Some Leeds residents hear fireworks from Bradford all year round, claims councillor

A  councillor has claimed people living in parts of northwest Leeds hear fireworks being set off in Bradford “all year round”.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th November 2021, 4:46 pm

The comments came during a discussion about the antisocial use of fireworks in Leeds, which council chiefs believe is now such a problem in parts of the city, that it must be dealt with by national lawmakers in Westminster.#

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The report also mentioned that the authority had been working closely with Calderdale Council during the recent inquiry into the problem, but did not list neighbouring Bradford Council as one of the contributors.

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Fireworks at an organised display Photo: Gerard Binks

Coun Dawn Collins (Conservative) said: “Being in Horsforth, fairly close to the boundary, we hear fireworks all year round. My feeling at the moment is that it is coming from the Bradford border. The other night we had fireworks going of at half past one in the morning.

“It’s obviously somebody celebrating an anniversary or a wedding or something, but I am not sure why Bradford isn’t there.

“It’s not a huge issue – if you close the windows, you can get back to sleep, but I am curious as to whether people living closer to Bradford than I do experience that in a worse scenario than I do.”

A council officer apologised for not mentioning Bradford in the report, adding: “Bradford Council was one of the main ones we engaged with, and we continue to engage with them.”

Leeds City Council’s deputy leader Coun Debra Coupar (Labour) added: “We absolutely do engage with Bradford. Calderdale answered a request to work with us as well, so that’s why they were involved in this work.”

Coun Coupar went on to claim that the number of antisocial firework-related incidents had actually decreased in Leeds, despite the number of call-outs from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue on November 5 and 6 more than doubling since 2019.

She said: “We had a number of isolated incidents in a few wards in the city but, overall, we saw a huge decrease in the demand for the police, reports of antisocial behaviour and reports needing police action.

“The numbers from West Yorkshire fire service were individual bonfires in people’s gardens. I want to clear up the suggestion made in council that there was an increase in demand for police service over the bonfire and Halloween period. It is incorrect – demand has actually decreased.”

Among the new suggestions from Leeds City Council is introducing a “mechanism” through which local authorities can work with communities to prohibit firework use in areas “of particular sensitivity”.

Such a move would come as a relief to Coun Javaid Akhtar (Lab), who claimed Alexandra Park in Burley was the scene of huge problems on Bonfire Night.

He said: “I was getting phone calls and was passing them to Mr (Paul) Money (LCC communities officer) and the police, and I’m surprised nothing else has been mentioned.

“It’s something we need to consider, those communities living around those areas are facing mayhem two weeks before and two weeks after bonfire night. Antisocial behaviour and misuse of fireworks across the park, throwing them at each other, and damaging property is totally unacceptable for our residents.”

Other suggestions from the committee included putting more “diversionary activities” on for young people, to reduce the risk of antisocial behaviour on bonfire night.

Coun Chris Howley (Lib Dem) added that there was also a “horrific” incident in Weetwood, adding: “Residents were afraid to leave their houses, and it was described by more than one of them as a ‘war zone’.

“More pre-emptive work was needed there and there was a lack of diversionary activities.

“It harks back to prioritising priority areas is wholly appropriate, we should not take our eye off other areas where problems can flare up.”

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