generally being against it, press in the North being pro. Opinion by the public seems to be a mix of “who cares” and “shouting very loudly about it” (much like everything else) and viewers were treated to an impressive shouting match on last night’s Channel 4 News between two opposing views who nearly overran Jon Snow.
Leeds media group Hebe Media have been working on an online network for the City of Leeds, LOL! Leeds Online. As the network passes the 50,000 member mark the group felt it was time to take a look at the history, achievements and future of the project, which does seem to be taking on a life of its own.
The ever-popular My Life in Leeds series of guides for tourists now includes a sculpture trail around the city. The guide includes a bit of history about several pieces of public art that Leeds residents are very fond of.
Next week sees International IPA day. August 4th plays host to several pubs in the area engaging in celebrating the India Pale Ale. In Leeds Mr Foleys will have a huge selection of IPAs available as well as bringing in brewers of the beers for a chat to patrons. BGL is a big fan of IPA and may well be along to see what’s what.
The weekend shall see Aled Jones taking to the stage for Opera in the Park at Temple Newsam, with Party in the Park taking part the following day. The decision to charge for tickets to Opera has been questioned by many but the event will be going ahead anyway and is a great excuse to get the picnic basket out and fill a flask full of a cocktail from the 1920s. The Yorkshire Brass Quintet will be at Canal Gardens on Sunday, and other brass bands shall be performing in Leeds parks such as Middleton and at Wetherby Riverside as part of the summer season.
This is the end of our tenth week! Because Monday is Yorkshire Day (and for other reasons) we’ll be taking the day off, but don’t panic! The usual news roundups will continue on Tuesday. If you would like to contribute a guest post for Monday then please get in touch, but otherwise have a great weekend and please, let us know what you got up to!