A new planning application has been submitted to change an unused residential caretakers building at 1 Sydenham Street, off Domestic Street in Holbeck, to office use and counselling and education/training support services use. At first site this sounds pretty innocuous until you start to dig a bit deeper.
The applicant is a charitable organisation called Joanna – a Leeds-based charity outreach and support project that works with vulnerable and hard to reach women who are trapped in street prostitution and life controlling addiction. The aim is to set up a drop-in centre for prostitutes there. The building is less than 200 yards from nearby residential housing.
I live in the nearby housing and I am secretary of the local residents association. I am extremely annoyed and upset at the prospect of more prostitutes being drawn in to the area to make use of the services provided there. I have personally been involved in the campaign to rid our streets of prostitutes since 2004 and in recent times the police and other authorities seem to have done a very good job in reducing the blight on our area. However, figures from 2004 suggested there were 170 or more prostitutes on the streets in Leeds; Joanna has estimated a figure of more than 250 now.
I am further outraged by the lack of prior information and the timing of this application:
- Council officers have known for some time about this development and have been advising the organisation about the matter prior to when the application was submitted on 12 December. They have not spoken to the local people about it.
- The site notice and advert was published on the council website on Thursday 19 December. The public notice will go on view around the property on 24 December with comments/objections required by 14 January. In my opinion, this has been deliberately arranged over the holiday period to reduce its impact and the desire and opportunity for people to put forward their objections.
I hope that readers of the blog potentially affected by this planning application will make their voices heard.
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