Hyde Park and Headingley streets "worse than ever" as students abandon belongings outside in house changeover

Hyde Park and Headingley residents have claimed the rubbish left on their streets by students this week is worse than it ever has been before during the house changeover period.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 4:45 pm
A street in Hyde Park today
A street in Hyde Park today

Hundreds of students in Leeds are moving out of their current houses and into new ones this week as tenancies come to an end and new contracts commence.

In past years, many have often left their unwanted items and rubbish on the streets of Headingley and Hyde Park rather than disposing of them correctly.

This year has been no different - and Hyde Park resident Ian Mackay says the streets around his house are "worse than ever".

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Residents say the rubbish is the worst it has ever been

He told the YEP: "It's a mixed bag - I saw a big teddy bear on a pavement with a sign saying 'please take me' and that's quite nice, but then I've also seen piles of microwaves just dumped on the pavement.

"There's a climate emergency anyway but there's also an issue of rats and then the impression people have of the area.

"It brings the area down, and if an area isn't seen to be respected, people don't respect it back.

"The students clearly couldn't care less about the consequences as stuff is just dumped with no care."

Mr Mackay has lived in Hyde Park for many years, and added that this year the area looks like a neighbourhood where everything has been abandoned ready for demolishment.

He added: "It looks like the streets and area has just been abandoned, and everyone has left their stuff to be demolished - but this isn't the case.

"There are families living here, and it's not just about it being untidy, it's about the impression it also shows to young kids about how to look after their things, an area, and about respect."

According to Headingley and Hyde Park councillor Neil Walshaw, the council has put on extra refuse collections, has cage wagons doing rounds, and has teams around the streets picking things up.

He says there is always a five or six day period where the areas look "terrible" - and that this is actually partly a result of landlord culture.

Coun. Walshaw told the YEP: "Throw away culture is a societal issue and we need to revisit our education efforts with student unions about it.

"But there are bad aspects to landlord culture as well as lots of landlords demand that things are completely stripped clean.

"If it was just books and clothes then fair enough but over the past couple of decades that's morphed into kitchens being emptied - and unless students empty their houses fully they get cleaning and disposal costs deducted from their bonds.

"They are using these things until the last minute and then they have to get rid of them straight away which is a problem."

He added: "Councillors, the council and the universities organise and deliver bags to student houses for donations which volunteers then collect.

"It's sometimes known as Hyde Park Christmas and last year Left Bank Leeds was piled high with donations - it was amazing.

"It's an interesting time this year but the fact people are actually going home for the summer is nice and makes things feel more normal, because it wasn't like this last year."

Co-director of Zero Waste Leeds Rob Greenland also thinks donation schemes are the way forward due to the challenges students face when moving out of and in to houses.

He said: "We need to think about how we can support students in ways that don't cause problems for other residents.

"I'm not sure what we expect people to do because if a student has a parent coming to collect them for example and they need to have all their stuff ready by a certain time but not everything fits in the car then what do they do?

"From the perspective of Zero Waste Leeds we need to push the scheme to make it easier for people to donate their stuff.

"It's such a good way of making something positive happen from a difficult situation."