Tag Archive: Chapel Allerton

Party in the house: Leeds housing boss plans to celebrate-30 years

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PROUD: Ali Akbor, chief executive of Unity Homes and Enterprise will be celebrating three decades in housing

PROUD: Ali Akbor, chief executive of Unity Homes and Enterprise will be celebrating three decades in housing

The chief executive of Leeds-based housing association has spoken of his pride on the organisation’s achievements and future plans as it prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary next year.

Unity Homes and Enterprise was set-up as a community housing association in 1987 to address the needs of black and minority ethnic communities in Leeds.

The initial focus was on Chapeltown, where it continues to have its headquarters. But over the years its activities have widened to other areas of the city including Harehills, Beeston, Holbeck and Chapel Allerton.

Its extensive work now includes supporting local entrepreneurial activity through Unity Enterprise, a subsidiary company, and helping local people to access jobs and training with assistance from Unity Employment Services.

“It is useful for organisations like us to step back from time to time to reflect on the journey we have made and our achievements,” said Ali Akbor, who will also be marking 18 years as the association’s chief executive in January.

“When I joined Unity, we managed fewer than 700 homes. We now have responsibility for more than 1,200 properties with advanced plans to increase that number by up to 200 before the end of the decade. This includes the official opening of 26 new properties in Leeds – at Hunslet and Little London – in the coming weeks.”

But Mr Akbor was keen to stress that working with partners, including Leeds City Council and the Homes and Communities Agency, to meet housing need was just one element of Unity’s drive to regenerate local communities.

“We are fiercely ambitious on behalf of the people and neighbourhoods we serve,” he explained.
“Economic, social and physical regeneration go hand in hand.

“Building high quality affordable homes is obviously fundamental to everything we do. But so too is being proactive in stimulating local business activity and helping our tenants into jobs.

“Unity Enterprise now provides 130 managed workspaces for around 80 local businesses in three centres close to Leeds city centre. And last year we helped 77 people to find work, 120 to access accredited skills training and 15 to gain work placements.”

Looking ahead to 2017, Mr Akbor said he believed the work of BME-led organisations was more ever now than for many years.

“I am immensely proud that our tenants now come from all communities and ethnic backgrounds, but we have not forgotten our roots,” he continued.

“As we look back over the three decades of Unity’s existence, we must acknowledge the advances this country has made on equality and diversity. We’ve been progressive in comparison with many other nations. But to maintain that lead, these issues must return to the top of the policy agenda where they haven’t been of late.

“The United Kingdom faces new challenges which have been exacerbated in the wake of the EU referendum. We’ve read headlines about a divided nation. We’ve witnessed an increase in anti-immigration views. Cohesion has been challenged in some areas including an increase in hate crime.

“Community housing associations like ours do make a difference, and we hope to make that difference for many years to come.”



Local eyesore to become supermarket

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THE PROPOSED SITE: The Aldi store will be built on land that has been derelict for many years in Chapel Allerton

THE PROPOSED SITE: The Aldi store will be built on land that has been derelict for many years in Chapel Allerton

A controversial planning application for a new supermarket in a Leeds suburb has been recommended for approval.

Aldi have submitted the plans for a 1,638sqm-store, off Harrogate Road, near the Yorkshire Bank, on an environmental eyesore which has been earmarked for development for many years.

Around 150 complaints have so far been received by Leeds City Council, although planners said a bug in their system meant the same person could make numerous objections therefore producing unreliable data.

Initial plans were put forward earlier this year by the supermarket chain with planners saying they were likely to be rejected unless the store was built towards the front of the site - facing onto Harrogate Road, with car parking at the rear.

However, after a site visit and presentation by the applicants, members of the Plans Panel agreed that positioning the store at the back would also be allowable.

The report to the meeting concluded: “The development of this site for a food based retail store is considered appropriate.”

Planning officers are advising that if the plans go ahead, an agreement for Aldi to pay around £60,000 towards the upkeep of the local area must be put in place, including managing the heavier traffic flow and to improve public transport to the area.


ISON HARRISON SOLICITORS: Leeds’ licensing specialists

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IanAnderson_SearchPic (300x450)Ison Harrison Solicitors have been a stalwart of the West Yorkshire legal scene for almost 40 years and in the last 10 years have expanded their operation significantly.

The firm now has 10 offices and employs over 200 staff including 65 solicitors. The firm specialise in a number of areas of law including conveyancing, family law, personal injury, driving offences, immigration, employment, criminal law and law for businesses but the spotlight has recently been thrown on their expertise in licensing law following a number of successful taxi licensing cases.

In the first case it was alleged that a private hire driver had been ‘plying for hire’ in Headingley, Leeds and had picked up a fare which had not been pre-booked. The firm’s lawyers argued that the driver accidentally collected the wrong person. The solicitor dealing with the case was able to show that a fare had been booked for the driver and present vital computer evidence showing that the driver had contacted his operator moments before he was pulled over by the police and explained that he may have picked up the wrong person.

The case against the driver was dropped as a result of the computer evidence and he received his licence back the following day.

In the second case, Ison Harrison solicitor advocate Ian Anderson persuaded Leeds City Council to return a driver’s licence after he pleaded guilty to an assault. In that case, a highly persuasive letter was all that was needed to convince the Council to change their decision and allow the driver to return to work.

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At Ison Harrison we understand how important a private hire or hackney carriage licence is to a driver and their family and we treat all our licensing cases as a priority. We are committed to achieving the best possible outcome for our clients in the shortest possible time frame.

Ison Harrison can provide confidential, friendly and clear advice for all types of licensing matters. Our specialist lawyers can be contacted on 0113 284 5062 or by email to react@isonharrison.co.uk. The firm can offer appointments at any of its branches in Leeds, Garforth, Cross Gates, Chapel Town, Chapel Allerton, Ilkley, Guiseley, Morley, Castleford or Pontefract.