In accordance with paragraphs 4.16 and 4.17 of the Community Committee Procedure Rules, at the discretion of the Chair a period of up to 10 minutes may be allocated at each ordinary meeting for members of the public to make representations or to ask questions on matters within the terms of reference of the Community Committee. This period of time may be extended at the discretion of the Chair. No member of the public shall speak for more than three minutes in the Open Forum, except by permission of the Chair.
In order to facilitate the Open Forum whilst Community Committees were being held remotely, the process had been adapted so that members of the public were able to submit written representations in advance of the meeting on any matter which fell within the Committee’s terms of reference. Now that meetings resume in person, approximately 12 local residents attended the meeting and were invited to make representations.
Councillor N Walshaw commented on the rise in anti-social behaviour issues affecting the Headingley and Hyde Park area and proposed that a forum be arranged that will include Community Committee Members, residents’ groups, Universities of Leeds, relevant responsible authorities, West Yorkshire Police, landlords and Faith Leader. The Chair requested that a Terms of Reference for the forum be established. Community Committee Members unanimously agreed to this approach and it was noted that details regarding confirmed representatives, the venue and dates will be confirmed in due course.
The Community Committee noted a deferred representation from the meeting held 15th July 2021, the submission was received from Leeds Residents Anti-Social Behaviour Group and read:
The Headingley and Hyde Park area have over 10,000 HMO, Student properties.Due to students been exempt from paying Council tax rates, the Council receives a subsidy from the government to cover the loss of Council tax rates on these 10,000 HMO Properties. Can this subsidy be ring fenced for Headingley and Hyde Park area to help go towards the cost of providing enhanced council services in the area e.g., Extra ASB Teams, street cleaning and refuse collections, removing graffiti etc to help to try and improve the area that council rate payers have to live in.
A written response will be provided to the Leeds Residents Anti-Social Behaviour Group, as well as a briefing note provided by Central Finance that will also be shared with members regarding compensation given to Leeds City Council in relation to student exemptions for Council Tax.
Residents from the Headingley and Hyde Park area, raised a number of issues relating to ASB and highlighted the following matters:
· The limitation of resources to tackle issues with students in the locality, mainly relating to noise and broader issues regarding the ‘Otley Run’. Residents felt that the issues they’re facing, are having a detrimental impact on their mental health;
· The ownership of Leeds Universities for their students, and clarity on additional funding provided by Universities for additional security measures;
· Concerns were relayed regarding the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in Headingley, and Hyde Park not being enforced, and residents queried whether there are any patrols in the area;
· Issues surrounding Headingley Cricket Ground in relation to urination, drugs, and coaches parking across residents’ drives. Additionally, it was commented that there are a lack of marshals patrolling the area and increased noise issues when the stadium is hosting events such as boxing. Further to this, Councillor A Garthwaite explained that following conversations with the Cricket Ground, it was confirmed that additional marshalling will be provided, and anti-urination paint will be used.
John McKimmings, ASB Team Manager responded to the variety of issues raised and confirmed matters can be picked up more widely in the proposed ASB forum. John outlined the role of the PSPO and how they’re enforced, as well as confirming that the police have carried out seizes and challenged groups of people causing issues.
Sarah McLean, Coordinator for Litter Free Leeds was in attendance and read out her written submission as follows:
Hyde Park is one of the areas in Leeds that is suffering from gross neglect which is resulting in anti-social behaviour. Can the Inner North West Area Committee please provide an update on why enforcement action appears not to be taking place and to provide a detailed report on what action they do intend to take to turn around what is a failing area within the City.
The issue is clear –
· Bins not being emptied on a regular basis resulting in them overflowing onto the pavements. One student house claimed that their bins hadn’t been collected since July.
· Rotting bags of food waste left by the side of waste bins attracting foxes and vermin who break into them and disperse the contents more widely
· A couple of Litter Free Leeds volunteers have taken it upon themselves to try and tidy up the area, but this is unsustainable mainly due to the unacceptable level of overflowing bins
· The large recycling bins in certain parts of Hyde Park fill up very quickly and the contents again spill out onto the pavements
· The Council litter bins are in the main in a very poor condition and certainly don’t look welcoming and inviting to use to dispose of litter
· Discarded cigarette butts, broken glass and fast-food packaging can be seen everywhere
· The presence of so much graffiti is also increasing littering in that it generally weakens the establishment of anti-littering norms and attracts drug dealers to the area
· Bin stores are again very neglected and are used as dumping grounds for unwanted items with no-one appearing to take responsibility for them again showing signs of urban disorder and neighbourhood decay
· Paths and paving are full of weeds again showing signs of neglect.
The whole area needs to be drastically improved to ensure a safe place to live, visit and work.
John Woolmer, Chief Officer Environmental Services (LCC) was in attendance to respond to the submission provided by the Coordinator for Litter Free Leeds and confirmed a written response will be provided to Sarah outside of the meeting. John explained that there are a number of matters that need addressing, and it was confirmed there is already particular focus in the Headingley and Hyde Park area. It was acknowledged that a re-design of routes on a city-wide basis are being considered, as well as considerations around smaller refuse vehicles, electric vehicles, and additional staff. It was confirmed that the Inner North West Community Committee area will be an initial priority as well as high-rise properties and the Harehills area. John suggested to attend the proposed forum in relation to ASB.
a) To note the submissions provided, written and oral, together with the information provided on behalf of Environmental Services and the Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team.
b) To note that, in conjunction with Community Committee members and the relevant parties referenced above, a forum will be arranged and Chaired by Councillor N Walshaw to discuss a range of ASB issues, particularly in the Headingley and Hyde Park area. Details will be confirmed in due course with the intention of the first meeting be held in October 2021.
(Councillor C Howley vacated the meeting at 19:40, during consideration of this item)