Children's playground near Lightwaves Leisure Centre in Wakefield being 'used as beer garden'

A children's play area has been closed off because of broken glass and drunks using it as a "beer garden", a local councillor has claimed.

Friday, 19th November 2021, 9:54 am
The area's issues with drink and drugs have spilled over onto the playground.

Lower York Street, behind Lightwaves Leisure Centre in Wakefield, has been troubled by booze and drug-fuelled crime in recent years.

Families are now being put off taking their kids to the street's small playground, Wakefield East councillor Stuart Heptinstall said.

Councillor Heptinstall made the remarks as he objected to a new food outlet's application for an alcohol licence, citing fears the problems may get worse.

Councillor Heptinstall objected to the licences on the grounds the booze-related problems may get worse.

Boar Home Dining has opened up nextdoor to the playground, where a fish and chip shop previously stood.

The diner, which sells a wide variety of hot food, has asked for permission to sell alcohol between noon and midnight, though on Sunday last orders would be at 11pm.

They've also asked for a late-night refreshment licence which will allow them to serve food after 11pm.

But in his written objection, Labour's Councillor Heptinstall said: "This area of Ward 16 (Wakefield East) has been plagued by anti-social behaviour for a number of years.

Lower York Street runs behind Lightwaves Leisure Centre.

"The children's play park has been locked off due to the presence of broken glass bottles in the play area.

"In fact, the presence of drunken people using the park as a beer garden is a deterrent to any family.

"Those residents living in close proximity to the above address should not be exposed to any further anti-social behaviour caused by the drinking of alcohol in the area.

"For the reasons above and the welfare of residents, I object to the application."

Lower York Street was one of several roads in the area where human faeces were being left in people's front gardens last year, prompting a police investigation.

Coun Heptinstall also said on a recent litter pick he'd "found a man in shrubs totally drunk (and) surrounded by empty beer cans just 100 metres" away from where the diner is based.

He added, however, that he'd spoken to the owner of the premises and been told that those running the diner were "of good character and would not allow malpractice".

In its application for the licences, Boar Home Dining said CCTV would be installed at the premises to prevent crime and that customers will be asked to leave quietly.

A hearing will take place on Tuesday to decide whether or not the licences should be granted.

Local Democracy Reporting Service