The UK’s first legal red light district is set to be scrapped, following years of complaints from local residents.
A ‘Managed Approach’ to prostitution was introduced in Holbeck, Leeds in 2014, allowing prostitutes to operate without fear of arrest between 8pm and 6am.
The zone was paused in March 2020 due to the pandemic, and Leeds Council says the decision to retire the scheme follows a “significant” reduction in the number of prostitutes working in the area.
‘Harassing ordinary citizens’
Dennis Kitchen, chair of the Holbeck Neighbourhood Forum, which campaigned for the zone to be scrapped, said that pausing the scheme during the pandemic had made a difference, but that scrapping it altogether is “a big step”.
He said: “We want to make sure that any punters coming to the area know the zone’s closed and it’s a ‘no go’ area.
“We don’t want men coming in and harassing ordinary citizens, which is what has been happening.”
Leeds City Councillor for Beeston and Holbeck, Andrew Scopes, told the Institute the move was “good news” for the area, and comes after the Council had taken on board the concerns of local residents.
He added that help for women to “exit prostitution, get housed, and get into employment, along with the extra police in the area will remain in place”.