A call to install football pitches in the troubled Page Hall area of Sheffield has been met with scepticism from local residents - who say it would only have a ‘minimal effect’ on its many problems.
Coun John Booker will today urge Sheffield Council to build two floodlit pitches in the area, which has been rocked by community tensions since an influx of Roma Slovak families.
More than 100 people have signed a petition backing the proposal by the West Ecclesfield UKIP councillor –who grew up in Page Hall.
Coun Booker says the plan could also free up police for the rest of the city. But current Page Hall resident Shaun Outram said: “The people that would be in there playing football are probably not the ones causing problems with litter.
“I don’t think this would help – or it would have a very minimal effect on things.
“I would like to see more enforcement where people – whoever they are – are stopped and fined for doing things wrong.”
Fellow resident Paul Downend said there had been similar initiatives in the area.
South Yorkshire Police are running sports events at Fir Vale School, which are attracting up to 80 youngsters a week, with the aim of cutting down on anti-social behaviour.
Mr Downend added: “There has got to be education too – not just building football pitches for people to kick a ball on and then leave litter everywhere.”
Another problem in Page Hall is large groups congregating on streets, which residents find intimidating,
At the weekend a crowd congregated after a car driving down Firth Park Road had a minor collision with another vehicle – bringing the road to a standstill.
A police car and an ambulance attended the scene but officers struggled to move on the watching crowd.
The next day the area was covered in litter and video footage from the same day also shows maggots crawling in dumped bin bags.
Mick Daniels, who lived in Page Hall for years and is now chairman of Brushes Tenants’ and Residents’ Association in Firth Park, said: “Football pitches are a good idea but the facilities are already there.
“There are floodlit pitches down at the school which the community can use at night times.”
Readers online said integration was a good thing but education was needed too.
Two new enforcement officers from Sheffield Council were given the task in April of helping improve the area and keeping it clean.