Law-abiding residents in a Sheffield suburb have hit out after being labelled anti-social – for trying to improve community spirit.
Grandmother Lynn Croxford-White has received a letter from Sheffield Council’s anti-social behaviour department asking her to remove a gazebo, toys, table and chairs outside the block of flats on Fairbarn Place, Stannington.
Tenants have been give until today to remove the items from the communal drying area.
But although they have taken down the gazebo, they are refusing to remove the other items because many have been there for 10 years.
Lynn was shocked to discover a letter telling her to remove the items within seven days when she returned from a weekend away.
The 60-year-old said: “We have had the tables and chairs for the last 10 years without any problems.
“We haven’t got a storage area so there is nowhere else to keep the items.”
Grandmother Kathleen Keoghan, 54, said residents feel ‘victimised and penalised’ for wanting to improve the area where they live.
She said: “The letter came from the anti-social behaviour department.
“We are not doing anything anti-social. We like where we live and have got great community spirit.
“Children play under the gazebo when it’s raining and we sit out when it’s sunny.
“We keep it tidy and have some planters out. There are nine of us involved in the growing.
“I feel we are being victimised and penalised for wanting to improve the area where we live.
“We have removed the gazebo and tidied the area but we are not removing our patio table, chairs and the children’s bikes and outdoor slide and toys because they have been in that area for years.
“Why should we as they are not in the way of any one who would wish to hang out there washing.”
A Sheffield Council spokesman said the authority wants to work with residents to find a long-term solution, but the items must be removed.
He said: “The communal area outside the flats is not for storage. It’s a drying area that residents have made nice with planters and flowers.
“Officers visited the flats in June and the gazebo was not there.
“But Ms Croxford-White contacted us about it in July and we agreed with her that it could be up for a few days.
“As it’s still there – in mid-September – we have asked for it, and the bikes, barbecue, table and chairs, and other items to be removed.
“We asked this of Ms Croxford-White as we spoke to her about this in July, when we said the gazebo could not remain up as a permanent fixture.
“We are now contacting her to invite her to take part in the local tenants’ and residents’ association to see if a longer term solution can be developed which all residents are happy with.”