Leeds today: wildflowers, rail strikes, a burning boozer, graffiti and Ken Dodd.

Is graffiti street art or vandalism? Well, as with all things it is a matter of degree, but that didn’t stop LCC spending £517,000 in 2010-11 on cleaning up graffiti (YEP). Graffiti artists can be very talented, and occasionally come to arrangements with local councils and private owners but moreoften than not they’re seen as a nuisance. Three graffiti taggers who were recently caught and sentenced to 8 months inside were responsible for £250,000’s worth of damage on the railways alone. Is it just a big mess or do you think your area is brightened by some of the work? Are you sick of seeing GOURANGA on motorway bridges? Have your say in the comments!

There’s going to be a train strike. The BBC reports that it’ll be two 24-hour strikes, on the 24th & 26th August. This will affect people coming to the Leeds festival and going to Manchester Pride, as well as interrupting the bank holiday weekend. It’s over pay, and will only affect First Transpennine Express routes.

But over in the Yorkshire Post, a commuter wonders where all the money being pumped into the railways is going and decides to go back to using the car for going to work. With an upcoming average 8% rise on rail fares coming with no noticeable improvement other than to shareholder’s wallets, one commuter notes:

“Charging exorbitant fares seems completely counterproductive to any idea of encouraging people onto public transport, but then our rail network is not known for having an abundance of common sense, is it?”

Also in the BBC, the Leeds Community Foundation, a charity that helps fund community groups, has seen requests for help double in the past six months. Since the cuts began the LCF has funneled £4m into local groups, and can only give a grant to a third of the groups it gets requests from. This will only get worse as cuts continue bite, but groups like LCF can give out small grants, typically less than £5k for grassroots projects by small community groups; one group was awarded £250 for a new sink that “revolutionised” the speed they could serve lunch, for example.

The YEP reports that the Lord Nelson in Holbeck was in ruins after a fierce fire on Monday night. The pub on Holbeck Lane had been closed for some time and is on an isolated site, so potential damage to other property and the public was minimised. It took firefighters two hours to fight the blaze that was already well underway, which eventually caused structural damage to the building. An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway.

Last one from the Beeb today: as reported last week in BGL the City Varieties is ready to re-open. The £9.9m refurb began in 2009 and in that time the City Varieties has been closed; it will open with a sell-out show by Ken Dodd, with its most popular show, The Good Old Days, taking a starring role in the forthcoming programme.

Exploring Leeds carries on hunting down Libraries; this time in Garforth, Burley and Whinmoor. What a contrast! Garforth looks lovely inside and out, Burley looks like its about to be demolished from the outside but is beautiful inside, and Whinmoor is a disaster. BGL is loving this exploration of a rapidly diminishing resource and hopes to see more from Exploring Leeds soon.

The Corn Exchange has some new branding, created by a chap from the Isle of Man, reports the island’s website. Mark Redhead from Port Erin beat off competition from more than 150 other people, and said:

“My design was focussed around the architecture of the building. I did a lot of research into the age and audience type who both visit and shop at the centre. From that point I used traditional typography, a minimal colour palette (which was selected from swatches I took from inside the building) and a vector based illustration of the building’s roof – which is one of its famed points.”

BGL roving reporter Elly Snare writes about a free event in Hyde Park coming up at the weekend for Culture Vultures. In My Back Yard is an event being held at All Hallow’s Church on Saturday featuring de-stressing, bike mending, yoga and knitting, and a free lunch. Much more is to be found, as well. Hyde Park isn’t just for students!

Also on CV, Gillian Holding writes about Holbeck Botanic Gardens, a couple of brownfield sites where wildflowers have taken hold and decided to play with nature without human intervention. The last four weeks have seen borders, meadows and quite distinctive landscaping becoming apparent and the question is; did someone have a hand in this, or is it entirely natural? We may never know, but it is certainly worth taking a look down there whilst we still have a summer.

That’s it for today; a quick reminder that we’re operating on a reduced service for two weeks but we have guest bloggers lined up to entertain you over that time, including Guardian Journo John Baron, who ran the Guardian Leeds blog that inspired this barrage of words. See you tomorrow!

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One Response to Leeds today: wildflowers, rail strikes, a burning boozer, graffiti and Ken Dodd.

  1. Morticia says:

    I am sick of seeing Gouranga on bridges – not least because I feel a bit sick when I wonder how it got written there and whether or not much dangling was involved.

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