Long-running community bonfire in Rawdon axed by council

Rawdon councillor Graham Latty said residents had been left feeling upset about the council's intervention.
Rawdon councillor Graham Latty said residents had been left feeling upset about the council's intervention.
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A community bonfire that has been held on the same site in north Leeds for at least 30 years has been dismantled for health and safety reasons.

The annual spectacle is organised by the community in Rawdon and Little London and was due to take place as usual on council land adjoining Micklefield Park.

Micklefield Park, Rawdon (Google)

Micklefield Park, Rawdon (Google)

However, Rawdon councillor Graham Latty confirmed that Leeds Council workers were dispatched to the site on Thursday and removed the firewood, leaving local residents involved in the bonfire deflated.

Coun Latty said: “Residents of Little London and Rawdon have held the bonfire for at least the last 30 years on a piece of ground that is part of Micklefield Park and being a part of Micklefield Park it is council land.

“Effectively they have held this fire and people from all round and about come, behaved responsibly, have had extinguishers, kept an eye on the kids and had a bit of food but it seems they have never had permission from the council and I would imagine in some ways it’s understandable. It is a place that looks more like a field than a park.”

Coun Latty said he had been told that the bonfire had been brought to the attention of someone at Leeds Council this week, prompting the Parks department to dismantle this year’s stack of wood before the event could take place.

“That’s really upset local people,” Coun Latty said.

“There were no attempts made to find out who had put the bonfire there to ask them what they were doing. I’m not saying that would have changed anything but local people would have felt better had that have happened. There are plenty of houses round and about that they could have knocked on a door at.”

Coun Latty said he and his fellow ward councillors had written to the Council in an attempt to broker talks in the future so that the situation could be discussed before Bonfire Night next year.

He added: “The council have acted in the only way they could, which doesn’t help local people. We are ward councillors and we are here to represent the people of the ward and try to do things for them but we have to do it within the legal rules of the council.”