YEP Leeds 2016: Flats boom, chef’s delight and the Tour de Yorkshire

Josh Warrington in action against Japans Hisashi Amagasa. Picture: Simon Cooper/PA Wire.
Josh Warrington in action against Japans Hisashi Amagasa. Picture: Simon Cooper/PA Wire.

Your YEP takes a look back at what was making the news in March and April 2016.

MARCH

Michelin star chef Michael OHare at the YEPs Oliver Awards. Picture: Simon Hulme

Michelin star chef Michael OHare at the YEPs Oliver Awards. Picture: Simon Hulme

* A masterplan was revealed for wide-ranging improvements to Leeds Bradford Airport, including a new commercial hub and the construction of a hotel close to an expanded terminal building.

Airport chief executive John Parkin said that the proposals were designed to maximise the economic benefits of the site’s status as “the international gateway to Yorkshire”.

* The Yorkshire Evening Post told the touching story of nine-year-old Nathan Andrew, who agreed to participate in a clinical trial after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

* Nathan’s mum, Frances, who is originally from Leeds, said: “He had no hesitation in taking part in the trial, saying that even though it may be of no benefit to him it may help others in the future.”

Neve Gibson, six, from St Patrick's School in Leeds, pictured on the parade. Picture: Simon Hulme.

Neve Gibson, six, from St Patrick's School in Leeds, pictured on the parade. Picture: Simon Hulme.

* The centre of Leeds was transformed into a little corner of Ireland as the city proudly hosted its St Patrick’s Day parade.

Large crowds lined the streets to watch the parade, which included Irish dancers, a piping band and several brightly-decorated floats.

* A property expert predicted that the number of flats in Leeds city centre could rise from 11,000 to 20,000 by 2023.

Graham Bates, chief executive at residential management firm LIV, said he expected to see a series of new high-end rental blocks offering everything from cinemas to rooftop sports courts.

Lizzie Deignan on the start line in Otley for the Womens Tour de Yorkshire race.  Picture Tony Johnson

Lizzie Deignan on the start line in Otley for the Womens Tour de Yorkshire race. Picture Tony Johnson

* The YEP’s annual Oliver Awards once again toasted the very best that the local dining scene has to offer.

Award winners included Michael O’Hare, whose Man Behind The Curtain restaurant had recently earned Leeds its first Michelin star in more than 10 years.

* Susan Bradley, 59, from Middleton, Leeds, was celebrating after scooping nearly £100,000 with a National Lottery lucky dip ticket.

Susan, a grandmother, bought the ticket on impulse after going to the Nisa store on Thorpe Street in Middleton to get some cigarettes. She said: “My family is my everything and I will be ensuring they are all okay and well looked after.”

Passenger Ben Innes, right, is pictured with the hijacker of a Cairo-bound flight.

Passenger Ben Innes, right, is pictured with the hijacker of a Cairo-bound flight.

* A minute’s silence was held for Leeds Rhinos stalwart Billy Watts at the club’s derby match against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at Headingley Carnegie.

Billy died aged 92, just five months after retiring. He had filled various roles at Leeds, including official timekeeper and fundraiser.

* A Leeds man became the focus of world attention when he nonchalantly posed for a selfie-style picture with a plane hijacker. Ben Innes, 26, was among passengers held hostage after a man thought to be wearing a suicide belt hijacked the Cairo-bound plane and forced it to divert to Cyprus.

APRIL

* Fashion giant Next announced it had signed up as an occupier at a new retail park planned for Thorpe Park in east Leeds.

A spokesman for the firm said it had been attracted by the site’s “dense population catchment and position on the strategic road network”.

* A Leeds family had a lucky escape after a lightning bolt struck their home in Garforth and started a fire.

Andy and Michelle Robinson, who managed to flee from the house with their two young daughters and pet dog, praised the bravery of firefighters who turned out to deal with the blaze.

* Tributes were paid following the death of Denise Atkinson, a former councillor who represented Bramley in Leeds for four decades.

One of her proudest achievements was the vital fundraising work she spearheaded for Lineham Farm Children’s Centre in Eccup. She also served as chair of Leeds Bradford Airport.

* Lucy Ward won a claim for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination following her sacking as welfare and education officer at Leeds United’s Thorp Arch academy.

Ms Ward released a statement on Twitter saying she had been “overwhelmed” by the messages of support she had received since the employment tribunal ruling.

* Leeds boxing hero Josh Warrington returned from a seven-month lay-off to successfully defend his WBC international featherweight title against Japan’s Hisashi Amagasa at the city’s First Direct Arena.

Familiar faces in the crowd included Leeds United player Lewis Cook and former Whites manager Simon Grayson, with the latter making a pre-fight visit to Warrington’s dressing room.

* The mother of murdered Leeds teenager Tyrone Clarke marked the 12th anniversary of his death with an emotional plea that she hoped would help secure justice for her son.

Four people were given life sentences for the 16-year-old’s murder but other members of the mob that savagely attacked him in Beeston in 2004 remained at large.

Lorraine Fraser, told the YEP: “It’s so hard, knowing that there are people out there who played a part in his death but have never been brought to justice.”

* New figures revealed the economic and employment rewards being reaped by Leeds from its digital business revolution.

Around 5,000 jobs were set to be created in the city’s booming digital and technology sector over the next five years, experts estimated. The figures were released on the first day of 2016’s Leeds Digital Festival.

* Cycling fever was in the air in the White Rose county once again as the Tour de Yorkshire got under way.

Hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the route of an event whose 2016 stages included Beverley to Settle and Otley to Doncaster.

B wing at HMP Leeds.

Second death at overcrowded Armley prison