‘Legal’ Leeds red light zone on agenda

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Councillors look set to debate the future of a controversial approach to street sex work in Leeds.

It also 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 .

Tory councillor Amanda Carter will table a motion at Leeds City Council’s full meeting next week calling for the authority to prove they can either make the ‘managed approach’ in Holbeck work or stop it all together.

Campaigners have welcomed the move, claiming it will allow councillors to see what life is like for people living in the area.

Coun Carter, conservative shadow spokeswoman for community safety, said: “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.” She added: “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.”

Introduced by community safety partnership Safer Leeds in October 2014, the scheme 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.

The motion, which is known as a white paper will be voted on by all members of the council on Wednesday, November 14.

However, it is understood that even if councillors voted in favour of the paper, it would not necessarily mean the ‘managed approach’ would be suspended.

Members of campaign group Save Our Eyes have welcomed the debate saying the time is right for politicians in the city to face the reality of life for people living and working in Holbeck.