Rubbish, young people, the census and South Leeds Life were all on the agenda when the Council’s Inner South Area Committee met last night. The committee, made up of our nine ward Councillors, met at St Matthew’s Community Centre in Holbeck.
Prostitution was the first topic of debate. It wasn’t on the agenda, but was raised by a local resident in the Open Forum section of the meeting when members of the public can raise questions about any matter of concern.
The Police reported on a new initiative to tackle street prostitution in Holbeck. They explained that they had been working with the Crown Prosecution Service and that in future women who are arrested and convicted will have to seek help from support agencies to get out of prostitution. Meanwhile suspected curb crawlers will be given an order under anti-social behaviour powers. If they persist and are given a second order, their vehicle will be seized.
One of the areas of council work delegated to local control by the Area Committee is Environmental Services. Their report highlighted an increase in frequency of street sweeping and a pilot project on the Cottingley Hall estate to improve bin collections. They have also received funding from the Housing Revenue Account to recruit a new team to work on council housing estates in the area. This new team has been recruited in the main from local unemployed people and they will work in areas close to where they live.
The Area Committee also have increasing control over the provision of Youth Services in the area. Cllr Angela Gabriel revealed early plans to hold an event where young people themselves can discuss the services they would like to see provided in the future. There are also plans to compile a directory of all services and activities – council and voluntary – available to young people in south Leeds.
Although the Census happened nearly two years ago, detailed data is still being released. The committee debated a report which highlighted issues that won’t come as a surprise to most of us. The Inner South area has seen a growth in population of 25% between 2001 and 2011 compared to growth of 5% for whole of Leeds. Our population is also more diverse and although the single biggest ethnic group is “Pakistani” (4.3%), there are more “Other White” people in the area (5.7%). Of course the vast majority of the population are still “White British” at 72.8%. The discussion also highlighted the difference within the area and the need for good information at a much more local level.
Finally, the meeting heard a report from Health For All about our sister publication, South Leeds Life magazine, which had received funding from the Area Committee. The Councillors were very supportive and would like to see the magazine revived. Pat McGeever from Health For All explained that had been unsuccessful in attracting funding, but were continuing make applications to various funding bodies.
The next meeting of the Area Committee will be on Wednesday 4th September in Middleton.