A second pond has appeared on Woodhouse Moor. Its location is near the corner of the park adjacent to the former Grammar School. It’s next to the pond which appeared about fifteen years ago. The heavy vehicles driving onto the Moor to deliver metal barriers for the annual bonfire have crushed and destroyed the Victorian clay pipe drainage system. This drainage system was laid in the 1860s, at vast expense, by Leeds City Council, in order to transform the area from the bog it was into a public amenity park. Leeds City Council, by its actions now, is destroying what was so carefully and so expensively achieved 150 years ago.
The man who designed Sefton Park in Liverpool, also drew up a plan for a formal park on Woodhouse Moor. His name was Edouard André and he prepared the plan at the request of the Leeds Town Clerk in 1868. Apparently he drew up the plan in collaboration with someone called Lewis Hornblower, who also worked with him on the plan for Sefton Park.
New railings have appeared at the corner of the park near the Wellington Statue. These have been installed to encourage the grass to grow back over the bare earth that has been tramped over every day by the many hundreds of people who prefer to take a shortcut that only saves seconds, rather than keep to the path. The railings make this corner of the park look very smart indeed. Well done Parks and Countryside!
The building on the Moor now occupied by Akmal’s Tandoori Bistro used to be a shelter for the Woodhouse Moor Veterans’ Association. The establishment of shelters for veterans in Leeds parks dates from 1922. By the 1930s, all Leeds’ parks had a shelter for veterans. There was even a Leeds Federation of Park Shelters.
The Woodhouse Moor Veterans’ Association had previously occupied a more basic shelter that was located in the middle of the Moor. In 1933, the Association began to raise funds for a new shelter, and approached house builder Frank Thompson for an estimate. According to Tony Shelton in his article, “Dream Builders: The Thompsons of Golden Acre,” the builder later said, “I quoted them nothing. I thought it was a very worthy cause.”
Whereas the original plan for the building was that it should be built in the old English style, the building which actually got built in 1935 was in a style of its own. The original design was subsequently used for a building that was erected on an island in the lake at the pleasure garden Frank Thompson created called “Golden Acre” (now Golden Acre Park between Adel and Bramhope).
Following a period of disuse, between 1983 and 1986 the shelter was the home of ‘Pavilion’, a women’s photography centre. In 1996 it was used as a cafe called Dubterranean. Since 1998 it’s been a curry house called “Akmal’s Tandoori Bistro.”
Leeds City Council has introduced a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for Woodhouse Moor which is effective from 20 October 2017.
PSPOs deal with a particular nuisance in a defined public space where this is having a negative impact on the quality of life for those in that public space. Before introducing PSPOs the council had to apply the ‘test’ for a PSPO, this being:
the behaviour being restricted has to:
A PSPO lasts for a maximum of three years and can be renewed if necessary. Failure to comply with an order can result in a Fixed Penalty Notice of up to £100 or a maximum fine of £1000.
Leeds City Council’s PSPOs address issues around alcohol, Psychoactive Substances and ‘household wastes’.
Before introducing Public Space Protection Orders, Leeds City Council carried out statutory consultation as set out by the Home Office.
(taken from Leeds City Council’s website)
Allotments were established on Woodhouse Moor in February 1917. These were all completely removed in 1923. Allotments were re-established in March 1940 as part of the “Dig for Victory” campaign. These were removed in 1953, and replaced by a smaller area comprising 92 allotments. The council said that these were temporary and would be removed when the emergency (rationing) was over. They are still in place today.
The barbecue warden is seen here with a colleague patrolling the park in his buggy, ensuring that no one attempts to have a barbecue. Some may have forgotten what a scourge barbeques were until 2010, when Labour took control of the council and began to enforce the bylaw prohibiting barbeques. Prior to that, in fine weather, there were hundreds of barbeques every day, with the attendant mess having to be cleared the next day by parks staff. It usually took them all morning. Left behind were scorched grass and quite often, the remains of large bonfires which had been fuelled by branches torn from trees and park benches. In 2008, the fire brigade were called out over fifty times at a total cost of more than £100k to extinguish fires caused by poorly disposed-of barbeques.
The skatepark is, as it always is, covered in graffiti. It should either be:
And what are our councillors doing about the problem? As much as you can see with your eyes closed.