Leeds today: bus, Tetley, police, carers, party, cave, birthday, market, bake-off and arts funding.

Morning! It’s Friday, the end of another week and one more closer to the end of the year. Time is fleeting. But enough of that, let’s do some stuff.

Metro have published their bus and train timetables over Xmas and the New Year. Basically, don’t bank on getting a bus after 6pm on Xmas eve, and it looks like buses on boxing day are hilarious.

The Gruaniad reports on The Tetley reopening as an art gallery. I’m genuinely happy about this. I love the building and hope it does well.

It looks like (whether it’s true or not) Greg Mulholland is going to get told off for bringing the integrity of Otley town councillors into question. This is about proposals – supposedly meant to be kept secret – to close the police station. It turns out that there’s more to the issue, as you’d expect, including claims that Mr Mulholland is deliberately trying to undermine the council’s efforts to open up the town centre. This is going to run and run.

Apparently the government has ordered a review into the trolleybus scheme as it emerged up to 3,000 properties along the route could be affected. This is going to run and run…

Also in the YEP is a report on how full-time carers aren’t aware of benefits that they can claim, and in Leeds £11m annually is being missed out on by family members caring for loved ones. However, government policy is contradictory, leading to carers not claiming because they’ve been told their claims could be deducted from the caree’s allowances.

In happier news, Leeds is apparently the xmas party hotspot of the UK. Which might explain why it’s too damn busy everywhere and I can’t enjoy a quiet pint with a book any more.

The Ilkley Gazette reports on a new tourist attraction at Yeadon Tarn with the opening of a cave system with stalactites and stalagmites.

Affected by the wind on the way in this morning? The Halifax Courier (who are great at this) rounds up all the news on the M62 this morning.

Lovely to see that South Leeds Life is another year old! Well done, guys – here’s to many more birthdays.

The folks at Good For Leeds take a close look at the shopping available at Leeds Kirkgate Market, and despite the rumblings about the Moroccan street market not happening and all that malarkey they’re right, Kirkgate is brilliant.

If you’re free tomorrow please do have a go at the Great Leeds Festive Bake-Off at the Arch Cafe, with the opportunity to win fabulous prizes, or failing that just to eat some amazing cakes.

A bit of a heads-up for a long time in the future, to end with. There’s going to be a debate in February over the tricky needle that is arts funding in the city. There’s been a bit of this going round, especially after Alan Lane of Slung Low wrote about how their theatre company does money (well worth reading).

And that’s it for this week! We’ll see you on Monday – have a great weekend, all. And thanks, as always, for reading.

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Leeds today: food, sobbing, Narnia, festivals, markets, healthcare, newspapers, burning, Owl and archives.

Hello and welcome to Wednesday! Sorry we missed Monday – a mix of recovering from Thought Bubble and dayjob stopped things going the way we wanted it to. Never mind, let’s do some news!

Today is Open Archives day as the WYAS in Morley open their doors for a behind-the-scenes look at what they do there. It’s pretty cool and well worth popping in if you’re in Morley and have a spare hour.

Protests have been made over the closure of a Chapeltown GP surgery. The surgery has been closed by NHS England and is currently being staffed by locum doctors – although on at least one occasion they didn’t show up – for certain breaches in the contract. However, after local residents were signed up with different GPs a petition was drawn up which urges NHS England to reconsider.

After an awfully long time, most of which was spent being the butt of jokes, Bradford’s shopping centre build starts up again. The Westfield (or Broadway, depending on who you read) shopping centre was halted in 2008 and the resulting hole in the ground subsequently became known as “the swimming pool” for its tendency to flood during heavy rains.

LCC is giving young film-makers an opportunity to demonstrate their skills in front of David Dimbleby in this year’s Golden Owl awards. The awards, which are in their third year, are for people aged 3-19 who have made a short film since January this year. More details are on Breeze’s website.

The Grand Arcade’s Save the Grand Clock campaign has announced that there’s only one week until it chimes. The clock last chimed over 20 years ago.

The People’s Millions voting finishes tonight at midnight, and Better Leeds Communities would like your vote for their “Up Our Street” campaign to get kids playing more. (The explanation isn’t very clear on the website, but you’re voting in The People’s Millions – a joint Lottery/ITV fund – for projects to get up to £50k of funding; BLC is after one of those pots of money.)

Business Week has a comparison of the Christmas markets in Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham. Perhaps they don’t do as well here because we’re more immune to buying similar things found in Aldi at a much more sensible price? Or maybe it is that Leeds isn’t as ambitious as the other cities – Manchester happily closes off city centre streets for weeks to fit their markets in, something you can’t quite imagine Leeds doing.

Speaking of Christmas (and we try not to before 1 December, but we’re nearly there), Culture Vulture has very indie Christmas gift ideas, many of which are brilliantly inventive and do a lot of tie-ins to Leeds bloggers, creators, twitterati, shops and charities.

Tonight at 5:30 the Henry Moore Institute will be setting off a fireworks sculpture outside in Victoria Gardens. This is part of the Stephen Cripps exhibition that they have on at the moment which does look really good.

We LOVE this: sale of The Sun newspaper has been banned from the University of Leeds Student Union. Reasonably sure that nobody bought it anyway, but like the residents of Liverpool, LUU is taking a stand. And good for them (they’ve also boycotted Nestle products for many, many years).

The Leeds Citizen looks at the trouble at Healthwatch Leeds and KPMG being called in to sort out Leeds’ hospitals’ finances. (Which always sounds like a scam to me. Auditors find a problem, who are then employed to fix it? If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…)

There’s a Winter Festival at Skelton Grange on Friday 13th December. Looks like fun!

The City Talking’s weekly guide to See and Do has been published.

The Narnia Experience is up and running and – we understand – has sold out its entire run. This is incredible news and well done to all involved.

The Christmas movie screenings start at the Town Hall on 9 December (PDF), with It’s a Wonderful Life on 10 December. I’ll be the one sobbing helplessly at the back…

Finally today, tickets have been made available for a dinner by Food&_ and Lord Whitney on Sunday. Looks tasty and interesting!

Thanks for reading and we’ll see you on Friday! Cheerio!

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Leeds today: panto, trains, dancing, markets, film, TEDWomen, Cad Beeston, co-op and LIFF.

It’s Friday! Now you see me…

Gosh, there is so much to tell you today, and South of the River, Jeremy feels the same way. He opts to discuss events at the Co-op Bank.

The Leeds International Film Festival held its closing gala last night. It’s all over for another year. The Rocket won the audience award, and the top 20 will be revealed soon, apparently. We are so lucky to have this quality of festival in Leeds, so three cheers for the organisers: hip hip…

Not directly about Leeds, but an interesting article in Guardian Northerner about the cost of living and the deranged viewpoint of the Tory Party… oh, wait, according to the cult of celebrity we’re not supposed to get political, right? Then let’s take a moment to recognise ‘the “heroic contribution” of the super-rich’.

An interesting (and unusual?) development in running the trains has emerged. We quite like this: LCC could take partial control over Northern and Trans-Pennine rail franchises over a deal being hammered out in Whitehall as we speak.

Good news for the city courtesy of two united universities who successfully won an annual training event for 3,000 newly graduated teachers to begin next year. Teachers drink like fishes, so the city’s bars will certainly be happy.

Cad Beeston is up for auction. Does anyone have around £175,000 to save it from the developers? Certainly the Friends of Stank Hall Barn are concerned about its future. Cad Beeston has been in private hands for years (in fact, it wasn’t really discovered until 1985 when someone took down a wall to find timbering) and has never been accessible to the public, but it would be a real shame to lose the oldest building in Leeds, no matter how much of it is actually left.

More on the lap-dance clubs, from the Leeds Citizen. This time it’s about judicial reviews and making compromises. This is going to rumble on and on…

The farmer’s market is to be on Briggate every Sunday in December, although we got this info via Twitter because it’s hidden on a different page to the one linked.

There’s also a craft market on Albion Place, too!

TEDWomen is on at The Tetley (which opens a week today) on Thursday 5 December. This is a fantastic thing which needs to be encouraged; TED is always entertaining and interesting, but can be quite male-heavy.

Sneaky Ciné is putting on Die Hard, Sunday 15 December, at Outlaws Yacht Club. Probably not one for the kiddies (although I was pretty much raised on this film, and it’s done me no harm).

A new exhibition opened yesterday at the Henry Moore Institute: Dennis Oppenheim – Thought Collision Factories. We’ve been looking forwards to this one for a while now.

It’s Panto time! (Oh no it isn’t, etc.) This year sees Jack and the Beanstalk cheering up families at the Grand.

Now, I know I’ve forgotten something… what is it? Ah, yes, the Thought Bubble Convention this weekend!

Finally, it’s the last Penny University of the year on Sunday, at Brewbar from 1:30!

… now you don’t. *vanishes in puff of green smoke*

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Leeds today: kitchen, santa, baking, poster, Thought Bubble, lap dancing, trains, parks and Hull!

Morning! It’s *lovely* out there. Perfect walking weather.

First of all, many congrats to Hull, which has been named the next UK City of Culture! This is brilliant for the city and its residents and we hope that the inevitable sour grapes provided by Londonistas are swamped by warm wishes towards our neighbours at the other end of the M62. We look forwards to seeing what they do with it.

The Guardian reports on a North-South divide in parks funding.

The spending data compiled by Policy Exchange showed that between 2010-11 and 2012-13 over £75m, or 13%, of funds for open spaces had been cut. The north-east region suffered the greatest cut of almost 40%, while the south-east cut just 3.4% of its money for green spaces.

Is this really as astonishingly unfair as it sounds? It could be a matter of how local authorities are funded, I suppose, but really, what the hell?

LCC has issued ‘demands’ on HS2, says the YEP. These demands include the line to be built from the North to the Midlands instead of the other way around, in order to provide much needed jobs up here sooner. This plan is to unify the regional councils who – Leeds aside – have been pretty lukewarm about HS2.

The Leeds Citizen notes that D-Day for lapdance clubs is looming. There’s an opinion going ’round that some would rather the clubs weren’t there in the background during filming of the opening to the Tour next year. Now, this may be a happy coincidence – I think the lapdancing thing has been going on a bit longer than the TdF/Leeds announcement – but if any clubs are to be shut you’d bet on the ones nearest the Town Hall going first.

We mentioned the coup of South Leeds Life getting Hilary Benn MP to write for them; part 2 of his first post for South Leeds Life has been posted. “We get out what we put in”, not just in politics but in life.

This weeks Things to see and do is up, but it looks like Wendy isn’t doing it any more! Stacey is now. Anyway. Particular highlights are Thought Bubble (on all week) which ends with the largest comics convention in the North on Saturday. Look carefully and you may see a BGL editor in a red shirt…

There’s a vintage film poster exhibition at White Cloth Gallery, which looks brilliant.

The Santa Special at Middleton Railway is back on! This is huge fun for kids of all ages (especially those who like their steam trains).

Don’t forget about the Age UK Leeds Festive Bake-off next weekend – if you feel like baking up a storm of panettone, stollen or mince pies then this is the place to show them off! Look carefully and you may see a BGL editor as one of the tasting panel…

Finally today, the new street food wagons have gone into Trinity Kitchen, and although there’s not much info about them on the website there’s been a bit of a buzz on Twitter about it all. As per, if you can stand the queues it’ll be worth trying.

Ok, we’re done. See you on Friday, and thanks for reading!

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Leeds today: school, homes, police, jobs, Lumiere, meds, curry, cats, pile, cycling and records.

Hello all! Leeds has woken up to yet another gloomy Monday morning, and I’ve been hearing reports that this trend is set to worsen and last for a good few months to come.  So, I’ll try my best to brighten your day with some news of what’s happening in and around the city.

Plans for a brand new primary school to be built on a former waste incinerator site in the inner city have been given the green light. The site has been approved as being totally safe to build on. The primary school is being constructed after Leeds Council heard that there was an urgent need for a new school in the areas of Harehills, where the birth rate continues to grow.

In other construction news, there will be no new homes built along one of Horsforth’s oldest roads after the plans were rejected by Leeds City Council. Campaigners who protested against the proposed plans are celebrating after a planning inspector ruled that the plans would disrupt the character and appearance of the conservation area at the site.

It has been revealed that West Yorkshire Police officers were to blame for 400 road crashes last year, which cost £240,000 in repairs to police vehicles. These figures are actually an improvement on previous figures; in 2009/10, 670 accidents occurred for which the police were to blame.

More than 1,000 jobs for young people are to be created in Leeds in a bid to tackle unemployment in the area. A cash injection of £4.6m will hopefully be an important step towards boosting the region’s economic recovery.

New plans for the failed Lumiere building project in Leeds have been announced. The previous plans for the site, which included the creation of one of Europe’s tallest residential buildings, were halted in 2008. Now, an 11-storey office block, accommodating 2,500 workers, is planned. The building will include a sky garden, restaurant, bars and a gym.

It has been reported that worrying numbers of patients are disregarding important information about the medication that they consume. People frequently take medication without having read the information leaflet provided alongside it. We’re warned that the implications of not reading medicine information can be severe.

Leeds is spoilt for curry houses, so perhaps it’s not surprising that two Leeds-based curry restaurants have been short-listed for the British Curry Awards 2013, nicknamed the ‘Curry Oscars’. Aagrah restaurant, in Quarry Hill, and Mango Vegetarian, in Wetherby, have both been nominated. Food for thought?

I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry: a luxury cat hotel is to open near Leeds. Inclusive in the package are plasma screen TVs, showing virtual fish tanks and bird scenes, outdoor balconies, and an a la carte menu. Each has been designed to keep the cats well entertained whilst fretting owners are updated with their “progress” through emails and postcards.

Following on from a debate at The Culture Vulture about dividing lines of wealth and power in Leeds, South Leeds Life chips in, arguing that South Leeds is “the bottom of the pile”. The argument put very briefly is that the city’s decision makers almost all live north of the city centre, and as a result the south is largely neglected.

A particular source of anger and frustration in my life at this point in time is the impending introduction of parking charges on evenings and weekends; therefore I take every opportunity to supply critical articles on the topic. Nevertheless, I would be failing in my duty to provide two sides to the story if I refrained from mentioning articles that seem to support the idea. Leeds-list defends the charges as acting as a “deterrent for the greater good”…I’m yet to be convinced.

Leeds Cycling Campaign does pretty much what it says on the tin: campaigns for a better cycling experience in Leeds. Leeds-list talks to the chair of the campaign to ask a few questions about what they’re trying to achieve and why.

If you, like me, are finding yourself struggling for new things to do as the days get shorter and colder, then Leeds-list offers some suggestions for activities just outside of Leeds.

If you’re a music lover or you know someone who is, then make sure to head down to the Corn Exchange this weekend for the record fair. I’ll definitely be there!

Finally, with Christmas and New Year fast approaching, you might want to consider avoiding the consumer hell-holes of high street stores and instead opting to go independent when buying Christmas gifts. Leeds-list gives us a helpful roundup of the best independent shops in the city. We’re also given a guide to where the best places are to spend New Year’s Eve, for those who are filled with dread at the prospect of having to organize something for New Year’s.

That’s about all for now, folks! Have a great beginning-of-week. ‘Till Wednesday!

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Leeds today: lions, skeptics, atlas, Rembrandt, SPOTY, vintage, Dash, baking, flags, Benn,

Hello and welcome to FRIDAY! Let’s talk about some fun things.

The End is Nigh. York, 22 February 2014, apparently.

Which does mean that you’ll have a bit of time to spot a Narnian lion roaming the streets of Leeds over the next few weeks as the Narnia Experience gets underway at Left Bank. The team say:

A dedicated team of volunteers have been constructing the two man lion puppet that will be operated by the specially trained puppeteers. Taking inspiration from a huge variety of sources including the designers of the War horse puppet every inch of this amazing beast has been especially made to bring Aslan to life for The Narnia Experience. Including a specially written score by Ben McAvoy and WMP Studios the production is set to thrill, scare and amaze audiences for two weeks this winter.

We’re really looking forwards to this. Also – and we love this idea too – you can sponsor a tree for the show and get to take it home when the show is over. What a great idea!

Lies, damn lies and statistics: A Skeptical Look at Statistics is the theme of the Leeds Skeptics’ next meeting, on Wednesday 20 November, 7pm at a different venue this month, the Hedley Verity on Woodhouse Lane. Last month’s, with Simon Singh at the Vic was very popular so let’s see how the new venue goes down. Meanwhile, ‘Fracking and the Future of Energy‘ is the topic of The Leeds Salon, Monday 25 November at 6.45pm, in the Millennium Room at the Carriageworks.

The headline gave me hopes of a return for the restaurant, but alas, no. Still, another empty venue being filled: the former Create is to be a pub/bar, The Atlas (taking its name from the decoration above the door). Next time you’re down there have a look at the statuary around the first floor. It’s worth paying attention.

Very excited about this: some Rembrandt prints are to go on show at Temple Newsam. There will be two parts to the exhibition, one running from the 19th up to the end of March, and one from Easter to the summer.

With BBC Sports Personality of the Year coming to the Arena next month, the Council is calling for volunteer city ambassadors to give a welcome and show people how to get to the arena, and then help them get home again afterwards. SPOTY is on Dec 15th but you need to get your applications in quick.

The Leeds Vintage Kilo Sale is at Arts@Trinity Leeds on this Saturday 16 November, from 10am to 4pm. Bit of a novel idea, this. The idea is that you pick up what you like, get it weighed and then pay based on how heavy it all is. You could get a lot of lacework for not much, but one heavy winter coat or pair of DMs and all that hard work is out of the window. Speaking of Vintage, 1 December is Leeds Affordable Vintage Christmas Market, at the Corn Exchange

It’s the Abbey Dash on Sunday, and all places now taken. Remember, if you’re driving around Leeds on Sunday it’ll be chaos, so show up on the bus if you’re taking part, spectating or supporting. Also, for one day only the Arch Cafe will be open for bacon butties and the like (and if you like the Arch Cafe and the work they do, don’t forget their Leeds Festive Bakeoff on Nov 30th – check the link for more details, but you could win a new Kenwood).

The Tetley launch gets nearer and nearer, and now the flags are out. We’re really excited about this.

Leeds-List has an embarrassment of riches today, with indie shopping suggestions, a positive look at the past year, and then New Year events, finishing off with ten beers to try before you die.

Finally today, MP Hilary Benn is to write a monthly piece on South Leeds Life, of which here’s the first in which he talks about the bedroom tax. (A bit of a coup, this; well done, SLL!) And in the usual Friday way, we go South of the River. This week, the ‘doughnut of despair’.

Have a lovely weekend, all – and thanks for reading!

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Leeds today: thanks, parking, shopping, southbank, kirkgate, firefighters, NHS, bins, authority and things to do.


Before we get stuck into today’s news, we’d just like to say thank you all for the lovely comments made by people on here, via email and twitter, and in person(!) about the closure announcement we made on Monday. We are still on the lookout for a replacement editor, so if you think you can do this then please get in touch. In the meantime we’re still here until Dec 20th.

With the continuing debate on parking charges and how this might affect trading in the centre, the White Rose shopping centre announces it is fully let for first time since recession hit. Trinity isn’t far behind, apparently, and Hammerson have a similarly positive tale to tell. Shame it’s all based on us shopping, shopping, shopping. It’s worth reading the comments on the CV article, too – if you’re interested in complex systems and chaos theory it is a really good humanising example of how different variables can produce wildly unpredictable effects, regardless of what you predict the outcome to be.

Leeds Citizen has been busy, with reports on the ‘South Bank’ and Kirkgate Market. The Kirkgate Market thing is interesting; FOLKM had a piece in the YEP last week about how things didn’t seem to be moving with the development work, so either the timing is coincidental or someone knew this was coming. LC have said that work has been going on behind the scenes, and that it’s a “complex issue”.

South Leeds Life are also discussing the city centre south development. Included are interesting plans:

David Lumb […] said LSDG is currently working on plans to improve what he calls the ‘Hunslet Stray’. The Stray would provide a safe, direct route across the city for pedestrians and cyclists all the way south from Leeds Bridge to Leeds City College’s new Printworks campus.

Speaking as someone who won’t cycle to work any more because of the ridiculous routes required to get into the city centre from the South by bike, this does look like it might be worthwhile. But the conversations and actions required need to happen sooner rather than later.

HS2 is also to be debated today, and the Citizen asks who is speaking for those who say ‘no’? It doesn’t seem to be many.

The firefighters are striking today between 10am and 2pm, so take extra care. Thankfully fireworks season is pretty much over.

The NHS is facing a funding shortfall because of bloody stupidity or callous negligence (take your pick) on behalf of those who claim to lead us but are doing a disgraceful job of it. Ahem. Anyway, the NHS is asking the public to make their voices heard in a national debate on where the NHS could make £30Bn of savings. The local chapter of this survey is NHS Call to Action Leeds: Join the debate.

I think we’ve mentioned this before, but just in case we haven’t, the Council are increasing recycling collections. You can check your bin day pretty easily these days, which is helpful if you forget that the green bins are collected on Wednesdays and the black bins are collected on Fridays. As for brown bins? (Strange but true: the street next to us has brown bins. We don’t, even though the collections are made from the same, shared backstreet.)

The first meeting of the proposed West Yorkshire Combined Authority has been announced. The group – which will have a focus on managing £1.5 billion investment in West Yorkshire’s transport and economic infrastructure – has no formal powers as yet but will do soon, as this overview body is made up of the five local council leaders as well as shadow leaders and the head of the LEP. The idea is that infrastructure decisions are made locally, not in Westminster.

The Leeds Arena has been nominated for an international award.

With the Leeds International Film Festival continuing, one might have thought we’d have enough to do, but no. Wendy manages to put together a further list in her weekly Things to See and Do, particularly noting Thought Bubble and the Abbey Dash this coming weekend (best of luck to those running the latter)

Finally today, there’s also a charity Christmas Fair in Roundhay on Saturday. ‘Tis the season, and all that.

Ok, we’re done for today. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you all on Friday! Cheerio!

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BGL will be closing on Dec 20th. Sorry.

Hello, readers.

It’s with a bit of a sad face that I am announcing the closure of BGL on Dec 20th, 2013. It’s been a great two-and-a-half years but the work involved in keeping BGL running and innovative and useful and fun is getting to be too much, and not enough fun to keep this place going.

So unless someone feels able and willing to take on BGL (see below) then we’re shutting up shop, saying sayonara, leaving the building, doing a runner, kicking it, calling it a day, throwing in the towel, folding, calling for a taxi, looking for the coat check stub, shouting ‘last orders’ and pulling down the blinds on what was a very useful and moderately successful measure put in place to fill a gap, temporarily, when the Guardian Leeds project was canned back in May 2011. We were only supposed to be doing this for a little bit, while other projects were picked up and taken more seriously than this one,  and yet here we are.

We’ve had fun, worked with some amazing people (some of whom I’m still astonished were happy to throw their lot in with us for a little while), caused debate, sparked arguments, made a few people rethink what the scores were with blogging (although, perhaps, not enough), and done a good job of what we set out to do: give a wider audience links to local news that wasn’t being covered by the mainstream media.

That’s all we wanted to do; look at the smaller stories that deserved more than 40 words in a newspaper read by fifteen people on its way to lining the budgie’s cage. We’ve tried to entertain, to educate and to extend the realm of local blogging in Leeds. I like to think we did that. I certainly hope we did. We covered events, too; we’ve worked with a few people over the years who have been very generous and let us into events for free (or not very much), and we thank them for that.

We aren’t vanishing right now, though. We’ve got a consistent and regular schedule right up to Dec 20th (thanks mostly to the incredible writers and researchers we’ve got at the moment) and we’re still accepting stories and news and events and anything you’d like to see publicised just that little bit more.

If you think you’d like to run BGL in future – be the face, the keeper of the passwords, the email manger, the one who coughs up occasionally to let people go to certain things, the C-in-C, the last line, the one who is ultimately responsible – then please get in touch. Be aware that I have quite strict requirements for my replacement, and that it is a surprising amount of work; I’m not just going to hand over the reins to anybody.

In the meantime, please enjoy the last six weeks of BGL. If you’ve got any fond memories of the place, if you heard of a story or gig in our pages that changed your life, then we’d love to hear from you! And if you’ve ever written for us or sent us stories in the past then please accept our heartfelt thanks for keeping the good ship BGL afloat over these years. If you’ve ever read this blog – which of course you have – then thank you too; we’ve only ever done this as a service and if we’ve been of service to you then our job has been a success.

Cheers, all.


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Leeds today: parking, report, 0844, trains, post, lunch, voting, Cornex, lights and xmas.

Hello all! I hope you all had a relaxing weekend and managed to make the most of the cold but very sunny weather yesterday. And it’s back to work…

As ever, Leeds residents are busy fighting various different battles. The City Council is coming under mounting pressure to scrap the proposed Sunday and evening parking fees plan. Almost 650 people have now signed the online petition against the move. The protest is being led by independent businesses in Leeds who are concerned about the impact of Sunday and evening parking fees on trade.

Campaigners have united against ‘bedroom tax’ that was implemented in April of this year. The group of protestors handed a report to the United Nations in a bid to highlight the negative impact of the tax on homeowners. The spare room subsidy penalises council house and housing association tenants if deemed to have a ‘spare’ bedroom.

There has been anger over hospitals’ use of controversial 0844 telephone numbers to raise revenue. Patients ran up high telephone bills after calling the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust. David Hickson, of the Fair Telecoms campaign, said that the charging of patients for access to NHS services by GPs and hospitals was against NHS principles and that it should be stopped “immediately”.

Council chiefs have said that they will do whatever it takes to help Leeds residents who are affected by the proposed HS2 rail link through the city, but said that their hands were tied and that the plans for the rail link would proceed.

Postal services are to resume on a west Leeds estate after deliveries to 162 addresses were put on hold for the past month, due to a postman being attacked by a dog on the estate. Residents who were affected had to trek more than a mile to a depot in Bramley to collect their mail.

With one in six couples enduring problems with fertility, a new support group has been set up in Leeds to help couples affected by fertility issues. The group aims to offer emotional support, physical healing and practical advice and information.

The City Council is asking all school in the city to get involved in a competition which invited children to design their own healthy and fun school lunch, which could see one of the pupil’s meal plans be included on the menu for all schools catered for by Catering Leeds.

Leeds-list brings an insight into the ongoing battle of Motorist vs Cyslist, shining light on why so much bad blood runs between the two opposing sides.

Unrelated to Leeds but worth a read given the lively debate that has sprung up after Russell Brand appeared against Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight, this article debates the motion: Russell Brand: Idiot or Pioneer? We’re presented with the arguments for and against.

With the recent closure of Anthony’s Piazza and Rib Shakk on the bottom floor of the Corn Exchange, attention turned to what might by in the pipeline. Leeds-list investigates the issue.

The Culture Vulture gives its two cents on how to make Leeds a more “walkable city”. It presents various schemes and ideas for improvements to encourage more people to take to their feet.

And so the bombardment of reminders that Christmas is around the corner commences. Window displays come alive with Christmas lights and jazzy festive decorations once again. If you’re starting to dread the momentous task of preparing Christmas dinner for all the family, then perhaps you should consider the easier, stress-free option of dining out. But where is this possible? Here’s a round up of some eateries in Leeds preparing to serve up Christmas dinner.

We’re also treated to a round-up of all the best place to go in Leeds if you’re keen on great customer service.

I’ve saved the best ‘till last. Finally, the German Market has returned to Leeds, looking and tasting as glorious as ever. Hurrah! If you haven’t already paid it a visit, then you absolutely must.

That’s about it for now, folks. I leave you with a suitably festive video of the Christmas lights switch on for those who missed it.

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The Monthly @Chrisnickson2: the mean streets of Leeds.

Pitfall Street, Leeds [xx0509]

Pitfall St by Daniel Weir (danielweiresq) on Flickr (CC-NC)

You’ve wandered around them and used their names without a thought, I’m sure. Everyone has. The streets of Leeds, I mean. But there’s a tale – often just a short one – behind almost every street name, and it’s no exception here. Take Kirkgate and Briggate, for instance, the two oldest streets in Leeds. The first thing to know is that ‘gate’ comes from the Norse (after all, we’re Viking stock here!) and means ‘way’ or ‘street.’ Kirkgate – way to the kirk or church. Biggate – way to the bridge. Simple, really.

But not always perfect. Swinegate doesn’t mean way of the pigs (with that and Boar Lane, you could be forgiven for thinking we can a porcine history). The ‘swine’ in Swinegate derives (according to Dr. David Thornton) from the word swein, meaning someone who lives in the country, while ‘Boar’ comes from borough.

The Headrow, which was for many centuries Head Row, marked the northern limit of Leeds as it once was, with the area beyond, with St. John’s Church, the original Grammar School, etc., known as Town End when development began there in the early 18th century. Much later, John Harrison, one of the great benefactors of Leeds, would be commemorated in the area by Harrison Street.

Basinghall Street was once called Butts Lane, in memory of the law that all men had to practice archery (that is, using the butts, or targets) each Sunday. Nowadays, all that’s left in the snigger-making Butts Court. Lady Lane, on a more spiritual note, was home to the Chapel of Our Lady. For many years, Leeds Workhouse stood there, too, at the corner with Vicar Lane.

Mill Hill, unsurprisingly, held the King’s Mill, where those in the manor Leeds had to have their corn ground for bread (Leeds was confusingly made up of two manors, but that’s another story). Later, someone else went into competition by building a mill at Sheepscar Beck. And like all mills, it needed a garth – a feeder off the river. So Millgarth came into being, remember by Millgrath Street.

Even the names of areas reek of history around here. Burmantofts, for example. A toft was a farming area, so this was the space set aside where men of the borough would farm. Makes sense now, right?

What about Mabgate? Well, mab was the word used for prostitute, so you can figure that one out for yourself, Leeds’ own early version of the Reeperbahn. Interesting stuff, this history, isn’t it?

Of course, there’s one Leeds street name that’s defied rational explanation. The Calls. It’s the odd one out. It even sounds wrong for Leeds. Going way, way, back it was nothing more than a path down by the Aire. The river would have been on one side, gardens of the big houses on Kirkgate and tenter fields (for drying and tautening the weave of cloth) on the other. The closest anyone’s come to an explanation is the Latin word callis, although this seems very unlikely (that said, there was a Roman ford at the river, and possibly some small Roman settlement but it’s doubtful that the name would have stuck for so long). But as no one’s come up with anything better, it’ll do for now.

So when you’re walking around the city centre (or even out in the ‘burbs – ask me about Penda’s Way sometime), take a look at the street signs and have a think.

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