Iconic Leeds bar crawl The Otley Run could be ‘scrapped’

It’s the most famous bar crawl in Leeds, pulling in sports fans from far and wide to take place in the legendary Headingley pub crawl – but now it appears The Otley Run is under threat after some neighbours have raised concerns.

With eighteen pubs on the route, it’s quite the challenge – and has become something of a famous rite of passage for the city’s students, who can often be seen spotted taking part in wild and wacky fancy dress costumes.

And yet, over the past few years concerns from locals have continued to grow about the event – with some venues even going so far as to ban Otley runners from coming in when they’re doing the pub crawl.

Last week, it all came to a head with a consultation being held between local politicians and members of the neighbourhood.

Image: Commons Wikimedia

Alex Sobel, Labour MP for Leeds North West, met with groups concerned about how the local event is growing ‘exponentially’ into a ‘nationally-recognised event’.

The Weetwood Rose group says it is concerned that the run is becoming “a favourite for stag and hen parties and work outings where people are coached into the area in their hundreds.”

On its website, it explains the growth of the run has “caused serious problems for residents and many local businesses.”

It continues: “Parents with prams and those with mobility issues struggle to get through the waves of people walking down the street, reports of anti-social behaviour, public urination and sexual harassment have grown and many residents feel unsafe and intimidated to go out, even in the early afternoon.

“This is a situation that cannot be allowed to continue along the current course and we are taking action to see meaningful change.

The Three Horseshoes pub. / Image: Wikimedia Commons

“To achieve this, we have to explore several different avenues and potential interventions. So far we have met with Safer Leeds, Child Friendly Headingley and Women’s Lives Leeds to encourage a joined up approach to tackling this problem.

“We are meeting with licensing at the council to explore our statutory options. We are also inviting bars to participate in a round table to see what more could be done to support residents and to ensure a ‘code of conduct’ goes up in every pub. And we are meeting with the other local businesses to find out what extra support they need.

“We are supporting the police in their application for more patrols during peak times.

“We are looking at ways to reduce the number of coach trips and writing to businesses asking to end their advertising of the Otley Run.”

Options discussed as part of the meeting included introducing a new ‘code of conduct’ in Otley Run pubs and introducing more police patrols.

Read more: The Otley Run: the ultimate beginners guide to Leeds’ best pub crawl

It was also suggested that advertising of the Otley Run should be removed to prevent coach loads of people arriving to take part in the event.

The full proposals, put forward by members of Weetwood Rose including Mr Sobel, Councillor Emma Flint and Weetwood Candidate Izaak, can be read here

Feature image – Commons Wikimedia

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