Woodhouse Moor was packed with people yesterday afternoon enjoying the glorious sunshine. Unfortunately, many of them never bothered to take their litter home with them, which is why the park looked such a mess this morning.
Leeds employs people known as “Civil Enforcement Officers” to ensure that the city is kept neat and tidy. They have the power to issue on the spot £75 fixed penalty notices to anyone dropping litter. A friend of mine was fined a couple of years ago by one of these people for dropping a cigarette butt in the city centre. And there’s the problem. These enforcement officers don’t appear to operate in Hyde Park and Woodhouse ward. If they do, I’ve never seen one. Why is it that the rules that apply to other parts of the city don’t apply here ?
There were five barbeques burning yesterday afternoon, and this morning I took this photo showing the damage caused by one of them.
I find it amazing that these dangerous contraptions are freely available in supermarkets and corner shops. There’s no age limit restricting their sale. Last year I heard at work that someone’s child had stood on one. She lost all sensation in the sole of her foot because of nerve damage.
I suppose I should be writing to the Times, for today I spotted my first barbeque of 2009 on Woodhouse Moor (see photo below). There were five actually. And that’s the problem. For unlike nightingales, barbeques are a very common species in these parts, and they’re likely to become even more so, if Leeds City Council is able to persuade students to vote for barbeque areas on Woodhouse Moor.
Also on the Moor this afternoon, was a large police van with about five or six policemen and women inside. My companion went up to one of the policemen, and asked him to tell the barbeque-ers to desist. But he refused, repeating over and over again, “It’s what students do.” It left me wondering what the police van was doing on the Moor. It also left me wondering why I pay council tax. Can anyone suggest a reason why that police van was on the Moor ?
To get to the Student Union Building by foot from Hyde Park, walk along Moorland Road until you come to the junction with Clarendon Road i.e the junction where the former Grammar School is located. Then cross Clarendon Road and continue on down University Road. Take your first right onto Lyddon Terrace and then your first left onto Lifton Place. Continue on down until you come to a large red brick building on your right. That building is the Student Union Building. The first of the two barbeque consultations is to be held on the second floor of the Student Union Building in Meeting Room 2 of ARC. ARC stands for Activities Resouce Centre.
On the above map, the Student Union Building is coloured red, the former Grammar School is coloured orange, and the Parkinson Building (the large Portland stone building with the clock tower) is coloured purple.
Just to remind you, the drop-in session is to be held from 5pm to 7pm this Friday, the 20th March.
In response to the clamour of protests from local residents about last year’s mayhem on Woodhouse Moor, when trees and benches were burnt in bonfires, as both the police and Leeds City Council failed to enforce the no-barbeque byelaw, the council has responded – not by taking steps to enforce the byelaw, but by first getting the byelaws changed to make barbeque areas possible in principle, and now by proposing barbeque areas on Woodhouse Moor. There’s to be consultation, but apparently, it’s not aimed at local residents. There are to be two consultation events :
Friday 20th March, 5pm – 7pm at Leeds University Student Union Meeting Room 2 (upstairs in the ARC).
Thursday 26th March, 3pm – 7pm in the Bowls Pavilion, Woodhouse Moor.
Clearly the views of local residents don’t matter to our councillors, and neither does the waste of public resources given that between the 1st May and the 10th June 2008, the fire brigade was called out to Woodhouse Moor 29 times to extinguish fires. This contrasts with just three call-outs to Roundhay Park in the same period.
On the 17th December 2008, central government bureaucrats gave their approval to Leeds City Councils’ application to change the city’s byelaws to allow unauthorised parking and barbeque areas in the city’s parks. Local residents had asked the Department for Communities and Local Government to reject the proposals on the grounds that Leeds City Council had failed to consult. But instead, the department chose to accept Leeds City Council’s assurance that consultation had taken place. I have since learnt that Leeds City Council consulted just six bodies : The National Council for Metal Detecting, South Leeds Aero Modelling Society, British Model Flying Association, The Leeds Society for Deaf and Blind People, Access Committee for Leeds, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
No response was received from any of these organisations. This is hardly surprising since whilst the proposed changes will have a big impact on local residents, they will have no effect whatsoever on the people represented by these organisations.