Cllr Kayleigh Brooks has reported the following:
Recent information kindly supplied by Leeds City Council shows that there are accessible toilets in Leeds parks as follows:
Roundhay Park – 3 locations
Temple Newsam – 3 locations
Lotherton Hall – 2 locations
Golden Acre Park – 2 locations
Middleton Park – 1 location
The Arium – 1 location
Roundhay Park is the most visited park in Leeds. As can be seen, it has three sets of accessible toilets. Woodhouse Moor is the second most visited park in Leeds. Despite this, it has no accessible toilets. There are three sets of toilets on Woodhouse Moor, but all are permanently locked. One set dates back to Edwardian times. These have to be kept locked as when they used to be open, vandals repeatedly damaged their historic fixtures. Another set is located within the bowls pavilion. It wouldn’t make sense to open the bowls pavilion to give people access to these toilets, as the rest of the building could be vandalised. But at the Hyde Park Corner end of the park, there is a purpose built toilet block. Unfortunately, this is permanently locked. It doesn’t seem right or sensible for a purpose-built toilet block in such a busy park to be kept permanently locked.
Now, Jessica Melia, the founder of “Rollin’ With The Girls,” has set up an online petition asking Leeds City Council to improve and re-open the purpose-built toilets at the Hyde Park Corner end of the park. At the time of writing, her petition had over 600 signatures. If you want, you can sign the petition here.
This Summer, Woodhouse Moor was covered in human faeces. Rivers of urine flowed between the former wild flower area and the allotments. Woodhouse Moor is fast becoming a public health hazard. Something needs to be done. But what?
It’s no use complaining to the people you see who are relieving themselves. It’s not their fault (well, not entirely their fault). The people to blame are the people in charge at Leeds City Council. They’re the ones who are responsible. They’re the reason there are no accessible toilets for people to use.
Roundhay Park has public toilets, and so does Temple Newsam. And yet Woodhouse Moor, the most intensively used park in Leeds, has none. This isn’t fair. It can’t be right.
And as for how toilets on the Moor could be protected from misuse – I’d say, the same way they’re protected from misuse on Roundhay Park and Temple Newsam.
Friends of Woodhouse Moor are launching a campaign for toilets on the Moor. If you think it’s wrong that such an important park has no public toilets, please email the following, and let them know what you think:
Headingley and Hyde Park councillors
Jonathan Pryor – firstname.lastname@example.org
Neil Walshaw – email@example.com
Al Garthwaite – firstname.lastname@example.org
Little London and Woodhouse councillors
Kayleigh Brooks – email@example.com
Abigail Marshal Katung – firstname.lastname@example.org
Javaid Akhtar – email@example.com
The Executive Member for Parks
Mohammed Rafique – firstname.lastname@example.org
The Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing
Rebecca Charlwood – email@example.com
The Officer in charge of Parks and Countryside
Sean Flesher – firstname.lastname@example.org
On the 1st April, the Yorkshire Post ran a story about all the litter that’s being left behind on Woodhouse Moor when the weather is fine. Letters to the same newspaper, published on the 5th April, pointed out, amongst other things, that the charges being made for plastic bags clearly aren’t deterring some people from buying them, and then leaving them behind on the park after they’ve finished with them.
When walking on Woodhouse Moor earlier this afternoon, a local resident was most surprised and rather concerned to witness a group of men playing football on the top bowling green. It certainly seemed to be an organised game as one side was wearing tabards and the goal posts were delineated by sets of trainers.
Have this group been given permission to play there? And iff so, by whom? Certainly in wet weather they will damage the surface.
And even if the group has been given permission, which seems unlikely, organised games of football are illegal under the current lockdown rules. Individuals who break the rules are liable for a fine of up to £10,000.
Parks and Countryside have been tasked by the council with planting 5.8 million trees over the next 25 years. As a result, it wants to establish two large areas of trees on Woodhouse Moor. The areas would measure 4,214 and 2,990 square metres respectively.
For years, the Friends of Woodhouse Moor have been asking for the elm trees that used to border the A660 where it passes Monument Moor to be replaced. We’ve also asked for the trees missing from the avenues on the main Moor to be replaced. Councillor Pryor gave us a commitment in 2017 that this would happen, but since then nothing has happened.
If trees are planted on the main Moor in the way being proposed by Parks and Countryside, these areas would cease to be open parkland. They would probably also cease to be maintained by Parks and Countryside.
An article about the Moor was published in today’s Guardian. It was written by their journalist Sirin Kale. Sirin had wanted to write an article about a typical British park, and reckoned that Woodhouse Moor fitted the bill. And so, late on Thursday the 17th September, she came to Leeds by train all the way from London, accompanied by photographer Alicia. The next day was spent interviewing various of the park users (including myself!) whilst Alicia took photographs. Then, their work done, Sirin and Alicia took the train back to London. Sirin’s interview with me lasted for almost two hours. Towards the end, she said, “I’ve asked you five times about your motivation, and you’ve not answered me.” This surprised me as I really hadn’t noticed, and so, finally aware of my omission, I was forced to answer. You’ll have to read the article to find out what that answer was!
According to a police estimate, between 300 and 400 people attended a rave last night on Woodhouse Moor. The rave’s organisers had brought along a powerful sound system. Local residents were kept awake by the rave until 4am. Police did not intervene to stop the rave, but instead decided to “monitor” the situation i.e. do nothing. Raves are not a litter problem. They’re a threat to public health being perpetrated by a small and selfish minority. If the council and West Yorkshire Police are too short staffed to deal with them, then what is the point of these bodies?