Drug needles have been found in Mount Pleasant Park, sparking concerns for children’s safety and prompting a Labour council candidate to launch a petition.
Nighat Basharat started her petition to the council after local residents got in touch with her to voice their frustrations about persistent fly-tipping and drug use at the park on Abbeydale Road.
She said: “It’s the fear. Residents told me when they go out and see groups of youngsters standing on the corner near the bushes they just walk away. The only reason they could have been there was for using drugs.
“They told me people don’t feel comfortable using the park anymore because they feel intimidated and are worried that their children will get hurt.”
Used drug needles and paraphernalia have been found on pathways in the wooded areas of the park, some with blood on them.
Local resident Shaheryar Chishty said: “It discourages people from bringing their families here, they don’t feel safe or comfortable.”
“It’s not right that we can’t take our kids to play here without the fear that if we take our eyes off them for a second they could get hurt by these things.”
The park is used by dog walkers and local families and became particularly important during the Covid-19 lockdowns when residents used it as an outdoor escape and to exercise.
While the park has plenty of green space and a children’s play area, the edges have become overgrown, and rubbish has also been dumped along several paths.
Mr Chishty said: “The space has become a dumping ground. You want to go out for a walk but once it gets dark a different community comes out in this area.”
Miss Basharat’s petition asks for better lighting in the park to discourage drug use and make residents feel safer when using the park after dark.
She also hopes the park can become a safe space for the community that will help look after people’s mental health.
Miss Basharat, Labour’s candidate for Nether Edge and Sharrow ward, said: “One of the beautiful things I found was the residents were happy to come and volunteer to keep this safe and beautify it with whatever they can do.”
“We just want the council to do their part to be able to continue making these places attractive.”
The petition has gained 200 signatures since being launched last week.
Local residents can sign the petition by getting in touch with Miss Basharat at About Nighat | My Site 1 (nighat-basharat.co.uk)