‘I love Armley, but I’m disillusioned’

3 May 2016

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There’s been much talk of Armley being ‘on the up’ recently – injunctions issued to tackle street drinkers, new community groups formed and plans put in place for festivals, flower groups and a whole host of community orientated stuff. There’s even talk of Armley becoming the new Chapel Allerton.

But Burnsall Grange resident Elaine Holdsworth tells the Dispatch that the area’s problems are yet to be tackled …

I don’t want to be negative – I love Armley – but the truth is I am disillusioned.

I moved here to Burnsall Grange just off Town Street seven years ago and slowly, over the years, the anti-social behaviour has grown worse, both on Town Street and within the block.

At first I wasn’t sure what we should do about it. I always thought if you found the right person and complained in the right way the problems would be sorted out.

We contacted the Housing Office, the local councillors, the anti-social behaviour team, spoke to the police, went to the Armley Forum meetings … but as yet nothing has improved.

There’s been a lot of publicity regarding Town Street, mainly the six injunction orders to stop individuals street drinking on Town Street and how this is turning things around. The truth is though this isn’t the case, and I want the general public to see beyond the spin you see in the papers.

The point is the injunctions are clearly not working, at least three of them come and go as they please. I see them on a daily basis. One of them urinates in frount of the flats, we have even seen him deficate.

I felt I needed to do something if I was going to criticise, so I contacted the anti-social behaviour team. I now understand that with the exception of one, these injunctions come with no power of arrest. To help them take further action I have kept diaries, been happy to give evidence and sworn affidavits, all with the hope that we can improve Town Street.

The anti-social behaviour team can spend months putting cases together, but then it all depends on the magistrate on the day.

The truth is the magistrates are often too lenient. If the enforement isn’t there from them, how do we solve the problems on Town Street?

I know the street drinkers need help, but I also know that at least one has refused all offers of help.

There are good things happening in Armley, thanks to its residents, the All Together Armley group, Armley Good Stuff and I’m sure others are doing everything they can to help improve the area.

However the underlying problem of anti-social behaviour remains,and from where I stand despite the spin, nobody seem to have the power to do anything about it.

The truth is Armley still has a long way to go…

What do you think? Have your say in the comments below.




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Comment on this article

Jonaco says:

Completely agree, I’ve only lived in Armley for 8 months but I can see Armley is not at the same standard as other neighborhoods in Leeds and needs regenerating as it has so much potential to be a great place to live

Leonard mccoy says:

Spot on sadly. There’s been a lot of spin on a subject that frankly should have been tackled years ago.

How long have Chapel A and Headingley had cumulative impact policies, for eg, in place? Exactly! YEARS!!! And we are still waiting for ours.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great things ARE happening in the area at last but fewer press releases until things have actually happened and made a difference are in order from the powers that be.

(And more scrutiny from local media, including the normally brilliant WL Dispatch, wouldn’t go amiss!).

sb says:

I have lived in Armley all my life and have seen the sad decline of Town street over the last few years to the point where I don’t think there is a point where it can return to its former self….the local councillors should be ashamed of themselves for letting this decline happen and continue.
Even the last supermarket has pulled out and what comes in its place…Poundland….that says it all really !
I noticed yesterday that another two shops selling European foods and alcohol have opened….thought we were trying to discourage drinking ?

town street would also benefit from a damn good clean !

councillors need to get their act together

Carol says:

The street drinkers now stand at the back of the shops, in front of Amber cars. I’ve seen them a few times when I’ve gone to park round there. I can’t understand why anyone would want to stand outside and get drunk anyway.
Why can’t they be arrested?

ELAINE HOLDSWORTH says:

To answer your question Carol ,It is not an arrestable offence,the police can only request that they pour away any alcohol from an open can. The Antisocial behaviour team cant help unless you can give them a name,even then, at best they get an exclusion order,which they then ignore,as you have read in my article.
I went onto Town St 1.45pm today
three guys drunk,and still drinking, including one with an injunction. This is why I said nobody seems to have the powers to do anything.

However, I am encouraged by the comments,and that some others feel the same. I certainly agree with LEONARD MCCOY that more scrutiny is needed. Perhaps a good follow up article, would be to pose the question to all agencies and councillors involved with Town Street, just what can you do regarding the anti-social behaviour? all I get is there are no easy answers.

Dan says:

I may be mistaken, but can they not serve an anti-social behaviour order on an individual, and a breach of that order (i.e. further anti-social behaviour) is an arrestable offence.

David says:

If Armley was a football team then 30 years ago they’d have been in the Premier League. These days they’re playing Sunday football. Time to sack the manager?

ann says:

Totally agree! lots of residents are disillusioned & are sick of hearing the”spin”& NOTHING changing!