Fears for women’s safety as controversial plans to light Leeds park resurface – YEP

Fears for women’s safety as controversial plans to light Leeds park resurface – YEP

The Yorkshire Evening Post has published an article about the latest plans to light the paths on Woodhouse Moor. Here is some of what it says:

“A volunteer group has spoken out after plans to light a Leeds park path resurfaced.

The Friends of Woodhouse Moor group has warned the move, scrapped following an initial proposal decades ago, would create “a false sense of security” for those walking through the park at night.

In 1992, a deputation of women from Leeds University Students’ Union asked Leeds City Council not to proceed with plans to light the paths across Woodhouse Moor, over fears that lighting the paths would increase the perception that the paths were safe to use at night.

But there is now speculation that plans to light the park could resurface following a park artwork project launched by the University of Leeds in response to a safety study.

Speaking ahead of the art project, Mayor Brabin said: “We are determined to create a safer, fairer region and that means ending violence against women and girls.

The research identified several barriers preventing women and girls from using their local parks, including inadequate access routes, poorly lit areas, and male dominated public spaces that feel intimidating and exclusive.

Speaking to the YEP, Bill McKinnon, Chair of the Friends of Woodhouse Moor, said: “Initially everyone thinks ‘oh that’s a good idea and will make the park safer’ but it can lead to a false sense of security walking through an otherwise dark park.

“People walking along the lit paths become potential victims to wrongdoers hiding in the shadows so unless you are lighting the entire park, you don’t actually increase safety.”

Mr McKinnon added: “It only takes an extra two to three minutes to walk around the park at night as opposed to walking across it. In this way, people can avoid the dangers associated with crossing the park at night.

“And by so doing, they would be helping to preserve the darkness which the park’s flora and fauna need to thrive.””

You can read the entire article here.

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