Calls for community forum to tackle anti-social behaviour in Headingley, Hyde Park and Woodhouse

Residents in north west Leeds are calling for a community forum to address anti-social behaviour in the area.

Monday, 9th August 2021, 4:45 am

People living in the Headingley, Hyde Park, Burley and Woodhouse neighbourhoods say that are experiencing an "increasing volume" of anti-social incidents, which are becoming "daily issue" for people in the community.

Specific concerns have been raised about noise, littering and disruptive behaviour.

There is a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in place in the area which prohibits street parties, drinking alcohol or taking drugs in public.

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Calls are being made for a community forum to tackle anti-social behaviour in Headingley, Hyde Park, Burley and Woodhouse. Pictured: Overflowing bins in Moorland Avenue Hyde Park, Leeds. Photo taken by Steve Riding

It also requires that all rubbish should be put in bins, and that bins should not be left in public places except for during permitted times on collection days.

However, Brandon Ashford, a Woodhouse resident, says that the PSPO is not being enforced, which is having a negative effect on the local community.

Mr Ashford said: "We have the Public Space Protection Order in place but it hasn't been enforced

"We see that it is being enforced in Harehills so there seems to be levels of inconsistency in approach and it's not being implemented like it should.

A clean-up operation in Woodhouse Moor, Hyde Park earlier this year after lots of litter was left in the park. Photo: James Hardisty

"There is no point to it. It's not worth the paper to write on if it's not being enforced.

"So many residents have spoken to me and said 'If I could up and move today, I wouldn't even hesitate. I've lived in this area for 30/40 years, I live in the same house my father grew up in but I would sell it at a moment's notice if it meant I could get away from all of this antisocial behaviour'.

"One lady I was speaking to moved to Bradford to escape all the anti social behaviour because she couldn't cope with all the stress and the health effects of being unable to sleep, having to shout at your neighbours to turn the music down or to stop the parties.

"No one should have to deal with that.

"How has it got to a stage where local residents feel that the community they were born and raised in they can't call home anymore?"

Mr Ashford, who is also the Liberal Democrat candidate for Headingley and Hyde Park, is now calling for a cross agency forum to address residents concerns.

The community activist said: "I spent a good few months wandering around talking to residents, and what I hear is that for years, many of them feel that nothing has changed in the local community and having raised their concerns, many of the concerns go unanswered and the issues seem to be getting worse.

"These are the stories that residents are saying, time and time again. It's very much at a tipping point.

"Antisocial behaviour is not a party political issue. It's a community issue that requires everyone of all political ideals, non-political ideals, residents and organisations who are enforcing the rules to come together.

"My concept of the public community forum would be the opportunity for all the relevant stakeholders to come together with local residents so that they can voice their the issues.

"Not only does it mean that local residents will have the opportunity to be heard in person, but also the organisations will also have the opportunity to voice what the issues are and why they're unable to deal with anti social behaviour how residents would like them to.

"It is a chance for everyone to sit down and work out a solution as to how it can be dealt with properly.

"Nothing has changed for 10 years, so we need to stop talking about the past and start looking forward and the public community forum is a perfect opportunity for us to sit down and thrash out some sort of solution that's driven by the community, and will actually be appropriate to solve the issues."

Inspector Helen Oldridge of the Leeds North West (Inner) NPT, said “We are aware of resident’s concerns regarding noise and anti-social behaviour in these areas and have been working with partners at Safer Leeds to examine and address these issues.

“Officers have also recently met with councillors and community representatives regarding these concerns and are to attend a community meeting on this topic.

“We would of course always look to attend any other meetings organised by residents and would like to remind communities that we do also have a six weekly PACT meeting.

"Any resident is welcome to join us at these to discuss issues affecting them in the local area.

“They are currently held online due to the Covid restrictions over the last 18 months. Dates and times of these meetings are advertised on our website, social media pages and through local Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinators.”

A spokesperson for Leeds City Council said: “Any form of anti-social behaviour is a blight on our communities, and with our partners at West Yorkshire Police, we will always seek to use every tool at our disposal where evidence permits, to put a stop to it.

“We have been working hard through a multi-agency approach to address anti-social behaviour issues in certain areas of north west Leeds.

"For example, in response to complaints regarding noise nuisance, we recently worked with the police as part of Operation Dimplemount, to carry out a number of sound equipment seizures and move forward with closure orders of targeted properties.

“We are aware of specific concerns that have been raised by some residents, which members of our anti-social behaviour team are discussing directly with those concerned.

"We are continuing to review our strategy to ensure that we can target and allocate resources in the best possible way, and the feedback of residents plays an important part in this process.

"This includes through the PSPO which is currently in place in certain areas of north west Leeds.”

A spokesperson for the University of Leeds, which operates the Leeds Universities and Colleges Neighbourhood Helpline in partnership with Leeds Beckett University, Leeds Trinity University College, Leeds Conservatoire and Leeds Arts University, said: “We remain concerned about issues relating to antisocial behaviour and understand the distress and disturbance this causes other residents – including our students.

"Collectively, we are reviewing all aspects of how these issues are tackled and welcome input from everyone in our community.

“The recent proposal of a further opportunity for constructive discussion will be considered as part of this review.”