Leeds & West Yorkshire

Rawdon bonfire dismantled by Leeds City Council

Removing the bonfire about to begin Image copyright Robin Learoyd
Image caption The bonfire as workmen arrived at the site

An established community bonfire which is said to have been held on the same site for 38 years has been dismantled amid safety concerns.

People in the Rawdon and Little London areas of Leeds had built the bonfire on land next to Micklefield Park.

Nine Leeds City Council workers with lorries and a tractor took the wood from the 10ft-high (3m) stack without warning on Thursday, said eyewitnesses.

The council said despite community disappointment safety was "paramount".

It said in a statement safety "is the reason we only allow properly organised and licensed events to take place on land that we are responsible for".

The council had no record of an application to hold a community bonfire at the park, it said.

However, it said it would be "pleased to work with the group" to hold an event next year.

It had removed "very few" bonfires and only if the fires were on council-owned land, it added.

Image copyright Robin Learoyd
Image caption The wood was initially removed by tractor

Robin Learoyd, who saw the workers arrive at the bonfire, said: "For 38 years a street bonfire has been held on this spot.

"Over the years it's been a great way to meet new neighbours, and old."

Mr Learoyd said the bonfire had a designated area for fireworks, supervised by an adult and was a "well-organised event" and he was "furious" with its removal.

Council-organised bonfires are to be held at East End Park, Middleton Park, Woodhouse Moor, Springhead Park Rothwell, Bramley Park and Roundhay Park.

Why bonfires still burn

On 5 November 1605, a group of Catholic conspirators were poised to launch an unprecedented terrorist plot.

The group planned to blow up Parliament, wiping out the King in an attempt to trigger a popular uprising. But the plot was foiled just hours before the fuse was lit.

For 400 years it has been marked with bonfires, fireworks and festivities and we still "remember, remember the fifth of November".

Source: BBC iWonder

Image caption The site of the bonfire is now bare

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