Residents’ frustration as hundreds of people cause havoc at Sheffield park 'every time it's sunny'

One year ago resident Richard Ward tweeted: “Crookes Valley Park. No social distancing. People openly toileting in the bushes and behind the boathouse. Dozens of people swimming. No lifeguards. Commotion until 2am daily.” Fast forward to this week and little has changed.

People gather at Crookes Valley Park in the sunshine
People gather at Crookes Valley Park in the sunshine

Richard’s tweets now read: “Mounds of rubbish, loud music until the early hours, shouting, scuffles, broken glass strewn around, wildlife threatened by trash dumped in a lake and kids kept awake”

Another of his tweets says: “People bring large quantities of booze into the park every time the sun shines. After drinking for hours many clearly believe it’s ok to be rummaging about by people’s gardens for a ‘secluded’ pee.”

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And he’s not alone. Another resident James Little tweeted: “Peeing in the bushes outside houses in public despite signs saying not to. Three in five minutes at Crookes Valley Park.”

According to residents, people gather at the park every time the weather gets warmer

A third resident added: “We are not happy about being kept awake most of the night, often until 5am to 6am, by partying in the park. It’s been most nights since the weather improved.”

As soon as the weather turns nice, residents on Harcourt Road and surrounding streets are plagued by antisocial behaviour into the early hours of the morning.

Several have also contacted the media because they feel Sheffield Council isn’t doing enough to tackle the problems.

While swift action was taken when Endcliffe Park was covered in litter a few months ago, residents say the council and police have been slow to act at Crookes Valley where mounds of rubbish are piled high by bins and thrown into the lake, there’s music and shouting until 5am and men urinating by family’s garden walls.

Richard said: “We see this every time there is nice weather and we are concerned about this becoming the new normal, it happens literally every time it is sunny.

“Our worry is someone is going to have an accident late at night with the lake when there are hundreds of people there after dark.

“The police come out sometimes but if you ring 101 it takes 50 minutes to get through.

“There are hundreds of people in the park, all gathered behind houses on Harcourt Road. Endcliffe Park got some attention when it was covered in litter but we feel Crookes Valley has slipped off the radar.

“It’s becoming very regular and people are sometimes there overnight. I worry that the park will get rammed again during the Euro games.

“It’s important we try to manage this and find a solution with the council, I would also like to get the universities involved as well.”

Residents want Sheffield Council to install portable toilets and extra bins and for there to be more police patrols.

Ruth Bell, head of parks and countryside at the council, said individuals needed to take responsibility.

“Whilst we welcome people making use of our green spaces, it is incredibly frustrating that some people choose not to visit responsibly and dispose of their litter properly.

“As part of our maintenance of the parks, bins are emptied regularly throughout the day and additional bins are put in place to accommodate the rise in visitors where it is possible.

“It’s really important that we all treat our parks with respect and apply common sense – if the bins are full at that time then please take your rubbish with you.

“Piling rubbish next to a bin makes the area very unpleasant for other visitors and can attract vermin. If you can carry it to the park then you can carry it home.

“Our staff work hard to ensure that Crookes Valley Park and all others across the city are a welcoming, attractive place for people to enjoy spending time, but we really do need everyone else to play their part too.”

Local councillor Angela Argenzio is supporting residents and says she has asked the council to provide more facilities.

“As you can imagine as councillors we get many messages regarding overcrowding, noise, litter and ASB in our parks especially when the weather is good.

“There are several issues to consider with regards to Crookes Valley Park. Residents of houses that border the park have been putting up with a lot of antisocial behaviour, in particular the use of the areas near their garden walls as open air toilets as there are no facilities in the park.

“I have enquired about this lack of facilities but there is no easy solution at the moment. I will continue to ask for things to change in this respect.”

She adds that people need constant reminders to take their rubbish home with them.

“We want people to have fun, we have such beautiful green spaces in Sheffield and we are so lucky.

“I personally love seeing people enjoying our green spaces but at the same time we need to be considerate of the people around us and those who live in the area around our parks.

“We need more and larger bins but also people must take their rubbish home if the bins are full.

“Things have improved in other parks when more signs, bins and more patrols have been put in place, so we need to ensure that we do the same all around the city and that we continue to put out positive messaging about our responsibility towards each other. Most people want to do the right thing, we just need to remind them.”