Leeds today: Mandela, wind, housing, lapdancing, planes, sculpture, Wonderland, active, Questions, Scrooge and skins.

Hello Leeds! It’s Friday! Later on we’ve got the last Leeds Stories post from Chris, but in the meantime have some news.

Just in case you’ve not heard, Nelson Mandela died last night. RIP. Jeremy Morton gives his view on South of the River, and if you’re going to read one of the links on the subject, I’d heartily suggest this one. A lot of people on Twitter were mentioning hearing him speak when he came to Leeds in 2001. The Council has issued a statement and the YEP has an article too. Walking past Mandela Gardens this morning the editor spotted a bunch of roses had been left; one imagines that it won’t be by itself for long.

In case you were stuck in a basement all day, we were battered by high winds yesterday (video). The all-too-common sight of people desperately holding onto lamp-posts around Bridgewater Place has made it onto the front page of the Guardian website (see picture number 11). Fortunately the road was closed to traffic (not so fortunately resulting in terrible traffic jams at rush hour), this following the inquest into the death there in 2011; however, there will always be people who don’t know about it and try to walk that way, and it’s utterly petrifying. A real solution is needed, and pronto.

Our sympathies also go out to those affected by storm surges on the east coast and elsewhere last night. These are going to continue for the next 24 hours, apparently. Terrible.

The Chancellor gave his Autumn Statement yesterday, announcing “a billion pounds of loans to unblock large housing developments on sites in Manchester and Leeds and across the country”. That’s all that was said on the subject. I have no idea what this means, and nor does anyone else, it seems, as I can’t find an explanation in newspapers local or national. Do we have a significant blockage of housing developments? Perhaps it is linked to this viewpoint?

Bit of an odd one, this. The Council has refused to renew the licences of some of the city’s lapdancing clubs, owing to their locations near to buildings with “sensitive uses”. The Leeds Citizen was quick to announce it and the YEP followed.

I’m going to have an opinion now. Skip to the next paragraph if you wish. When my plans for world domination come to fruition, I’ll be banning lapdancing clubs outright… but I can’t help but suspect that there’s more to this. Those that will close are on The Headrow, where a rather important televised spectacle will take place next year. Admittedly (I had a look yesterday), the whole row of premises looks a bit seedy at the moment, with a betting shop, two lapdancing clubs and some tiny shops tucked away behind bus shelters, but what is going to move in instead? Shops are unlikely to thrive there, as it’s too far from the main retail area.

Anywho, that was all a bit deep for a Friday. What next?

A World War II plane, and a trip from the Mayor.

The Hepworth in Wakefield has welcomed its millionth visitor. Congratulations! They also had some Hepworth-inspired baking there from this year’s GBBO winner. Meanwhile, one of my favourite places, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, is getting a new exhibition in January.

An update on the future of the Bradford Odeon is available. Looks like community spirit is key here.

Instead of the Moroccan Market Briggate has sprouted a Winter Wonderland this morning (they tried to assemble it yesterday but were scuppered by the high winds). We told you about the market element of it last week, but now the Culture Vulture has the details of Opera North’s contribution. Leeds Inspired has a useful list of all the markets going on this Christmas.

Allotment holders are angry about price rises.

Can’t imagine it’ll be open before it’s really needed next year, but Leeds might be getting a third Hilton.

The Brownlee brothers will be opening the new Holt Park Active well-being centre on 9 December.

BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions? is to be recorded in Leeds next Friday, and tickets are available.

The Home Farm is going all Christmassy.

And if your Christmas just isn’t right without some Scrooge, quite apart from The Grand’s production (ends tomorrow), how about Acting Ebeneezer from the Theatre of the Dales (PDF), in the very suitable surroundings of The Leeds Library on Commercial Street? I’ve seen a few of their productions and they’re excellent.

A meeting is to be held to discuss if Leeds should bid to become the European Capital of Culture. You can reserve a place at the meeting here.

Finally, my own pet love, it’s Café Scientifique at Leeds City Museum this Sunday, from 11.30am. The subject is “Bird skin collections: not a freaky trophy but a valid scientific resource”.

Wow, what a lot of stuff! Anyway, have a great weekend, thanks for reading and we’ll see you Monday.

This article was amended slightly to reflect opinion.

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