Leeds' Otley Run pub crawlers criticised for turning Headingley into ‘Magaluf'
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Local councillor Neil Walshaw claimed a rise in the number of binge drinkers on the route is leading to more anti-social behaviour and female residents in the area being harassed.
The crawl stretches across 15 boozers, give or take, from Otley Road in Far Headingley to the north-western edge of the city centre.
Typically done in fancy dress, the Otley Run has been considered a staple of student life for undergraduates living in the city suburbs for decades.
But Leeds City Council said it will start a crackdown on booze-related nuisance on the crawl, with on-the-spot fines potentially being dished out.
Speaking at a public scrutiny meeting on Thursday, Labour’s Councillor Walshaw said: “In the Weetwood, Headingley and Hyde Park wards we have the joys of the Otley Run.
“On one level it’s a lot of undergraduate larks and it can be taken not very seriously.
“But actually we do need to take it seriously, because over the last three or four years and particularly since we came out of lockdown, the Otley Run has got larger and much more intense.”
Coun Walshaw suggested it was older drinkers in their 20s and 30s that were more to blame than students for the anti-social behaviour, and called on pubs in the area to take more responsibility.
He commented: “Judging from the hairlines and the waistlines it’s not undergraduates – it’s Gavin and Gary from accounts who are coming back to relive their glory days of 10 years ago.
“But joking aside, it’s all led to some cases that we’re picking up of on-street harassment of female residents.
“On a Friday and Saturday Headingley looks like Magaluf at times.
“The licence holders are making record takings and we are looking at them to step up now.”
Claire Smith, head of safer neighbourhoods and anti-social behaviour at Leeds City Council, said the authority was leading a “targeted response” to the nuisance.
The Headingley and Hyde Park areas are covered by a public spaces protection order (PSPO), which can result in on-the-spot fines for booze-related misdemeanours.
Ms Smith said: “We didn’t necessarily use it for the Otley Run but with the issues it’s causing it’s something we need to do.”