YEP Says: Leeds tower blocks ban needs tough enforcement

Leeds City Council are going to court to try to get an unusual order which would ban non-residents from two blocks of flats in Wortley that have been blighted by anti-social behaviour. They are Clyde Grange and Clyde Court pictured.
23rd Febuary 2016.
Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe
Leeds City Council are going to court to try to get an unusual order which would ban non-residents from two blocks of flats in Wortley that have been blighted by anti-social behaviour. They are Clyde Grange and Clyde Court pictured. 23rd Febuary 2016. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe
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They were built in the 1950s and 1960s; marketed as dream homes that gave people a chance to escape the slums of Britain’s cities.

In those days tower blocks were imagined as communities in the sky; magical, modern and attractive alternatives (with all mod cons) to run-down terraced houses.

People moved (and were moved) there in their thousands. Then slowly things changed. Government subsidies were removed and, year by year, it became clear that the reality was often anything but the dream.

Many have been demolished; many, too, have stood the test of time and are sources of pride to residents; some of whom have lived there for decades.

But they have their challenges - and the tower blocks of Clyde Grange and Clyde Court in Wortley are a case in point. Residents there have endured years of misery at the hands of groups congregating in the foyers, stairwells, lifts and corridors taking drugs, binge drinking, menacing all and sundry .

Now a landmark court case is giving residents a fighting chance of a better quality of life. Leeds magistrates have granted closure orders banning anyone who does not live in the flats from entering them.

The court heard that the problems at Clyde Grange and Clyde Court had become so widespread, residents had come to think of them as normal; had come to accept what was going on as a part of everyday life.

And that, perhaps, is the most shocking thing of all.

Now the council and the police must put their money where their mouth is. A court order is one thing - enforcing it, entirely another.

A zero tolerance approach should be the only approach.

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