Leeds today: digital ale, cheese, Occupy, artlink, hands, market, brewery and bishops.

Morning! After attending the launch of the Leeds Digital Festival last night I was wondering if we’d get this out on time, but it looks like we will!

First things first; back in September we covered the plans by Carlsberg to renovate the site of the Tetley Brewery site. The YEP has now revealed that a rival set of plans have been submitted by a local consortium of businesses who want to turn part of it into a data centre, some flats and a new pedestrian walkway around the site of the listed-but-derelict boozer, The Crown. Interesting! This plan seems to have the support of LCC and the Leeds Civic Trust – not normally known for allowing listed buildings to be flattened. Read it and await the fireworks.

The Harrogate Advertiser has warned that many elderly people in Harrogate and across North Yorkshire will see the cost of Meals on Wheels nearly double after North Yorks County Council cancelled the subsidy they gave to the organisation. In Harrogate this will see a single pensioner having to find an additional £14.35 a week for meals – and in many cases, the delivery of that meal will be the only contact they get each day.

The three dioceses of Leeds, Bradford and Ripon could be merged and then put into five new areas, each with its own bishop, reports the BBC. A formal consultation has begun, presumably with the inevitable line “we welcome views from members of the public” although given the churchgoing public are about as conservative as you get I expect only token nods to those views.

More from Auntie: £400k could come from LCC to renovate parts of the Market. The measure, due to be debated at the next meeting of Exec, is apparently in addition to £200k previously agreed. Cllr Gerry Harper, deputy executive member for city development, said:

“I hope this further investment from the council will serve to reassure both traders and the public how committed we are to securing the long term future of the market. We are well aware of problems that are affecting the market, and with this money we aim to make much needed repairs and improvements. Along with further investment in maintenance at the market our consultants are currently looking into the best way to move the market forward, and we should have the results from them in the near future.”

Whenever I hear the word “consultant” in a non-medical context my teeth itch. Sorry, but spending X thousand pounds on people who tell you exactly what you want to hear sounds awfully similar to visiting cold-reading psychics. Anyway.

Speaking of consultants, a Leeds plastic surgeon has asked for patients who would like to receive a hand transplant. Prof Simon Kay from LTHT has written to plastics units across the country to find suitable patients, with a view to performing the UK’s first hand transplant within a year. The LGI already has a reputation for reattaching severed hands, which is good to know.

Artlink West Yorkshire has just finished a refurb of a property they’ve been using for 30 years. After spending £365k on the Bell Vue Rd site, Artlink have said:

“The general public is invited to an Open Day on Tuesday 8th November 2011 from 11.30am to 3.30pm at 191 Belle Vue Road, Leeds LS3 1HG. Free art workshops and creative activities will be open to all and a new exhibition with work from service users, that tracks the history of Artlink and community arts in Leeds, will be on display”

More details on their website.

Occupy Bradford – an offshoot of the OccupyLSX and OccupyWallSt protests going on elsewhere – have been asked to pack their tents and leave (video). The protesters were told they were trespassing as they took up space outside City Hall in Bradford. This is interesting; something I’d like to see is a Google maps mashup map of – oh, let’s say Leeds – to discover what is and what isn’t public space. I would assume that space outside a civic building is public space, but in these modern times who knows who owns what?

All of the non-member tickets to next week’s Homage 2 Fromage event have sold out! There are 11 tickets available for members. The organisers have a blog, too: in this instalment they go hunting for places to buy cheese in Leeds.

And so, to the Leeds Digital Festival; there are still a couple of spots available for today’s Digital Lunch, Girl Geek Dinners is on tonight, and next week is something BGL is very interested in; Write-Publish-Read, an evening of debating the modern way of self publishing newsletters, pamphlets and fanzines. The launch party was very good, by the way, with Leeds Brewery‘s digital Ale being a big hit, along with the food from Fish&.

That’s it for today. Ellie is back in the chair tomorrow, so if you’ve got news of an alternative sort then please, let us know! Thanks for reading.

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4 Responses to Leeds today: digital ale, cheese, Occupy, artlink, hands, market, brewery and bishops.

  1. Mike Chitty says:

    You have clearly been choosing and using the wrong consultants! But, those of us who make our livelihoods living from consultancy get used to the ‘cheap shots’! Part of my approach is to insist that clients only pay for my time IF they think it is good value as I only want clients who are happy with my work.

    Using consultants to determine ‘the best way to move the market forward’ is putting yourself on a hiding to nothing though. There is no clear ‘best way’ just a series of options all with their own pros and cons, supporters and opponents. A half decent consultant would help the various stakeholders involved develop a wide range of options, evaluate them and choose a ‘preferred option’ that can be implemented. But they would make sure that the responsibility for choosing the preferred option was owned by and fully committed to by those involved.

    • The public perception of consultants – when they think of them at all – is often influenced by stories such as Capita or KMPG advising public bodies in expensive and inappropriate ways, or £nM bills from Downing st spent on “consultants”. I think it’s safe to say that these aren’t the majority, but it’s still the perception. How much did “Leeds Loves…” cost? Or “Welcome to Scotland”? Or the flashy website to please investors…

      • Mike Chitty says:

        Agreed! And who is at fault: the people who supply the service, or those who procure it?

      • Those whose suggestion that procurement is made in such a way that gaming the system is seen as de rigeur, are at fault. It doesn’t help that “value for money” is such a woolly term, or that SMART is mis-applied, or that high-impact consultancies are given to friends (or flatmates) of people in high places.

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