Hyde Park residents say more than 200 at student party despite Covid-19 restrictions and Leeds City Council crackdown

A Leeds residents' group said there was  'massive scale' anti-social behaviour  linked to a student  party in Hyde Park  just two weeks after Leeds City Council launched a crackdown.

Thursday, 30th July 2020, 9:24 am
Victoria Jaquiss pictured lin June 2020 (right) with granddaughter Maya Rathbone on St John's Grove with fellow Hyde Park resident Alison McNeill (left). Picture: Steve Riding

Moorlands Residents Group said police failed to respond to neighbours' reports that more than 200 people were in a garden at the party at the house on Moorland Avenue, where there was loud music, shouting and screaming.

The group said partygoers were urinating on the street and in gardens on Moorland Avenue, St John's Grove and St John's Avenue during the party late on Saturday July 18 into the early hours of Sunday 19.

Hyde Park resident says students' all night Covid-19 parties are 'beyond unbearable'Earlier this month, Leeds City Council and police pledged to take action after members of the residents group said they had not slept for three weeks due to regular all-night student Covid parties’ during lockdown.

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On July 1, Leeds City Council launched a crackdown on large street parties, noisy neighbours, overflowing bins and public drug use in north west Leeds after concerns were raised by residents and businesses.

A Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) order was put in place in Headingley, Hyde Park, Weetwood, Little London and Woodhouse.

Moorland Residents' Group say residents alerted police and Leeds City Council's noise nuisance team to the anti-social behaviour on the weekend of July 18 and 19.

Moorlands Residents Group spokeswoman Victoria Jaquiss wrote in an email to Leeds City Council and police, that around 1am on Sunday 19 there were dozens of people in the garden at the house party.

She wrote: "We, a group of residents in Hyde Park, are writing to you, to report back the massive scale of antisocial behaviour that occurred on Saturday 18 July 2020, which was connected to a party."

She added in the email: "Noise level is unbelievable with about 60 people there. Numerous males lined up urinating on St John's Grove both against the fence of the street as well as into people's gardens, against walls, into garden entrances.

"Massive crowd going up and down St Johns Avenue, lots of raised voices, shouting, drinking. Estimated 200 plus people now."

Ms Jaquiss said Leeds City Council noise nuisance officers were seen arriving just after 1am and the noise died down at around 2am.

Ms Jaquiss said police told the group that officers had been tasked to attend on the night, but had been diverted to emergencies.

She said: "With the area being a restricted area under PSPO since July 1, it seems a very unsatisfactory response from police given that at least three different neighbours reported this incidence."

Grandmother Ms Jaquiss - a music teacher, writer and musician who has lived on Moorland Road for 33 years - has previously said the morning after parties her street is littered with broken glass, vomit, condoms and beer cans.

Ms Jaquiss said six drug dealer’s business cards were posted through the letterbox at her family’s home in early April.

Referring to the July 18 and 19 incident, Inspector Andrew Loftus, who leads the Leeds North West Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We are reviewing our response to this incident and will be making further enquiries with the residents group.

“West Yorkshire Police takes all reports of anti-social behaviour seriously and works with partners to take action against those whose behaviour is a blight on our communities.”

Coun Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member with responsibility for Safer Leeds, said: “We take any issue regarding anti-social behaviour in our communities extremely seriously and will always investigate any complaints that are made by residents.

“Leeds City Council’s noise nuisance team visited a number of addresses in the Hyde Park area earlier this month which had been subject to complaints. Subsequently tenants in one property did receive a Noise Abatement Notice.

“Student house parties unfairly impact on the lives of other people in the community, and the council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Team working closely with the police will seek to use noise abatement and closure order legislation to shut premises and all other tools at our disposal if required.

" We will also continue to liaise in partnership with the universities to support our work around these types of issues.

“The council continues to be in close contact with complainants regarding this issue, and remains committed to tackling proactively these types of issues in Hyde Park.”

A University of Leeds spokesperson said: “We recognise that noise and antisocial behaviour are issues with such a large concentration of students from all Leeds’ higher education institutes in this area. We take very seriously our work to encourage respect for the community, notably through our Student Citizenship Programme.

"We work collaboratively with Leeds Antisocial Behaviour Team to more effectively address noise nuisance and we take disciplinary action against students where necessary.

"We continue to work with partners including Unipol, students unions, and residents to develop new approaches to tackle these ongoing problems. This includes working with landlords to prevent antisocial behaviour in their properties.”

The three-year Leeds City Council PSPO order is designed to ill target noise nuisance, and large scale parties in the street; the disposal of rubbish and household waste; anti-social behaviour and criminality; the drinking of alcohol and the use of psychoactive substances in public spaces.

Continued failure to comply with any requirements contained under the PSPO could result in enforcement action being taken, which could include a fine or action through the courts.

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Laura Collins