Posts Tagged ‘leeds city council’

Standing for election

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 | Religion & Politics

I wanted to document some of the challenges I had had registering myself as a candidate. It’s not impossible, but if you haven’t done it before, there are definitely some things you need to be aware of.

You do not have much time between the election starting and getting your forms in. Leeds City Council opened submissions on 1 April and closed them on the 9th. However, this was over the Easter weekend, so you actually only had 5 working days to submit them.

I downloaded the forms from their website and then went to the town hall to hand them in. The man on the front desk said I could give them to him and he would pass them on. However, the next day the elections office phoned me back saying that I had filled out the wrong forms and I had to submit them in person.

This was on the 2nd, and on the 3rd they closed for Easter, so I had to go down on the 7th and get the forms back and make an appointment for the 8th to submit them. This left me only the evening on the 8th to get them all filled out.

This is all doable, though it is very difficult if you have a job. They are only open 10am to 4pm and because they are busy during elections, you have to go down and speak to them if you want a response. When I tried to phone them back on the number they had called me on I got an automated message saying that the number was Leeds City Council, but you had to phone the “published number” and then hung up on me. The problem is they do not publish any numbers. I had to go onto their live chat to get their number, and then the number said it was going to be over 20 minutes before they answered it.

Again, none of this is impossible. However, it is difficult if you have a job. I am quite lucky that I work in Leeds and my current client is fairly flexible. However, there is clearly a lot more that could be done to make the democratic process open to ordinary working class people.


A market for markets?

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 | Thoughts

It’s hard to ignore the fact that Kirkgate Market, Europe’s largest indoor market, is empty. In it’s lower halls, up to 30% of the stalls are vacant; it’s like a ghost town in there sometimes.

So, Leeds City Council have put some money into trying to work out how to fix it. And indeed, they staged a big public consultation, where everyone was invited to come down and find out what their research had done.

Turning up to it, I walked into a room with one hundred chairs laid out – and one other person there. I was a little late, and nobody else turned up behind me. Apparently, there are only two members of the public that are interested in the future of Kirkgate Market.

They have also set up an information centre where you can pop in to. So, I did that today, asking for basic information like what the footfall levels are and what research they have done on shopper profiles. They didn’t have any. So much for bringing more traders in with a helpful information centre.

I did get one useful piece of advice though – looking at one of the vacant stalls, a trader overheard our conversation and proceeded to talk to us at length about the amount of traders closing down and trying to get out.

Things are looking bleak indeed for the market.