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The misery and despair of living on Sheffield’s most infamous estate

Written by on 29/09/2020

It is a community on a knife edge.

Week after week – and for residents, day after day – Sheffield’s Page Hall estate seems to be put under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

Whether it’s mass brawls in front of horrified neighbours, rats roaming the street, or just a general flouting of the coronavirus lockdown rules, there has been plenty to irk and annoy law-abiding residents in the area – and many of them have had enough.

Over the past few months, there have been huge fights in broad daylight involving men, women and even children and for some, it has become the new norm in the area which has been called Sheffield’s “Jeremy Kyle” estate.

Even a snapshot of life in Page Hall paints a very miserable and fraught situation in the neighbourhood, but for some residents, these occurrences are happening every day and ruining their lives.

‘I hate living here’

Jawad Saleem is fed up of living in Page Hall

Jawad Saleem is one man who is not afraid to voice his opinions about Page Hall and the daily stresses he faces trying to keep his family sane and safe.

“I hate living here now,” the 34-year-old dad-of-three will happily admit. “I don’t hate them I just hate what they are doing.”

Mr Saleem lives in Popple Street with his wife and their three children aged seven, one and five months. He regularly sees groups of youths congregating outside his home and booting footballs at his windows and doors.

Now, many youngsters play a card game outside his house until late at night, with children as young as 10 or 12 smoking outside his property.

He has repeatedly asked them to stop making so much noise so his eldest son can sleep – but they simply ignore him.

The problems on Page Hall – Sheffield’s ‘Jeremy Kyle’ estate

“They regularly play this card game and eat something at the same time and they just put their rubbish in front of my door. I stop them and say to them ‘my kid is sleeping, don’t make a noise’ but then they just bang on my windows and run away.

“When you ask them who did it they all blame each other and start laughing and I’m just fed up.

“It happens every single day after school up until about 11pm and it’s teenagers to 24 and 25-year-olds.

“They kick the football as hard as they can and they don’t care about hitting windows or maing a noise.”

‘They aren’t listening and they won’t stop’

A group crowded around a man on the floor in Page Hall last week

Mr Saleem said his son’s teachers have even questioned why he is “lazy” at school and cannot concentrate, and he knows it is because of the constant noise at night which prevents him from sleeping.

He has lived in the area for four to five years with his family but is desperate to move. He has made representations to the authorities but as of yet, he has been unable to secure a move away like other families on the estate.

Mr Saleem believes a police station or hub is needed in Page Hall so officers can see for themselves what it is like on a daily basis in the estate.

“When the police are here the kids just run away and my suggestion is that they need a police station here. Then, we might start to see a difference in Page Hall.

“We as a family are just fed up of living here because these kids just aren’t learning, they aren’t listening and they won’t stop.”

‘I get called a white b****’

A huge brawl in Page Hall earlier this year
(Image: Submitted)

Tensions in Page Hall have been evident in the videos which have showed shocking mass brawls with crowds of onlookers watching in horror and in some cases, even getting involved.

And according to one woman, 37, who did not want to be named, there are some racial tensions as she admitted she has been subjected to racial slurs.

The woman, who described living in Page Hall as a “complete nightmare”, said: “I told some people about dropping rubbish and I got told to shut up and go away.

“They called me names and swear at me. They tell me to f*** off and they call me a white b****.”

As well as being abused, she is regularly on edge due to the large crowds that gather in the streets and the bangs she hears.

She says kids let off firecrackers in the street and even larger fireworks, and with the ongoing threat of coronavirus she is worried about groups gathering and seemingly ignoring the rule of six.

“I see them in groups flicking pennies and they were even setting off fireworks last night. It really puts me on edge and I suffer from mental health problems as it is – it just doesn’t help at all.

“They think they can do what they want. Anyone can catch coronavirus and it’s just not safe at all. The people here don’t care and I’m sick of cleaning the street up too.”

What the police are doing

Police are regular visitors to Page Hall

South Yorkshire Police have said they are creating a new policing team on the estate to try and bring some sense of order to Page Hall.

A recruitment drive means the force is hoping to put extra cops on the beat in the area this Autumn and it comes after the Firth Park Neighbourhood Network asked for tougher policing, a legal order to help control bad behaviour and a meeting with Sheffield’s police commander, Chief Supt Una Jennings.

Although the legal order, called a Public Space Protection Order, has to be arranged through the local authority, Assistant Chief Constable Tim Forber said the force would support such measures.

He also revealed a new local policing team is to be created to deal specifically with that area, rather than coming under the wider remit of the north east Sheffield neighbourhood team, currently made up of 38 officers and PCSOs.

Recruitment across the force means the area will get another sergeant and eight PCs, meaning the team can be split to give Page Hall and Fir Vale their own staff, who will be tasked to get to grips with the problems there.

ACC Forber said: “There has been a significant increase in police resources in the last three years and the good news for communities is that will be further increased in the Autumn.

“The underlying issues in Page Hall start with the physical environment, it is about 300 properties and only about 24 are in public ownership.

“You have private properties often of very poor quality and multiple occupation with different cultures coming together.

“When you have any neighbourhood like that it is hardly surprising you find an area which struggles with community cohesion.

“There is criminality there and we do deal with it.”