Traders in a Leeds suburb say drunks are scaring shoppers away - after a survey was launched asking residents to have their say on the area’s future.
Mark Hoffman, 52, who has worked at Skeltons butchers on Armley’s Town Street for 38 years, said older people feel threatened by the number of drunks who congregate on the street.
He made the comments after Leeds West Labour MP Rachel Reeves launched an online survey to find out residents’ views on how they want Armley Town Street to change.
The survey will form part of the ‘Armley Town Centre Revival Plan.’
The plan aims to tackle issues including anti-social behaviour and rubbish dumping and to increase support for local shops and attract new investment to the area.
Mr Hoffman said yesterday: “The confidence has gone out of the street. People don’t want to see gangs of people hanging around, falling down drunk and swearing.
“This morning I opened the shop at 6.30am and I saw 10 different people, all drunk. There needs to be something done but I don’t know what. A higher police presence on Town Street maybe?”
Roger Yeardley, manager of the Town Street Co-op food store, said: “I would like to see more police patrols. I think that would deter a lot of the problems Armley has got.”
Ms Reeves said: “We have launched a survey so that we can really understand the issues that matter most to local people. Thank you to everyone that has been in touch already.
“If you live near Town Street, go there for shopping and services or use it to grab the bus into town, we want to hear what you have to say and how you want Armley Town Street to change.
“I will make sure your views are fed into the consultation and that the council and local police take action to make Armley Town Street the brilliant place we all know it can be.”
Insp Simon Jessup of West Yorkshire Police, said: “We are very much aware of the concerns raised by local businesses, councillors and residents about street drinking and anti-social behaviour in Armley Town Street and we are treating the issue as a priority. “As part of that work we conducted an environmental audit last week where we were joined by councillors and residents to assess the situation on the ground and draw up an action plan to tackle the problem.
“Local authority licensing also visited 15 licensed premises to advise staff and ask they display posters highlighting the designated public places order restrictions on street drinking in the area.
“We have previously identified the main offenders and are continuing to work in partnership with Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team to seek injunctions against them at court that will place tight controls on their behaviour with the threat of further court action if they persist.
“We are also continuing to work with other agencies, such as charitable organisations providing outreach work to street drinkers, as we recognise this is not an issue that the police alone can address.
“Local residents and businesses have a key role to play in helping us to build cases for injunctions by keeping a note of incidents that we can then use as evidence. We have previously distributed ‘nuisance diaries’ to every shop in the area but had little response.
“We are determined to do all we can alongside our partner agencies to improve the situation and we hope the residents and businesses in the area will join us by actively supporting that work.”
The survey launched by Ms Reeves can be found at: www.rachelreevesmp.co.uk or call her office on 0113 2552311.