Leeds councillors demand action to stop student street parties and littering ‘getting out of control'
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A meeting of a council scrutiny committee also heard how a letting agent in Leeds encouraged tenants to leave a previous occupant’s household waste on the streets to be collected by the council.
It follows a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) introduced in Headingley and Hyde Park last year, which bans street parties, drinking alcohol in public and taking drugs in public, while also requiring that all rubbish should be in bins. The order gives council staff the ability to issue on-the-spot fines for those in breach.
But some councillors are concerned that the orders are not being enforced properly.
Last month, residents in Hyde Park were kept awake by a large street party attended by a bumper crowd of revellers.
Coun Keyleigh Brooks (Lab) said: “(The PSPO) doesn’t seem to be having the desired impact. There have been problems with implementation and, from most accounts, it doesn’t seem to be being enforced, particularly around street parties and gatherings – there have been quite a few that have got out of control.
“Changeover has also been very trying and stressful for residents. As old tenants move out, you have new tenants moving in.”
She suggested connecting with the universities’ contacts to identify which students were causing antisocial behaviour, and asked whether universities collected data on where students were moving to in the summer months.
Coun Kevin Ritchie (Lab) claimed that his son and his friends were met with waste left behind by a previous tenant when they moved into a house in Headingley, only to be told by the letting agent to dump the rubbish in the street.
“I have seen the state of (Headingley) and it does concern me,” he said. “I was interested in the PSPO on leaving bags on the street.
“There was an experience my son and his friends moving into their property had about the waste being left behind – in theory by an identifiable tenant. The letting agent said ‘leave it on the street and the council will collect it’.
“I don’t think that is a sustainable approach for us as a city.”
Claire Smith, head of service for the council’s Leeds Antisocial Behaviour Team, said: “There are officers going around enforcing the PSPO at the moment. It is not acceptable leaving it on the street and expecting the council just to come along and remove it – that is not the right advice.
“I am pleased you have brought this to my attention – it is something I can take forward to the next landlord forum meeting. It is not right that rubbish is left out on the streets – this is the reason we added it to the PSPO this time.”
Responding to the concerns raised by Coun Brooks, she added: “Universities are not able to share data with us and do not have access to that information until September or October time.
“We have an antisocial behaviour awareness week next week, where we do door-knocking with WYP. there are some cases that are high priority at the moment what we have identified at an early stage.
“It is difficult around the information sharing agreement. We do share the data we get when we take an action against an individual with universities, but it is difficult when they are not classed as students until September/October time.
“But we are able to use enforcement powers if there is antisocial behaviour or noise nuisances.”