A group of Huddersfield town centre traders are demanding action to stop drug users and homeless people using a shared yard off Railway Street.
The businesses say repeated efforts to keep the yard clean and tidy are being undermined by people who use the area to sleep rough, relieve themselves, take drugs and rifle through bins – leaving behind litter, syringes and even human faeces.
Other items dumped in the yard, which can be accessed from Railway Street via Temple Close, include a mattress, a wooden pallet, plastic bottles, takeaway food containers and cardboard boxes.
Pippa Ashton, who runs The Little Kitchen in Railway Street, said: “All the companies around there have paid to get it cleaned up on two or three occasions and within hours it is back to ‘normal.’
“It has been going on – on and off – for the last two years. People are sleeping rough in the air conditioning units and it is a very big place for drugs. There are needles and people empty the bins every night. People have been drinking and because there are no public toilets they are using it to do everything. There are rats around there now.”
She said the solution would be for Kirklees to put gates at the arched entrance into Temple Close and fit CCTV cameras, but added: “They don’t have the cash. The police have been involved and come and check for a couple of weeks. But it’s all down to us.”
She said misuse of the yard was taking place between 6pm and 9pm after businesses had closed. “We have tried locking the bins and putting chains on them, but people are cutting the chains and rifling through the rubbish.”
Charles Webb, of AR Events, said: “Temple Close is a public road that goes to the back of the buildings. Our properties have shared access to the area behind and the council empties our bins.
“We get it cleaned periodically, but it is just as bad again soon after. You clear up and someone has been rifling through the bins again. We have had vagrants lighting fires. You can see the scorch marks.”
Gareth Wall, of TAG Hair Design in Westgate, who contributed £300 to a clean-up of the yard, said: “We have girls aged 16 to 20 and they are uneasy about going round the back to put things in the bins. Every time we go round the back there are rough sleepers, drug users and rats. It is full of household waste.”
The Examiner has contacted Kirklees Council for comment.