Police are asking whether benches on Armley Town Street should be removed.
They say the benches outside William Hill attract problems with abusive street drinkers and are calling for the council to remove them.
Shoppers and businesses in Armley are being asked to contact police and local community organisation All Together Armley with their views.
Sgt Chris Craven from Pudsey Police said:
“After numerous correspondence over the year it is clear street drinking has had a negative impact on both the community and businesses around the ‘William Hill’ benches, with immediate businesses reporting an unbearable and unpleasant environment which is directly effecting their business and customers and staff are feeling intimidated.
“A high proportion of complainants report the area as intimidating with more people feeling vulnerable to crime, prompting them not to use Town Street.”
Sgt Craven said street drinking was a complicated issue to resolve but said co-ordinated, individual tailored support packages were in place to help street drinkers make a long-term change to their lives. He said long-term strategies are being developed to develop early intervention programmes to end the cycle of street drinking.
Comments about the benches can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or people can call into the new police contact point in Armley Post Office on Wednesdays 10am-11am to speak to local officers.
In July 2015 one trader, who runs the ‘Mr Moti-vapor’ shop on Town Street, called for more action after suffering abuse from drinkers who congregate on a bench outside. But people attending the Armley Forum meeting voted against his request to have the bench removed.
The Dispatch last month ran a quick poll on Twitter which showed most people were in favour of keeping them.
Police pushing for removal of benches on Town Street as they're a magnet for trouble #armleyforum Good idea?
— West Leeds Dispatch (@WLDispatch) September 20, 2016
What do you think? Should the benches be removed or retained? Have your say in our just for fun poll below and post your comments.
Good to see the police say that they’re trying to do lots of other things to sort out the problems and that there is support for the street drinkers to access. I’d imagine they’re a difficult bunch to reach. This kind of approach must surely be the way forward?
Have to say I don’t support removing the benches – weren’t they paid for as part of the Heritage Lottery bid to improve Town Street? There must be other ways 9of dealing with this situation. It’s a sad indictment of our society (and the police) that the only way we can deal with these problems are by taking away street furniture for all.
What kind of message does this send out anyway. Come to Armley for a great day (just don’t expect to sit down anywhere because we’re frightened you might crack open a can of Carling)…
I vote no, leave them!
The banks attract armed robbers – should the police close them down? The police are there to catch criminals not interfere with street furniture!
We should ALL have a ‘sit in’ where normal people sit on the bench for an hour whenever they’re on Town Street. Try to reclaim them!!!!!
I agree with Dan and Charlotte. Taking benches punishes everyone and isn’t it better to deal with the actual problem? There are indicators of ‘bad’ areas and getting rid of benches in Armley just sends out the signal that this is not a place you’d want to linger.