Woodhouse Moor Hyde Park: New portable toilets and extra fines could follow crowds chaos

Portable toilets and extra litter bins could be installed at Woodhouse Moor in Hyde Park under proposals being discussed by Leeds councillors.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 11:21 am
Updated Thursday, 1st April 2021, 12:09 pm
Hundreds of people packed into Woodhouse Moor in Hyde Park again on Wednesday

A councillor for Little London and Woodhouse has put forward the idea of installing portable public loos in the park following the last two days of people packing out the parks in the sunshine in Leeds.

Coun Kayleigh Brooks said that a barrier should be put up next to the tennis courts while the costs of adding portable toilets is being considered.

She said in a post on Facebook: "In the short term we have asked for a barrier to be erected next to the tennis courts to prevent access and Kris is costing up portaloos.

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Hundreds of people packed into Woodhouse Moor in Hyde Park again on Wednesday

“A more permanent solution will take some time to organise, but we are looking into that too."

Leeds Council has confirmed to the Yorkshire Evening Post that it is exploring new measures including extra bins.

-> Woman kicked in ribs and face trying to protect pet from attempted dognapping incidentShe added: "Please keep in mind that the council has very little money available to staff the toilet solution, both long and short term, so we may have to run a crowdfund to cover any gaps.”

The plan has been formed following a meeting between local councillors, executive member for Parks Cllr Mohammed Rafique, sustainability projects officer from the University of Leeds Amanda Jackson, and Kris the parks operations manager.

This was the litter cleanup operation on Wednesday morning in the park

Residents have been campaigning for toilets to be installed in the park for some time and a petition launched by RWTG, a community group aimed at inspiring and encouraging women to take up skateboarding in Leeds, now has over 900 signatures.

The petition is to Leeds City Council Parks and Countryside for the reopening and improvement of the public toilets in Woodhouse Moor Park (Hyde Park). It reads: “Despite not being classed as a ‘major park’ by Leeds City Council, Woodhouse Moor Park as a ‘community park’ sees an enormous amount of footfall. According to a Leeds Parks Report (2018): “Woodhouse Moor, a community park in North West Leeds, was the second most visited park in the city, with over three million adult visits estimated in the preceding year.”

“The second most visited park in the city of Leeds does not have functioning public toilets.”

The petition also acknowledges the difficulties faced but presses the importance of the toilets: “Obviously opening public toilets raises its own set of concerns around public safety, and we are keen to make sure there are conversations around this should we be successful in this petition.”

“We understand the constant maintenance of a public toilet such as this needs, and are therefore writing this petition to request the funding and consideration of these much needed facilities.”

“If these facilities can be made available in other parks that aren’t as visited, we believe that the same should be afforded to Woodhouse Moor.”

But what about the bins?

In her Facebook post Cllr Brooks also broached the call for increasing bin capacity at Woodhouse Moor.

“Considering the volume of rubbish left yesterday [Tuesday 30 March] even with 10x the bin capacity there would still have been problems, so this isn’t entirely a solution, but one we are costing up.”

“I’d like to say also, all time park staff have to spend picking up litter (and worse) is time not spent doing what they’re best at - tending the plants!! A huge thank you to them, and to everyone who helped them in the clean up on Wednesday.”

She said a targeted anti-litter campaign for Woodhouse moor in collaboration with Leeds universities was also discussed, which may include introducing fines.

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “Following the unacceptable amount of litter which we saw left on Woodhouse Moor earlier in the week, members of our parks team are currently looking at a number of measures that could both prevent and reduce the possibility of similar scenes occurring again in the future.

“As part of this work, the team has engaged with and discussed a number of measures with local representatives and the University of Leeds. This includes reviewing the existing provision of litter bins on the park and also assessing different options regarding how the costs of possibly introducing more bins on Woodhouse Moor can be met in the context of the tough budgetary challenges that the council continues to face.”