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.
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 – email@example.com
Neil Walshaw – firstname.lastname@example.org
Al Garthwaite – email@example.com
Little London and Woodhouse councillors
Kayleigh Brooks – firstname.lastname@example.org
Abigail Marshal Katung – email@example.com
Javaid Akhtar – firstname.lastname@example.org
The Executive Member for Parks
Mohammed Rafique – email@example.com
The Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing
Rebecca Charlwood – firstname.lastname@example.org
The Officer in charge of Parks and Countryside
Sean Flesher – email@example.com
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?
An illegal rave took place last night on Woodhouse Moor. Volunteers and council workers spent this morning clearing up the mess. Local resident and chair of South Headingley Community Association, Sue Buckle said, “I have never seen so many nitrous oxide cylinders. There were hundreds.” She added, “It’s really frustrating and depressing when people treat it as if it’s their own place, trash it and then get up and leave.”
You can read more about what happened in Leeds Live.
An organisation connected to the English Defence League, known as ‘The UK Freedom Movement,” is planning events across the country to protest against the Covid-19 restrictions. On Thursday, Jayda Fransen, a former leader of the anti-Muslim group Britain First, publicised a month old YouTube channel called “The British Freedom Movement.” Fransen is the sole director of a company created on the 30th April called Freedom Movement Ltd.
As part of the nationwide protest, events are planned to begin at 12 noon tomorrow Saturday 16th May on Woodhouse Moor and Middleton Park. Posters invite people to bring a picnic and music, and to say “no” to the Coronavirus Bill.
The police have said that they will break up the anti-lockdown protests amidst warnings that the events could be exploited by the far right.
The gatherings would contravene the government’s advice on social distancing to limit the spread of coronavirus. The Coronavirus Bill, officially known as the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, states that the police have the power to fine people £100 for refusing to follow the regulations. The fine doubles to £200 for a second and subsequent offences, to a maximum of £3,200.
You can read more about the people behind the protests in this Guardian article.