Leeds today: shopping, poverty, cake, park, woolly coffins, lights and panels.

It is the start of a new week here at BGL towers and first things first; this is our 100th post. 100! Since the start of June we’ve had at least something posted up here every weekday, and we wouldn’t have done it without having an audience; so, dear reader, thank you. (We got some badges made to celebrate – you can spot BGL contributors in the street now!)

This week sees the start of the Leeds Loves Shopping festival, and at the end of the week we have Disrupting Poverty (event info here). The juxtaposition is interesting but as Leeds seems to turn once again into a retail destination the second event is more important than ever.

Arguably, however, National Cake Week is vitally important to the state of the nation. The week-long event starts today with organiser Lynn Hill dropping off some lemon drizzle to BBC Radio Leeds, and the Clandestine Cake Club are meeting tonight to swap baking tips, eat slices of tasty cake and catch up, and maybe raise some money for charity.

Light Night seems to have gone well; there’s a set of photos on Flickr from the Craft Garden held in the Town Hall cells. From BGL’s perspective it was a lot of fun and a lot of work, but the worst part was being unable to see anything else. We look forwards to seeing people’s blogs about the event popping up during the week.

South Leeds Life has posted what the Friends of Middleton Park are up to in the Autumn this year. There will be family activities, a circus skills workshop, the annual bonfire (of course!) and a day of clearing up dead rhododendrons amongst other events. If you live in the area and want to help out then the Friends would love to hear from you, or just turn up on the day. Also, congratulations to South Leeds Life who have made it into print form; well done, chaps.

In the news

The Hollybush Conservation Centre in Kirkstall is well on their way to getting a biomass pellet boiler thanks to a grant from French energy company EDF. The boiler, which should provide all the heating and much of the hot water needed by the conservation volunteers, will make the centre more sustainable and will be fitted next spring.

A firm in Pudsey has seen sales of their fleecy coffins go up, reports the BBC. The coffins, made from a mix of wool from British sheep and cardboard, are biodegradable and better for the environment. The market for alternative ways of dealing with the dead has expanded in recent years; the firm sold 20 coffins in 2009 and are now averaging more than 70 a month.

In somewhat related news a new multi-faith cemetery is being planned on a five acre site near Whinmoor Grange.

[LCC] will discuss the plan on Wednesday, and if approved, work would start immediately with the creation of access roads, drainage and landscaping. Officials said the cemetery scheme had been planned since 2002 and the first burials could begin in January 2013.

Also on the BBC; the cost of street lighting in Leeds has nearly trebled since it started being run by a PFI. LCC’s last annual bill for lights under its own control was £5.8m; last year it was £14.4m, including £10.1m for “other costs” (believed to be the annual repayment cost of replacing 80,000 lights).

The Miggy Arms, under threat of demolition to be replaced by a branch of Aldi, has had a stay of execution. LCC had actually recommended to the Plans Panel East that Aldi’s planning application be rejected, but PPE decided on a site visit instead to see what effect the plans would have on the area. Residents would like to see a community facility inside the former pub and hotel; all decisions are now on hold until November 3rd.

LCC are looking for members of the public to join the Citizen’s Panel. The website says:

We’re ambitious and aim to make the Citizen’s Panel one of the largest in the country made up of thousands aged 18+ who live in the Leeds district. We want to make sure the panel has the same balance of people from different ages, backgrounds and from different places as there are in Leeds. We would like as many panel members as possible to do surveys online as this is environmentally friendly and saves money, but freepost postal surveys will also be available. From time to time panel members may be asked to take part in discussion groups around particular areas of interest.

Interested parties are invited to apply on the Get Involved section of LCC’s website.

That’s it for today! Thanks for reading – and do get in touch if you have anything you would like us to cover! Email or twitter is fine; we do read everything you send us even if we don’t get time to reply. See you tomorrow.

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