Leeds village’s fury over ‘Big Brother’ CCTV tactics

One of the cameras on Rakehill Road in Scholes.
One of the cameras on Rakehill Road in Scholes.
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A ‘big brother’ row has erupted in a Leeds village where residents are fighting housing development plans.

People living in Scholes, east Leeds, woke on Thursday morning to find CCTV-style cameras had gone up without warning on seven local roads.

The cameras were fixed to lamp-posts and telegraph poles in Rakehill Road, Milton Drive, Lyndhurst Road, Elmete Avenue, Oaklea Road, Main Street and Station Road.

It then emerged that Leeds City Council had not given permission for the devices to be put in place and by yesterday morning they had been taken down.

Now the hunt is on to find out who was responsible for the cameras.

One theory in the village is that they were installed with the aim of gathering information on traffic levels. A key argument against some of the area’s housing development proposals is that existing roads in and around Scholes would struggle to cope with an influx of new residents.

George Hall, 73, a planning expert who has lived in Scholes for 50 years, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “The reaction on Thursday morning was one of real anger.

“My computer and phone nearly went into meltdown, put it that way.

“People felt as though they were being snooped upon, like their privacy had been infringed. One of the first messages I got was ‘Big Brother has come to the village’.”

A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council said permission was needed to attach any items to ‘street furniture’ such as lamp-posts. No such permission had been granted in this case, confirmed the spokeswoman.

As previously reported by the YEP, a campaign group called Save Our Scholes (SOS) has been launched to fight plans for housing schemes near the village.

Development firms GMI Holdings and Barratt David Wilson Homes have drawn up controversial plans for 800 new homes and associated “community facilities” on land to the east of Scholes.

They are also proposing 60 new homes at Wood Lane, on the western side of the village.

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