Fly-tipping, community tensions and anti-social behaviour are still an issue in Page Hall, residents have said - despite claims the area is ‘on the up’.
Earlier this month shopkeepers, the council, and local volunteers told The Star that the suburb was improving, three years after David Blunkett - then MP for Brightside and Hillsborough - made controversial comments about ‘boiling’ tensions involving the Roma community.
But resident Glen Williams, aged 53, of Ellerton Road, said he felt ‘disgruntled’ at reports that the area was getting better.
He said: “Anybody who has lived here for 10 years or more knows there is a bad atmosphere between the Roma-Slovaks and local residents. We are not happy.
“There is still a lot of tension between the Roma and local people and you can feel it coming to a breaking point.
“It has infuriated me personally to hear that the area is improving, when there is rubbish piling up in the streets every night. They are having parties while four or five in the morning, screaming and shouting, and the police do nothing about it.”
The council says it has invested resources into the problem of overcrowding. A selective licensing programme has helped to limit the number of people living in Page Hall’s terraced houses. While some of the Roma community have returned home because of trouble finding work, it is estimated that around 3,000 remain.
Mr Williams said: “It costs the council £400,000 a year to clean up Page Hall. They come and clean all the rubbish off the streets in the morning, but by the following morning it’s exactly the same again. This is the real state of Page Hall.”
Coun Jayne Dunn, the council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “We know there are still challenges in the area and we’ve been doing a lot of work there, including work with housing.
“Last month we took a landlord to court for failing to meet his obligations and we will continue to take firm action.
“We have also been working with local schools and with health partners and all of this has helped us develop stronger links with the community.”