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Hyde Park

31st October 2003

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Hyde Park in inner-city Leeds is introduced to us as one of the most �neglected� communities in Britain. The film looks at the separation of the people from their politicians.

As one couple, Kevin and Julie remark, �[There is] no interest in who comes in or who goes out [of political power]� because it doesn�t change.�

On polling day in May 2002, only 18% of the residents bothered to turn up to vote. Simon tells us that the Council�s money is going elsewhere rather than trying to �put respect into the area.�

Recently �185,000 was spent on regeneration of the area; but �64 million was spent on building the Millenium Square in Central Leeds. "That�s why people don�t vote no more,� explains Simon.

The residents look at the state of the community. Mary shows us the boarded-up homes. Kids from Hyde Park Estate tell us of the needles and drugs that they have found in the park.

Andy Mace, the Community Police Officer, talks of the massive crime problem in the area. There is �nothing for kids to do,� says Kevin and they turn to petty crimes, such as vandalism.

And what of the students in the area? 70% of Hyde Park is now student accomodation which adds to the local residents feelings of being disconnected with their area. Barbara laments the �departure of all the families� from the area and Pat talks of a conspiracy to "push us out�.

The perceived wealth of the students - as they arrive with their parents in �flashy BMWs� makes them easy pickings for criminals in the area, according to Andy Mace, the Community Police Officer.

Students themselves speak of the difficulties they face living in such a poor area.

As Martin Hamilton, Liberal Democrat candidate, wins the election at the polling station, there is little feeling that much will change for the struggling residents of Hyde Park. �The poor are just going to get poorer,� says Pat, �and if you�re in a council house that�s where you�re staying.�

Organisations

Electoral Reform Society
Campaigns to get more people voting and works to make it easier to vote.

Follow the links to view similar stories:
Environment/Regeneration, Justice/Citizenship

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