May 30, 2012

COUNCILLOR MARK DOBSON CALLS FOR THE LITTER LOUTS TO BE FINED

Filed under: ASB — Bill @ 3:48 pm

.

.

The current spell of hot weather has attracted the litter louts back onto the Moor. These are the people who in the main, don’t pay council tax, and who by their anti-social activities and abundant leisure time, turn the Moor into a no-go area for the people who do pay council tax, and who have to pay for all the litter to be cleared up.

Yesterday, local councillor Gerry Harper called for the litter louts to be fined. Today Councillor Mark Dobson added his voice to Councillor Harper’s. In an article in today’s Yorkshire Evening Post, it was announced that Councillor Dobson is to have talks with the police about the introduction of fines.

Given the recent upsurge in anti-social behaviour on the Moor, and the defiant stance taken by some of the perpetrators towards the officers of ParksWatch, Councillor Dobson’s intervention is greatly to be welcomed.

.

November 29, 2009

DOES THIS LOOK LIKE ZERO TOLERANCE ?

Filed under: ASB,Byelaws,General,LCC — Bill @ 6:17 pm

These photographs were taken in late Spring 2009 and are evidence of the anti social behaviour that takes place regularly on Woodhouse Moor. How can Leeds City Council allow such behaviour when at page 27 of its Vision for Leeds 2004 to 2020, it claims :

Making Leeds Europe’s cleanest and greenest city is an important principle for our Vision and we will launch a project to improve pride in the city. The project will:

  • draw together the actions of many organisations and businesses in Leeds to reduce litter, wastefulness and pollution;
  • promote individual rights and responsibilities to tackle these problems;
  • challenge those who create problems for others to solve;
  • create a zero-tolerance culture – the council and the Environment Agency will work together to reduce litter, abandoned cars, graffiti, stray dogs and dog fouling;
  • encourage big public-sector organisations like the council, universities, health service and private businesses to reduce waste, limit pollution and use natural resources much more efficiently; and
  • improve the quality of and access to our local parks and green spaces.

November 8, 2009

COUNCILLOR JOHN BALE

Filed under: ASB,Byelaws,LCC — Bill @ 7:53 pm

Councillor John Bale

At a recent meeting of the Scrutiny Board (Central and Corporate), Councillor John Procter said that the council has no policy of non-enforcement of the byelaws, but that when council staff are faced with infringements of the byelaws, they carry out on the spot risk assessments to enable them to decide whether or not to intervene. Councillor Procter added that once the designated barbeque area is in place, his department will be “ruthless on the rest of the Moor” and “shall deploy substantial additional resources to enforce no fires.”

Councillor John Bale was present at the meeting, and has expressed the following views on Councillor Procter’s statement, and on the need to enforce the byelaws :

I’m re-assured by Councillor Procter’s argument. Once the new policy is in place there has to be zero tolerance. Law enforcers always have to exercise discretion, and a rapid risk assessment (e.g. might violence ensue if I try to impose a fine now?) is a necessary part of exercising discretion. But once you start to exercise discretion, if you exercise it in one direction only, you’re back with anarchy.

Our laws and byelaws exist to protect citizens. It would be ludicrous not to enforce the byelaws. The problem is one of perception on the part of residents. Maybe risk assessment means that staff aren’t enforcing. Might it be the case that ParksWatch aren’t taking enforcement measures as they think it’s inflammatory and that the risks are greater with enforcement.

ParksWatch and byelaws are not to oppress but to protect people from nuisance and danger, and the environment. I’m worried that because of the difficulty of dealing with lit barbeques, the reality is that the byelaws are not being enforced. There may be a de facto policy of limited enforcement. If that policy exists, then the law is an ass, as it doesn’t provide the security to the public that the byelaws are meant to provide them with.

The difficulty is how to enforce the byelaws without the cure being worse than the disease. But this doesn’t help the residents affected by the problem. This is similar to the demise of bus conductors. We’ve given up on continuous supervision in the public realm. If people can light barbeques and no one can do anything about it, that’s a problem. From the public’s point of view, it amounts to non-enforcement.

October 4, 2009

PARKS BEFORE BARBEQUES

Filed under: ASB,Byelaws — Kathleen Mason @ 6:28 pm

Quiet contemplation

At the age of three I was taken to Leeds parks to see the animals, to play on the grass, to see the boats and to have an ice-cream.  A little later, I was taken there for a paddle, for a ride on the motor launch, to the fair, to watch Punch and Judy, to listen to the band, to attend Childrens Day, to watch cricket, to go on the childrens playground, to have a picnic, to sledge, to see the flowers, to see and feed the ducks.  Later still Ive gone there to swim, to watch yachting skills, to visit hothouses, to go to the circus.  Later to meet friends, to walk and talk with them, to experience the beauty of a park at night, to sit alone in a park on a bench in the middle of winter and there to contemplate a change of career.  And yet later, Ive gone to Leeds parks, and taken others there for the therapeutic healing which their atmospheres can induce.  Ive pushed invalids in wheelchairs to Leeds parks people with dementia to let them experience again what it is like to be with people out in the open air and all having a good time.  Ive taken my daughter as a child there, a fostered child there, Ive exercised my dog there, Ive taken mobile people with mental problems there and Ive skated on ice there.  Ive flown kites there, played ball there, Ive watched cycle racing there and Ive fished there.

Ive visited Leeds parks for Pop Concerts, Open-Air Theatre shows, Ive wined and dined there, played tennis there, attended dog shows, taken part in sponsored walks, danced there, watched model aircraft being flown there.  Ive rowed boats there, made tree rubbings there, read books and studied there. To get to Leeds parks, Ive trudged, walked, trammed, bussed and car journeyed there.

All of these things hold memories for me that I wouldnt like to be without.  Not one of them interfered with anyone elses enjoyment of any park at any time.  Isnt this the fundamental problem with barbecues?  BARBECUES INTRUDE UPON OTHER PEOPLES LIVES.

(photo courtesy of Photo Gallery)

September 27, 2009

OUTRAGED RESIDENTS WRITE TO THE YEP

Filed under: ASB,Barbeque consultation,LCC — Bill @ 12:04 pm

Yorkshire Post Building

On the 14th August, there was a letter from Headingley resident Luke Blumler saying, like so many of us, that he never received a survey form, and pointing out that if it’s too hard to police an outright ban, that it will be equally impossible to police a ban outside the designated area. On the 31st August, there were letters from Helen Graham, Christopher Todd, Tony Green and Maureen Kershaw. Helen pointed out that it’s ridiculous for the council to say it would be too hard to police a ban, when it’s never tried. Christopher Todd wondered if the council will assess the success of its trial barbeque area by the number of branches pulled off trees. Tony Green made clear that if the byelaws aren’t being policed, it must be because the council doesn’t want them to be policed. And Maureen Kershaw asked why the Lib Dems treat barbequing on the Moor as if it’s some kind of fundamental human right. On the 21st August, there were letters from the five local community groups and local resident Janet Bailey. The community groups were making a last minute plea for the council to drop the scheme, and Janet in her letter warned the Lib Dems that what they are doing will not win them the student vote. In a letter that was published on the 22nd August, Kathleen Mason pointed out the health dangers associated with barbeque smoke, and said that enforcement is the only way to deal with the problem. On the 3rd September, Janet Bailey had a letter published arguing that it’s wrong that the Lib Dems have made barbeques on the Moor a party political issue requiring that all Lib Dem councillors toe the party line. On the 7th September, there were letters from Alan Slomson and Tony Schofield. Alan asked when the council last tried to enforce the existing byelaws, and Tony Schofield from Pudsey said that the way that councillors are ignoring residents on the barbeque issue will determine how he votes in May 2010. Then on the 10th September, there was a letter from me replying to one that had been sent out to residents by the Headingley Lib Dem councillors.

September 6, 2009

BROCKWELL PARK – THE ORIGINAL LIB DEM DRINKING DEN

Filed under: ASB,LCC — Bill @ 2:58 pm

Brockwell Hall

When Councillor Penny Ewens heard that the Lib Dems in Lambeth had a drinking den on Brockwell Park, she decided that she would like Hyde Park and Woodhouse to have one too. So, on the 4th April 2006, she announced that it would be necessary to establish a “drinking den” (to use her own words) in the ward for drinkers who would be displaced from Hanover and Woodhouse Squares as a result of the DPPO that was proposed for the two squares. At the same time, she mentioned that a drinking den had already been established in Lambeth. She didn’t say where it was proposed to locate the drinking den.  However, a few days later, a local resident asked two PCSOs if they knew where the den was to be located. One of them replied “Woodhouse Moor, but the final decision is up to Penny”.  Then, in a report presented to a meeting of the council’s Inner North West Area Committee on the 21st September 2006, the council’s area management team said :

Once the proposed DPPO is in place, the Moor may well attract street drinkers who have been displaced.  The view of the Neighbourhood Policing Team is that the Moor is large enough for street drinkers to not cause a nuisance and regular patrols to the area would keep an eye on the situation.

At the same meeting, Inspector Richard Coldwell said he strongly supported the council’s plan to establish a drinking den on the Moor, and described a similar scheme in Brockwell Park in Lambeth where he said street alcoholics are encouraged to keep to a particular area of the park, screened from the rest of the park by bushes which they use as a toilet, and that having them in one place makes it easier for police and social workers to keep an eye on them – a “multi-agency success story”, he said.

Brockwell Park Drinking Den

We understand that a meeting took place on the Moor, and it was decided that the best location for the den would be in the corner of the park where Wellington’s statue is located. Residents wrote to the to the YEP to protest and emailed councillors with the result that the scheme appears to have been dropped – for the time being.

August 29, 2009

LAMBETH COUNCILLOR RUTH LING ON HOW LAMBETH DEALT WITH A SIMILAR PROBLEM ON CLAPHAM COMMON

Filed under: ASB,Barbeque consultation,Byelaws,LCC — Bill @ 3:30 pm

Councillor Ruth Ling from Lambeth

Commenting on the decision by Lib Dem and Conservative councillors on Leeds City Council’s Exective Board to ignore the wishes of local residents and proceed with a scheme to create barbque areas on Woodhouse Moor, Lambeth councillor Ruth Ling explains how two years ago, Lambeth Council dealt with a similar problem on Clapham Common:

“This decision is a great shame, and very short-sighted. Barbecues do a great deal of harm to the park (or Moor) where they are lit, create a very unpleasant smoky atmosphere for other park users and invariably lead to bones and other food waste being left lying around, which attract rats.

“Although I grew up in Leeds (Ash Grove, Hyde Park), went to school in Headingley, and used to walk across Woodhouse Moor every day to Jacob Kramer Art College and later to my job at Leeds Playhouse, sadly I have been exiled in London for many years. For the past 15 years, I have been a councillor for Clapham Common, where we successfully banned barbecues a couple of years ago without any fuss. I have never received one complaint from anyone unhappy about the decision, nor have I ever heard from any resident of any incidence of the bye-laws being flouted (and we have some extremely active and vocal local amenity groups including the Clapham Society, Friends of Clapham Common and the Clapham Common Management Advisory Committee). Admittedly, we have park rangers to enforce the ban (though the Common is more than three times larger than Woodhouse Moor, at 88 hectares) but I think the real enforcement comes in the £500 fine, which is hefty enough to act as a deterrent.

“For the large Council estates facing onto and close by the Common, this lovely green space is their front garden, and it is always packed on sunny days. Yet people seem happy to take picnics with them, and to eat cold food — there is no need to eat hot food on a warm day! And I think the thousands of people who pack on to the Common on sunny days really appreciate not being smoked out by the few.

“I really hope that Leeds City Council reconsiders its decision and that the Moor is left barbecue-free for the greater enjoyment of the majority. But please sort out the litter problem! Every time I visit my old stamping grounds (as I will this weekend for Carnival), I am shocked at the mess on the Moor. Good luck.”

If only we had a councillor like Ruth here.

August 9, 2009

A CALL FOR STRONG LEADERSHIP

Filed under: ASB,Barbeque consultation,Byelaws,General,LCC — Bill @ 9:42 am

Keith Wakefield

The leader of the Labour group is calling for Leeds City Council to take action against those who damage the park through their anti social behaviour. In a letter to the Yorkshire Evening Post, Councillor Wakefield says that the council’s proposal to legalise barbeques sends out the wrong message. The council is effectively saying to potential lawbreakers that Leeds City Council will reward them by changing the law to make their activities legal.  Councillor Wakefield is calling for there to be strong leadership on the issue of barbeques, and for the existing byelaws to be enforced.

A CALL FROM THE YEP FOR £500 FINES

Filed under: ASB,Barbeque consultation,Byelaws,LCC — Bill @ 9:30 am

A notice on Clapham Common

In a Yorkshire Evening Post editorial, the newspaper has said that the damage being caused by barbeques to the Moor cannot be tolerated any longer. The paper is calling for £500 fines to be imposed on people who have barbeques on the Moor in the same way that people in Lambeth are fined if they have a barbeque in one of the parks down there. Apparently, Lambeth no longer has a barbeque problem in its parks as a result of adopting this policy. The YEP editorial says that the Lambeth approach to the problem is supported by former Labour councillor Gerry Harper. In a separate article in the same edition of the newspaper, Mr Harper says that if it works in Lambeth, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work here.

MORE LETTERS ABOUT THE BARBEQUE PROPOSAL

Filed under: ASB,Barbeque consultation,Byelaws,Letters — Bill @ 9:26 am

Yorkshire Post Building

There have been several more letters complaining about the barbeque consultation. On the 28th July, there was a letter from Robin Melia and Shirley Graham giving numerous reasons why barbeques are a bad idea on the Moor and pointing out that the park is for everyone, and not just the selfish minority who abuse it. Robin and Shirley make clear in their letter that neither they nor anyone they know received a consultation form. Stanley Lewis had a letter published on the 3rd August charging the council with a lack of respect for residents and pointing out that it’s not just the byelaws that they’re not enforcing – they’re not enforcing the DPPO either. Then on the 6th August, there were letters from Mel Rose and Keith Wakefield. Mel was asking for some clear thinking on this issue and pointing out we already have a solution to the problem – the existing byelaws. Councillor Wakefield in his letter calls for strong leadership and enforcement of the byelaws.

Next Page »