Councillor calls for football pitches to unite troubled Page Hall communities

Rubbish in the street on Page Hall Road, Sheffield.
Rubbish in the street on Page Hall Road, Sheffield.
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A Sheffield councillor is calling for football pitches to be installed on a troubled estate in a bid to quell problems and unite the community.

John Booker was born in and ran a business in Page Hall, an area rocked by community tensions since an influx of Roma Slovak families moved in.

Their way of life has upset long-standing residents, with litter and anti-social behaviour among the problems police and council chiefs have struggled to solve.

Coun Booker, Sheffield Council UKIP member for West Ecclesfield, will present a motion on the idea to councillors at a meeting tomorrow – and also has a petition signed by more than 100 people backing the proposal.

He said: “I was born in Page Hall and rented my first shop there in Hinde Street – so I know a lot of people in that area and families have asked if we could try to do something positive.

“People said it would be great if we had floodlit football pitches there, so there is a good place to play the game and bring the community together.”

Coun Booker has suggested the pitches could be built on ground at the side of Wensley Street, with shelters or a possible café next to it as a meeting place.

He believes it could have other benefits, such as freeing up police from Page Hall so they have more time for other areas of the city, and providing much-needed facilities in a deprived area.

Coun Booker said: “There are a lot of problems in Page Hall and a lot of concerns about police resources so I thought it could ‘kill two birds with one stone’.

“If it can help in Page Hall, it will release police resources for other areas of the city.

“In West Ecclesfield we’ve had a lot of people setting fires – I think there have been about 20 cars burned out in the last year and fences or wheelie bins too.

“It would also be good for Page Hall to have some football facilities, so it covers all bases.”

He said he wanted Page Hall to make headlines for the ‘right reasons’ such as inclusion.

Coun Booker, who will ask for cross-party support at tomorrow’s full council meeting, said: “It would be good to have some positive news there for a change.

“Whether it will come to fruition I don’t know.

“Football is a universal game and it would be great if it could ease some tensions.

“The new families in Page Hall are here legally. They’ve come to the greatest country going and we have got a responsibility to help them.”