Most recent Government statistics reveal where it believes the most deprived streets of Derby are – but does the data correlate with what is actually happening in those places?
We went into the heart of the city centre area where the streets are to speak to residents and workers to find out the stories behind the numbers.
Grouped in and around Hartington Street and the top of Normanton Road the roads include Abbey Street and Babington Lane.
The general consensus was a negative one, both men and women we asked said they are too afraid to walk the streets alone at night.
Everyone we approached was friendly and keen to chat. From the conversations we had, it seems there are major issues with homelessness and drug abuse on the streets.
Others said there is a real sense of community about the place and told us with pride that they enjoyed living there. But, more could be done to improve it.
Statistics show that these streets are officially the most deprived in Derby. This is according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) statistics.
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Many factors are taken into account including income, crime, employment and education.
These streets, based just outside of the city centre, include:
- Babington Lane
- Back Sitwell Street
- Osmaston Road
- Wilmot Street
- Leopold Street
- Charnwood Street
- Hartington Street
- Melbourne Street
- Mount Street
- Swinburne Street
- Lime Avenue
- Gerrard Street
- Spa Lane
- Grey Steet
- Part of Lara Croft Way
- Part of Normanton Road
- Part of Burton Road
- Part of Bradshaw Way
- Part of Alder Walk
- Part of Grove Street
- Part of Belgrave Street
- Twyford Street
- Dashwood Street
- Part of Mill Hill Lane
- Abbey Street
- Harcourt Street
Part of Renals Street
One woman we spoke to said she had been mugged recently, just around the corner from her home in Leopold Street.
Annabella Parkinson, originally from Portugal, has lived there for a year and branded the area as “a dump”.
The 58-year-old care home worker said: “It was 2pm and I was mugged of my phone and £100 in cash by a group of eight kids. I was just withdrawing money to pay my rent at the time.
“I’m so afraid to walk here at night. Most of the time I ask for a lift, it’s terrible.
“There are drug addicts everywhere, they hide in the bushes. I’ve seen people injecting themselves in bushes with my own eyes.
“I never go out on my own at night, that’s why I like to work morning shifts. I’m afraid that people who are dependent on something with nick something.”
A 19-year-old woman, living on the same street, described how she is often followed and catcalled when walking to the shops. The woman, who is originally from Nottingham, said: “You walk five minutes one direction and it’s okay but the other way (towards Normanton) you feel like you could be shot.
“The good thing is there are a lot of PSCOs around here.”
The woman, who did not wish to be named, said: “One time there was a homeless man sleeping in the hallway so that was something.
“It’s harder in the winter because it gets darker quicker. If I need to go out at night, I just won’t go.
“If I go to Lidl I get talked at, catcalled and followed.”
Despite her experiences the resident was able to shed a positive light on her area, she said: “It’s not all doom and gloom though, there was a refugee woman I met on this street who was really nice. She didn’t speak English but she was very polite.
“Some people tend to keep to themselves but there is a real sense of community in the area. People do tend to look out for each other, like the times I’ve been followed, men will stick up for me and shout at them like ‘what are you doing?’”
Just one road across in Charnwood Street, resident Omar Abbas said he often finds people sleeping in his doorway. Mr Abbas, who has lived in his flat for eight months, said: “There are too many homeless people around here.
“I don’t feel safe here. Some guys try and start fights with me on the street. I keep my door locked all the time.
“One time I left the door open for a few minutes when I was leaving my house at 4am. A lady was on the other side pushing it, trying to get in. She said she was looking for her friend, then walked off.”
The sight of homelessness and drug taking in public seems to be a common one for residents.
A lady we spoke to on the street explained how she had to call an ambulance after spotting an unresponsive man in a car park. It was 11am.
The woman, who did not wish to be named, said: “Drug addicts like to congregate outside the art centre (Artcore) in the car park smoking stuff.
“I always see people out of it and needles on the floor.
“I know the area really well and it’s getting worse. It’s sad really. You have to keep your wits about you at night.”
She was accompanied by another woman, who said she lives 10 minutes away from Charnwood Street.
Smoking a cigarette, she said: “I can believe those statistics. I see a lot of homeless people using all kinds of substances. If I’m out walking and I’m smoking I’ll always get asked for a cigarette.
“I think around Arboretum Park it’s got better but down here it’s got worse. I think it’s down to the fact that police were pushing people out of the park and they’ve now moved over here.
“If someone is on a substance, you don’t know what they’re capable of. Then there’s an increased risk of something bad happening.”
Both of these women agreed they wouldn’t dare walk around the smaller streets at night.
Paul Clark, who works part time at charity Community Action Derby, said: “Personally I don’t find there are any problems here. We run an open door policy, occasionally we’ve had to ask someone to move on but that’s not very often.”
At Community Action, staff provide support and guidance for voluntary and community groups, along with running training courses to teach people new skills.
Wendy Lloyd, who was passing through Leopold Street, said her doctors surgery in the street used to be a “beautiful building” in the 50s and 60s.
Ms Lloyd, who is in her late 70s, said: “The thing is there are a lot of absentee landlords who are letting properties go to waste. It’s such a shame.
“This street used to be beautiful, the buildings always had nice repairs. Let’s just say now I wouldn’t come here at night.”
David Fly, who lives in the city centre, was enjoying a pint at Normanton Road’s The Melbourne Bar. He said in the whole of his 12 years living in London he found there’s a bigger sense of community here and that he much prefers up here than down south for that reason.
Sally Morgan, who works at pub, echoed Mr Fly’s views. She said: “It doesn’t matter your colour or your creed, everyone gets on with everyone.
Ms Morgan, who has worked there for 10 years, said despite the statistics the pub is doing well. She added: “We’re at the better end down here. But, we do get a taxi home, we used to walk home at night, which was around 20/25 years ago, but not anymore. You get used to seeing police cordons, it doesn’t bother us anymore.”
At Snack Box in Normanton Road, the eatery was bustling, a member of staff kindly stopped in his tracks to chat to me about how he thinks the area needs more attention.
The man, who lives in Normanton and did not wish to be named, said: “I don’t think it’s one of the most deprived, I think it’s one of the most multicultural places in Derby
“It’s a nice area, I like working here.”
When asked why it’s such a nice area, the man, who gave our reporter a free drink, said: “There’s people of different colours, it’s vibrant, it’s always busy which is a nice atmosphere. There’s a sense of community.
“But I think it’s lacking support from the council, funding. The area needs more opportunities for young people.”
Kirsty Seeny, of Leopold Street, works evenings in the city centre and said she always gets taxis back home.
She said: “I don’t feel safe here, with Normanton that way and the YMCA around the corner. You get homeless people looking in the bins.”
It seems despite the muggings in broad daylight and drug taking in the streets, there is a strong sense of community in the area.
Although, with a number of people saying they wouldn’t walk alone at night, there is much more that could be done to make the area feel safer.
The area around Skeavingtons Lane, in Cotmanhay, Erewash, is the most deprived area of Derbyshire.