Agenda item

Public Questions and Petitions

To receive any questions or petitions from members of the public.



The Committee received the following questions from members of the public who had submitted the questions prior to the meeting:-




(a)  Donald Lennox (present) - read out by Councillor Tim Huggan




Local Area Committees have been established to ‘Empower, Enable and Engage’ local citizens and communities.


This has been endorsed recently by the City Council, so that further steps will be taken to ensure community development practices are embedded in LACs, prior to decision making.


In what way exactly will this actually be implemented - generally and at 2 major potential development sites in the SWLAC area?


(1)  Future use of Banner Cross Hall and surrounding land and woodland at Ecclesall Road South and Carterknowle Road?


(2)  Redevelopment of derelict land and property at the top of Murray Road and an adjacent property on Tullibardine Road, Greystones


Opportunities abound for the involvement of, and benefit to, residents adjacent to these sites, and beyond.


How will this be facilitated by Council staff, councillors and local citizens working together?”




In response to Question 1, Councillor Tim Huggan, Chair, read out the following response from Development Management, City Futures:


In relation to the two sites referred to above, the local planning authority is required to undertake a formal period of public consultation prior to deciding a planning application in accordance with procedures set out in the Development Management Procedure Order. On larger schemes, applicants are encouraged to undertake pre-application consultation with the local community and/or stakeholders, but this is not mandatory. Further information can be found in the Statement of Community Involvement, which also describes the process for consulting on draft policy documents:


How the Council consults on planning applications & policies | Sheffield City Council


The Chair advised that Councillor Barbara Masters had put in a request for clarity over compulsory purchase orders and the law relating to abandoned properties, in case this was relevant to the property in question.


In relation to Question 2, the Chair advised that a written response had been received from Strategic Housing, and would be shared with Mr Lennox in full.


Mr Lennox stated that he did not feel that the response provided had addressed the queries that he had raised. He explained that his questions related to empowerment and engagement, not procedures. He added that it had taken three months to receive an answer to his question, and he hoped for the full written response as soon as possible.




(b)  Paul May (present)




(1)  How did you record and evaluate the responses you collected from the table groups at the last LAC meeting? Can we see them?


(2)  Priority 3.3 under Community Involvement highlights intergenerational activities. Can you tell us what progress has been made. Specifically with reference to working with PKW and also with reference to working with our schools to see how willing they are to participate.


(3)  I notice that there are many targets throughout the Plan all of which have a review and outcome date. They also all have timelines the vast majority of which have been exceeded. I have not seen any outcomes which are also due to be reported to our public meeting. Can you tell us when these will be published and what the overall view is of how well we have been doing?


The Chair advised that a written response would be provided for Mr May, and it was clarified that, in relation to Question 3, Mr May requested a response that incorporated the viewpoint of all Committee members.




(c)   Tim Lewis (not present)




(1)  Can we please have an update on the Sheffield Local Plan? Why have seven Labour councillors been suspended from the party for voting against its adoption? They claim that the views of local communities were not being taken into account. What did they object to specifically?


Consultation on the Local Plan was closed at the beginning of 2023. At what point - if at all - in the past 2 years, was the Local Plan the subject of any South West Area Committee public meetings?


(2)  I note that:


A meeting of Sheffield City Council’s transport, regeneration and climate policy committee (September 20) agreed to confirm experimental measures put in place for the active travel neighbourhoods (ATNs) in Crookes and Walkley and Nether Edge, which have provoked controversy.


I note also that Cllr Sangar described the Crookes and Walkley experience as ' painful', which it was, especially for residents.


Why was no public meeting held with residents prior to this decision being taken by the committee?


Why has no open evaluation of all aspects of this scheme, from its (inept) conception to its (bungled) implementation ever taken place?


The Chair advised that a written response would be provided for Mr Lewis, and it was clarified that, in relation to Question 1, the question had been referred to the Labour Group for a response.


In relation to Question 2, Councillor Ruth Milsom requested that herself, Councillor Minesh Parekh and the Chair also contribute their experiences into the response to be provided. The Chair advised that written responses would be provided.




(d)  Viv Lockwood (present)




Mr Lockwood thanked those who had helped in the campaign to open Archer Lane in the Nether Edge Active Travel Neighbourhood Scheme. Although the campaign had not been successful, Mr Lockwood had reflected on the 18 month period and the evidence from the community about the effects of closing Archer Lane. He explained that he was disappointed in how Council officers had presented and handled this scheme, including providing a voluminous report for the Transport, Highways and Climate Policy Committee which was made available to the public just one week before the meeting.


What are we to take from this episode where a scheme such as this is prolonged and pushed by officers when it was apparent to all that it was a mistake? What conclusion do Councillors draw from this to stop hundreds of hours of officer time being put into this, and what lessons have been learned?


Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed stated that he believed the scheme had been imposed with little consultation, particularly for Ecclesall Ward that he believed was directly affected by the scheme. He added that he had asked Council officers to consult all those affected, and believed that many of the concerns about the scheme could have been avoided with adequate engagement.




(e)  Gordon Dabinett (present)




I have noted that the Council's Governance Committee at its meeting of 20 July approved a work plan for the forthcoming year that includes consideration of 'possible changes to decision making in Local Area Committees, and how this will impact on our overall governance arrangements'.


Could you kindly inform me of the remit of this review, the timescales of the review, and the possibility of public consultation and involvement.


Councillor Sue Alston advised that the Governance Committee had been asked to do an overview of how the policy committees were working and their relationships with the Local Area Committees. Part of this review was to look at how the LACs engaged locally and how issues were passed between the LACs and the policy committees, to ensure awareness of local issues. There had been a lot of discussion about devolving further powers to LACs, for example, small highways decisions. She advised that the Governance Committee would provide a report for the Council Annual General Meeting, due to take place in May 2024, detailing any proposed changes. Consultation and engagement with members of the public would take place in due course to allow residents views to be considered.


Councillor Fran Belbin added that the Governance Committee would be taking a wider look at democratic engagement and how to do this as effectively as possible. This would include the ongoing process of responding to public questions, on which public engagement had already begun, and was due to be reported back at the meeting of the Governance Committee, scheduled to take place on 12 October, 2023.