Leeds today: fire, police HQ, food, indie publishing, NAP, Merrion and hospital

Morning! In a change to our regular schedule Mike is writing today’s post as Elly is otherwise engaged. Hence slight lateness. Sorry for the delay!

Unfortunately there was a fire at Temple Newsam’s Home Farm yesterday morning. Many animals perished in the blaze and an investigation into how the fire started is underway. LCC published a statement about the fire and how the decision to reopen the Farm will take shape.

The Merrion Centre redevelopment scheme is expected to get the nod later on today as councillors debate the plans. The centre, which opened in 1964, contains a rarely-seen cinema which will probably be removed and all the work is hoped to be finished by the time the new Leeds Arena is finished in 2013.

Pontefract Hospital could close its A&E department during the night due to a shortage of staff. A meeting at 6pm today at Pontefract Town Hall will go over the changes in more detail and allow the public a right to reply; although the hospital has tried to recruit 9 new emergency doctors the process has not been successful, prompting the closures on patient safety grounds.

With the Northern Art Prize opening tomorrow (and a preview this evening) it’s interesting to see people’s reactions to the exhibition. Leeds blogger and oberservationalist Ivor Tymchak has taken a look at the exhibits and articulates his thoughts. BGL gets to see them tonight; we look forwards to seeing how things pan out.

The Guardian takes a look at Mick McCann’s Armley Press, with the recent launch of John Lake’s Blowback. Indie publishing is starting to gain some traction – and is outselling Booker shortlisters – and Mick’s work is made even more interesting when you look at where publishing could be headed in five years time. The book launch diary Mick wrote is also on Culture Vultures and is well worth a read.

South Leeds Life is organising a “news cafe”, where potential writers or people with a story can meet the SLL news team in person. It is hoped that the cafe is a popular event that can run on a regular basis but the first two will be on the next two Thursdays at the Belle Isle Family Centre. You can also meet the team at Holbeck Christmas Gala, St Matthew’s Community Centre, on Saturday 3rd Dec.

Also on South Leeds Life is news on the new Holbeck Police HQ just off Elland Road. The plans for the new HQ need to be signed off by the Treasury, but it is hoped that the new facility will replace Millgarth and Burton Road stations, as well as provide holding cells.

Do you have a bit of spare time this weekend? The Friends of Bramley Baths need a bit of help inputting the data from their recent surveys. If you can spare some time and keyboard skills then please get in touch.

Leeds cultural phenomenon Bettakultcha is having a Christmas event and tickets are on sale already. Do you have a passion you could talk about for five minutes? Get in touch and see what’s what.

That’s it for today; if you’re free this evening you might want to pop down to Kirkgate Market where the Source are having a drinks and food special event, or to the Corn Exchange where Yelp are also having, erm, a drinks and food special event. Mark will be with us tomorrow, so in the meantime thanks for reading.

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