Three Leeds University students are organising a march through Woodhouse Moor as part of a renewed campaign for the park to be lit up.
Mira Mookerjee, Licie Gowshall and Alice Parrington are currently building a proposal to present to Leeds City Council in hopes of securing certain safety measures for the area, including lighting, CCTV and night time patrols.
The three students have recently opened a ‘Improvements for Woodhouse Moor’ Facebook account and created an event page for the march, in which over 1800 people have confirmed attendance, in hopes of strengthening their campaign.
The march will be taking place on 19th November at 17:30 and will involve attendees walking through the park carrying a variety of lights.
Mira Mookerjee, a second year English and Russian Civilisation student and one of the organisers of the event, told The Gryphon: “the event on the 19th of November is a demonstration, aiming to raise awareness for our cause – to reclaim Woodhouse Moor, removing the sense of fear the surrounds the area at night and reducing crime rates”
“Another important aim of ours is to find answers to the many questions surrounding the lack of safety measures in the park. This is a topic that’s been discussed for years but a lot of people feel that the decision to leave the park unlit, with no CCTV or regular nighttime patrols has been made without explanation”
Miss Mookerjee added, “we are approaching the project with open minds and welcome criticism, we will not rush into anything we don’t feel we have researched to a high standard. The campaign is not just for the benefit of students, it’s for anyone who calls Leeds ‘home’”.
In a publicity statement on their Facebook event, the organisers have also explained that they will be filming the march for evidence of support of the cause and that they are currently in talks with experts from across the world, ranging from government officials to criminal psychologists, to gather advice that they hope will also strengthen their proposal.
Responding to news of the campaign, Leeds University Union Community Officer Jonny Foster told The Gryphon: “It is great that student safety is high on the agenda and I encourage students to think proactively about how their safety could be improved”
“However, unfortunately lighting up Hyde Park is not the safest option. It could see more students using this as a shortcut home late at night…and this won’t actually make them any safer…in fact it could increase the risks as it could give a false sense of security”
“Our advice, if you walk home – is sticking to well lit paths near main roads, other houses and maybe shops- this is far safer because if someone is the victim of an attack, their shouts can attract attention and help from others far quicker than if something happens in the middle of a park”.
Earlier this year, former History student Ravi Mistry submitted a proposal to the LUU Student Forum, calling for the Union to lobby Leeds City Council to light up the park. The proposal faced strong criticism from many students as well as former LUU Community Officer George Bradley, and was rejected upon reaching the forum.