Woodhouse Moor 'a public health hazard' after park is hit by hundreds using it as a toilet

Calls for more permanent solutions to stop people littering and urinating on Woodhouse Moor are growing after the area was left a “quagmire” following a large gathering.

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 6:03 pm
Litter left on Woodhouse Moor after a gathering on Tuesday (photo: Tony Johnson).

Thousands of people gathered in the park on Tuesday for a day known as 4/20 - a celebration of cannabis culture.

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West Yorkshire Police said the event "passed off without incident.”

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Littering after hot weather in March.

But the area was again left looking like a mess with people urinating near bushes by the allotments and leaving litter, as well as burning the grass with temporary barbecues.

The park was declared a “huge public health hazard” by one man who lives nearby.

Ian Mackay said allotment holders were “hopping mad” about the issue.

He added: "Public toilets will help but they aren't going to solve the problem. It also needs to be done alongside education and fines.

Disused toilets at Hyde Park Corner (photo: Google).

"You get fines for dropping a fag butt in the city centre but nothing happens if you urinate, defecate, leave sanitary towels or vomit on public footpaths and green spaces on Woodhouse Moor."

Mr Mackay said that when challenged he and others had been met with offensive remarks, which led to them calling the police.

Officers could be seen stopping people urinating, only for them to return when they left.

A petition calling on Leeds City Council to reopen the locked public toilets has been signed by more than 1,100 people.

There are currently two sets of unused toilets on the moor which have been locked for many years due to anti-social behaviour.

Coun Brooks said: “We are looking for a longer term solution, to permanently reopen the toilet - it's just being costed up.

“We're also working with partners to try to fund portable toilets.”

Coun Brooks has also asked that a barrier is put up between the tennis courts and allotments to prevent people urinating there.

The community officer at Leeds University Union, Lotti Morton, said: “The park would really benefit from implementing public toilets, more waste bins, and better recycling facilities to make it more accessible for everyone that wants to enjoy it."

Allotment holders believe most people urinating near their plots to be students.

But students have also been involved in clear-up efforts.

Stevie Baker said he walks across Woodhouse Moor on a daily basis.

He said: "I told them I was going to put it on social media to get them some praise for a change."

A University of Leeds spokesperson said: “We take anti-social behaviour very seriously and are tackling this and other issues - and talking to Leeds City Council, community representatives and our fellow higher education institutions about potential solutions. More information will be shared in due course.

“While the majority of our students act responsibly and bring many positive benefits to their communities, we are able and prepared to take action against those found engaging in anti-social behaviour.”

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “It is hugely disappointing that a large amount of litter was once again left on Woodhouse Moor yesterday.

"We have had to divert a significant number of Cleaner Neighbourhoods Team staff from other important work in other communities to help with the clean-up at Woodhouse Moor, which is very frustrating.

"There will also be an additional budgetary cost to the council to cover the costs of the clean-up, that could be used to fund other services that are undertaken in our parks.

“Our message to those who visit Woodhouse Moor and indeed all our parks and green spaces across the city is very clear.

"Please take some personal responsibility and bring bags with you to take your rubbish home or dispose of it in an appropriate manner.

"Very importantly, we also ask that people continue to adhere to the guidance in terms of social distancing and gatherings.

"This is vitally important if we are to continue to protect the health and wellbeing of not just ourselves but others.”

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