Councillors debate future of Holbeck's 'legal' red light zone today

The future of Leeds' controversial approach to street sex work will be debated today.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 14th November 2018, 6:56 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th November 2018, 6:59 am
Councillors are set to discuss the 'managed approach' today
Councillors are set to discuss the 'managed approach' today

Councillors will discuss the possibility of suspending the Holbeck 'managed approach' at the full council meeting in Leeds this afternoon.

The debate follows calls last month from Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn for the council to hold an independent review into what has been dubbed Britain’s first ‘legal’ red light zone .

Coun Carter, conservative shadow spokeswoman for community safety, earlier told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “At a certain point we have to ask if the managed approach is really working on the ground as intended or if it is making things worse.

“Positive work to engage women with support services is to be welcomed, but we cannot ignore the impact on local residents and businesses, many of whom are saying the situation has deteriorated.

"These are people who are living with the day to day reality of the policy, who see the rules being flouted, the increase in litter, and who worry about the reputational damage to their communities. The council has a duty to listen to and address their concerns.

“The council and its partners must now act decisively, and to a defined timetable, and set out how they intend to prove the managed approach can work as intended for local people. If they cannot do that, it must be suspended.”

The scheme, which was introduced by community safety partnership Safer Leeds in October 2014, allows street sex workers to operate in parts of Holbeck during certain hours, with the aim of getting more of the women to engage with support services.