Leeds today: walking, crime, science, market, Elf, congestion and evictions.

Hello Wednesday. We hope you had fun last night and nobody got injured/too muddy/lost in a crowd of people all trying to get from a park to the closest boozer.

First off, a warning: if you’re off to the Culture Vultures conversation about walking tonight, the venue has moved from the Carriageworks to Belgrave Music Hall. Belgrave is ace, by the way (and has better beer than the Carriageworks). This promises to be an interesting event.

Remember we elected a Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire last year? Well, he wants your opinions on crime. We suspect that “Crime is bad, mmkay” is not a suitable response. There is a serious point here: over 2000 police staff could be lost as the gap between funding and required resource gets bigger, many of whom will probably be retiring front-line members of the force who don’t get replaced.

The Friends of Leeds Kirkgate Market are wondering at the lack of improvement progress. It’s an interesting thought – we’ve been reporting on proposed changes for a while and not seen anything significant happening. Little bits, sure, and they’re most welcome too, but for all the big plans talked about two years ago there seems to be a bit of a whimper, not a bang.

There’s an update on Council evictions and the cost of living in the city. Basically, means-based instalment plans are being applied on people behind on their rent by judges unwilling to add to the homeless totals; 6,000 tenants fell into arrears between April and the end of July, which (although correlation does not imply causation) could be related to the Bedroom Tax being introduced in April.

Oddly, the Leeds-Bradford conurbation has seen traffic congestion levels improve over the last 12 months. Is your commute getting easier? Let us know! We can guess why, of course – the roadworks on Kirkstall Road were still going on this time last year.

Here’s an early heads-up for the Leeds Yuletide Festival, 6-22 December in Victoria Gardens. Looks nice, and perhaps a decent antidote to the GCM. As we’re talking Christmas, Sneaky Ciné has announced their Christmas movie, at White Cloth Gallery: Elf.

Speaking of film, the Leeds International Film Festival starts today!

Wendy’s Things to See and Do is out, this week with town hall tours, Alan Bennett and a Christmas Adventure.

Otley Science Festival is under way, all this week. Particular highlights include a foodie scientist, a stand up comedian talking about robots and a natural history presenter. Worth going.

Finally today, if you like brass bands then you’ll love Rothwell Temperance Band performing at Morley Town Hall on Saturday, with a programme including Mozart, Debussy and Brevik.

Thanks for reading and we’ll see you Friday with another of Chris Nickson’s tales from the history of Leeds. Until then, cheerio!

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