Bid to revive residents' association in leafy Sheffield suburb
It is one of Sheffield's leafiest suburbs with fantastic views over the city and boasting easy access to two of its most-loved parks.
Now there are hopes that Norton Lees’ community spirit can be harnessed by reviving its residents’ association.
Nick Robinson is the secretary of the Norton Lees Residents Association, but says the group is essentially not in operation at the moment due to a lack of volunteers to help out with running it.
Nick said: “The residents’ association has been dormant for about four years.
“We used to get 80-odd people coming to the meetings, the police would speak and local MPs would come. We dealt with things like problems with buses, motorbikes in the park and dog mess.”
He said after some organisers moved away from the area in the past few years, it has been a struggle to find anyone else to fill their place and help arrange meetings.
“In theory, three people could do it but you have to spread the workload,” he said.
“I’m happy for things to coast along so when somebody has a big problem there is a support network ready to help.”
Mr Robinson, who runs an origami business, says he hopes that more community events could be arranged in Norton Lees, possibly based on artistic and creative activities.
He said: “It could bring the community together once or twice a year.”
Nick Wood has been living in Norton Lees for around a year, having previously been in nearby Heeley.
The 46-year-old said it is a fantastic place to live.
He said: “It is very green, very peaceful and very close to Meersbrook Park.
“It has got a little bit of everything.
“I can take the dog for a walk with like-minded people and there are shops nearby. It is just very pleasant.”
He said he enjoys the sense of community where he lives.
“I found when I moved in I was very welcome. I have got fantastic neighbours on both sides,” he said.
“My dog Trevor quite likes to escape from the back garden - and it is a fantastic way to get to know your neighbours when he turns up in their garden!”
In common with many areas of Sheffield, there have been concerns about the council cutting down trees as part of a controversial replacement programme.
The council has said it is removing trees that are dangerous, diseased, dead or dying or causing damage or obstruction to pavements.
But campaigners across the city claim many of the tree removals are unnecessary.
Mr Wood said he was undecided on the issue of long-standing trees being removed.
“The trees do add to the character of the place and it does seem a bit heartless,” he said.
“But I’m not quite sure what the solution is.”
Malcolm Harrison, aged 72, is a longer-term resident of Norton Lees, having lived in the area for 35 years.
He said: “A lot of people don’t like the trees at this time of year because of the leaves that fall.
“Some trees have been chopped down and replaced with smaller trees, which is good.”
Mr Harrison said he was more concerned about the length of time it is taking for street lights in the area to be replaced as part of Sheffield Council’s Streets Ahead road improvement programme.
“It is taking too long to do. It has been going since March and it is not finished,” he said.
But Mr Harrison said that generally Norton Lees is ‘very nice’, with many people living in the area for years.
Couple Ben Meadows, aged 30, and Kimberley Young, 29, have been living in Norton Lees for around 18 months.
Ben said he was sympathetic to the council’s position on replacing trees.
“Although we very much enjoy the trees, if they are unsafe, I would be quite happy to watch a new tree grow,” he said.
The couple said the area is perfect for their needs and they have noticed more younger couples moving in to Norton Lees in recent months.
Kim said: “It is a lovely place to live, with two parks and beautiful views over the city.
“In Meersbrook Park, you have lots of dog walkers and everyone is always stopping each other to say hello.”
She said they enjoy being within walking distance of Abbeydale Road and the city centre.
Ben added he couldn’t think of anything to improve about the area.
“For what we want as a young couple, who still like to go into town, it is kind of perfect.”
Anyone interested in joining the residents’ association is asked to contact Mr Robinson through www.nortonlees.org.uk.