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Agenda item

Local Area Committees - Empowering Communities

To receive an overview presentation from the Local Area Committee Manager.




The Committee received a presentation from the Community Services Manager on Local Area Committees (LACs), as part of the Empowering Communities Programme.




David Luck reported on the operation and role of LAC, the initial funding allocation for the Committees, engagement activity, how the public could get involved, details of the Members of the Committee and the North Local Area Committee Team and contact details relating to the LAC.







The Committee noted the information now reported as part of the presentation.


Following the presentation, a number of questions and observations from members of the public were noted.


(a)  Question from Dorothy Whittaker, Deepcar:

The North Local Area Committee is the largest of the seven Local Area Committees, so why doesn’t it receive a larger share of the designated funding?


In response, the Chair noted that Local Area Committees had been divided by population and wards.


Dave Luck added that each Local Area Committee had four wards and a similar population. The split was based on population rather than deprivation level.


The Chair advised that boundary reviews took place periodically. The North Local Area Committee wards covered a population of between 70,000 and 80,000 people. He expected rural issues to arise whereas other Local Area Committees might experience more ‘inner city’ issues. He also acknowledged that highways/gritting concerns would arise due to the large geographical area covered by the North Local Area Committee.


(b)  Question from a member of the public:


A member of the public noted some of the difficulties facing Stocksbridge, including some areas of Stocksbridge that experience deprivation, and some elements of digital exclusion to the distance from the city centre. Is this recognised?


In response, the Chair noted that Stocksbridge was in a unique situation due to its distance from the city centre and he also recognised that there were other areas of deprivation within the North Local Area Committee boundary.


(c)  Nigel Clark, Bradfield Parish Council:

Nigel Clark was concerned about the lack of inclusion of affordable housing in recent planning applications, making it difficult for local young people to stay in the area. He noted that many people in the area are working from home but with poor broadband. He also believed that people would have no option but to commute to employment in Leeds as this might be the only way they could afford to buy local houses.

The Chair recognised the concerns raised by Mr Clark.


(d)  Doris Denton, Friends of Chapeltown Park:


Doris Denton queried whether projects funded by the North Local Area Committee would have to be completed by the end of the year or could the money be carried over?


The Chair noted that decisions on funding allocations could not be made until the Local Area Committee Community Plan had been formally agreed. However, he hoped that funding would be able to be carried over to ensure longer term commitment to projects where appropriate.


The Chair advised the Ms Denton that discussions around potential Local Area Committee funding would take place between Friends of Chapeltown Park and Parks and Countryside in due course.


(e)   Question from a member of the public:

How is the Local Area Committee Community Plan going to be put together and presented and will there be an opportunity for public debate it before it is finalised?

In response, the Chair explained that as Local Area Committees are a new way of working for Sheffield City Council, the Chairs of all the Local Area Committees had been meeting regularly to discuss how to progress their Community Plans and bring these discussions to communities. He advised that this was the start of the journey and that priorities will be reviewed before putting the Plan into action.


Jason Siddall added that options for the January meeting of North Local Area Committee were currently being considered. He confirmed that no decision had been made yet on the venue or format of the meeting and offered reassurance that details would be published in advance. He explained that officers within the team would collate and analyse all feedback from members of the public to help set priorities for inclusion in the Local Area Committee Community Plan. He noted that a balance needed to be struck between consulting and putting actions into place.


The Chair believed that the work and engagement carried out so far was a firm starting point that would be refined and reviewed as the process continued.


Jason Siddall noted that a newsletter would be sent to all households in the city with details of the Local Area Committee Survey to ensure inclusivity for those who weren’t digitally enabled. He advised that Local Area Committee teams would raise as much awareness as possible at local events once they started to open up.


The Chair introduced Amanda Holmes, Sheffield City Council’s Lead Officer for Stocksbridge Town Investment Plan.( Towns Fund) to attendees of the meeting and invited her to speak about the Stocksbridge Town Investment Plan.


Amanda explained that work on the Stocksbridge Town Investment Plan had been delayed over the last 12 months due to Covid restrictions preventing the team getting out into the community. The Stocksbridge Town Investment Plan would now be going out to consultation to encourage further engagement with stakeholders and the local community. Amanda advised that she was happy to talk to individuals at the informal discussions taking place at the close of the formal meeting.


Councillor Lewis Chinchen agreed with Amanda’s comments and advised that he wished to get more feedback on the proposals with a view to submitting a final business case for Government funding in spring 2022.


The Chair confirmed that the next meeting date had yet to be confirmed but was likely to take place in late January and would be held at a different location within the North Local Area Committee area.


(Note:  At the conclusion of the formal business, there was an interactive session where members of the public were invited to meet and discuss local issues with Councillors and the North Local Area Committee Team).





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