Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves was ‘overwhelmed by the fantastic turn out’ to a meeting aimed at getting to the bottom of issues facing Armley Town Street, writes Lilly Marchesi.
But she admitted the large crowd was also testament to the size of the problem.
Following a survey held earlier in the summer to outline key issues locals wanted to see improved in the area, the Leeds West MP arranged the public meeting as the next stage of the Armley Town Street Revival Plan. Ms Reeves said:
“The overwhelming feeling at the meetings is that things could be an awful lot better than they are today. There was some specific complaints about street drinking and anti social behaviour and some really horrible things like people urinating in public and gangs congregating and intimidating residents.”
However she said the meeting was a sign of progress and how the community as a whole can help improve the local high-street with the help of local councillors and the policing team.
Many residents recalled what Armley used to be like and how it could still be and how they would like it to be. Ms Reeves said:
“Our job now as people that live and work here and represent the area is to try and take the best of what is Armley and make it overall a good place to be.
“It can be done and we’ve had some fantastic ideas tonight about residents reclaiming Town Street and making it a fun place for children and families by holding community events in the area more often.”
On the subject Ms Reeves said she felt the local policing team had been very honest during the meeting about the cuts to their services which have made it harder for them to have the kind of street presence residents wanted in order to feel safe.
However she said she was pleased to hear that the police have taken action on six people who they believe are the ring leaders in Armley by issuing injunctions. She said:
“This is the kind of tough action we need because people have had to put up with rubbish for too long in Armley and the good people who live and work here should be able to go to the shop or to work without feeling intimidated.”
At the end of the meeting Ms Reeves expressed her gratitude for the numbers that filled Armley ibrary and who spoke out during the meeting.
She told West Leeds Dispatch that her next action would be to get the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, Mark Burns-Williamson to hear how bad things have gotten for some people in Armley and hear directly from them the problems facing Town Street.
What do you think? Have your say in the comments section below.