Leeds today: webcasts, holidays, SHS, demolishing, “boring”, Lilac, landscape and ghosts.

Good Morning all! Things are quickly changing in Leeds with the sudden (miserably drastic) change in temperature and the return of the student populations well underway; the Hyde Park and Headingley areas are starting to look a bit more alive now!

Firstly, it should be announced that today is the day that democracy goes viral in Leeds! The City Council begins webcasting full council meetings from today! The live streaming will be available from 1.15pm today via www.leeds.gov.uk. All council meetings henceforth will be broadcast live on the day and then held in archive.

The end of the school holidays sees the enforcement of new rules regarding children taking term-time holidays, as a measure designed to boost attendance and attainment in the city’s schools. The new rules are accompanied by the threat of fining parents for unauthorized absences.

Also in local education news, three schools in Leeds will be given a total of £500,000 in extra support for pupils. The schools receiving additional funding are Ralph Thoresby School, Prince Henry’s Grammar School and Brudenell Primary. The money is aimed at improving facilities and opportunities for students.

Sexual health services in Leeds will be put out to tender in the aim of streamlining and improving provision. Current services, costing local authorities £6.6m per year and deal with 56,000 appointments, fail to meet local needs, leading to an increase in complaints about some departments.

The ongoing demolition and reconstruction of city centre buildings continues! This time attention is drawn to the landmark Yorkshire Post building, situated on Wellington Street. Johnston Press have notified Leeds City Council of their intention to demolish the building. The five storey building has over 20,000 sq metres of floorspace. We’re interested to know what will pop up in its place.

Oh, the power of twitter! There’s been uproar and embarrassment in equal measure after the editor of the BBC’s Newsnight described shadow Treasury chief secretary Rachel Reeves, a Leeds MP, as ‘boring’ in a comment on twitter. Newsnight’s Ian Katz sheepishly apologized in a written apology to Labour.

Utopian living comes to Leeds! Fed up with living in a ‘soulless’ community, Bramley residents have taken matters into their own hands and have created what they hope to be a little piece of paradise. This week sees the official opening of the UK’ s first mutual co-operatvie housing development, called the Lilac development, which has been made from straw bales and timber and has taken 5 years to realize.

Leeds University Union and A View from the Hill are joining forces to bring charities, individuals and businesses together. Charities in the North are finding it increasingly tough to make a difference, citing a lack of coherence between themselves, the Government, business and the causes who need them, as an issue limiting the impact that they can have. The new scheme is designed to overcome the lack of coherence between parties so that charities are able to perform better and provide their services as smoothly as possible.

In opinion, Leeds-list gives a look at the argument for why the plans for the HS2 railway link to must go ahead.

Leeds-list also argues that we should be happy that the students are back to take over the city, stating that- love them or hate them- one cannot deny that they have an important role to play in Leeds.

Feeling stuck for things to do? Luckily, your roundup of this week in culture can be found here! There’s also lots happening at the City Varieties, providing fun and entertaining for all generations. Take a look at a roundup of the best things to see.

If you feel like escaping the city centre, then there’s a lovely exhibition of Clare Wood’s work, as part of a season looking at landscape, at Harewood House. Thoroughly recommended!

Well, that’s about all for now! I leave you with this story of a Leeds shopkeeper who was stunned at a photograph taken of the shop front– with an unexpected character appearing in the shot. Make of it what you will!

‘Till Friday!

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