Agenda item

Public Questions and Petitions

To receive any questions or petitions from members of the public



The Policy Committee received an electronic petition “Stop Cross Border Vehicles Using SCC Bus Gates/Lanes, Approved Test Centres”.  There was no speaker to this petition. The petition was noted and the petitioner be provided with a written response in respect of the cross border vehicle issue.  The approved test centre issue be referred to the Waste & Street Scene Policy Committee.




Question from Geoff Cox, representing the South Yorkshire Climate Alliance:


I would like to remind the Committee of the Arup report, the question relates to decarbonisation of privately owned housing stock; will the Council set up a impartial advice centre for homeowners who wish to invest in this way? It will stimulate the market and have regeneration and climate benefits for a relatively small investment.


The Chair stated that he would be meeting with the petitioner next week to discuss the issue further.  Earlier this year the Climate Change, Economy and Development Transitional Committee undertook a short review of domestic retrofit in Sheffield.  The review acknowledged the urgency of acting on climate change and the need to push forward at our earliest opportunity to introduce and support Domestic Retrofit in Sheffield. A report is being drafted on the back of these sessions and will be shared with the committee and relevant officers to consider how we move forward, including how we support homeowners to decarbonise their properties.  The Council will further explore how it supports and delivers retrofit programmes as part of the development of a Housing Decarbonisation Route-map for the city, and will include engagement with residents, communities and other organisations across the city to support delivery.




Question from David Cobley:


In Month 1 of this financial year SCC have an overspend of circa £19m of which the Transport Regeneration & Climate budgets have contributed £1.7M and further against this Streetscene and Regulation, which includes Parking, has contributed an overspend of £1.1m for Month 1.


In answer to a FOIR, Highways Officers have advised this scheme will cost some £650,000 to set up, will incur annual running costs of £241,000 and will achieve income of only £57,000 annually. This amounts in round terms to costing over 4 times more to run against income perceived… I repeat 4 times as much! Leaving aside that the TRO consultation has provoked considerable  opposition – ie it is a fact that by even by 23 March 2022 1077 responses had been received of which 895 were objections ,that well in excess of 2000  individuals have signed a petition asking for the scheme to be abandoned, then in order this committee can provide maximum   budget savings to offset the aforementioned overspend ,which in itself could lead to commissioners being appointed by central government, then my first question is whether or not the Scheme is already accounted for in the financial budget for 2022/23?


2.       Secondly If so then would it not make financial common sense to abandon the current scheme in its entirety forthwith vis the current savings now required by the Director of Finance?


3.       Thirdly If not then will the council be able to justify a future scheme which runs at a considerable year on year loss in any event?


4.       For my final question a local councillor  stated in writing  on the Norfolk Park Facebook site on 17 October 2019 that “Residents will have an opportunity to design a scheme…..” “… it won’t be a council one imposed on them” “… it won’t be huge or it’ll be too unwieldy”

None of this has happened except the scheme covers some 67 roads across 2 wards and is indeed unwieldly! Councillors Fox and Miskell have also stated at the last LAC East meeting and in an email that if the majority of residents are not in favour of the scheme it will not be imposed by the Council.


Could you please confirm the number of responses to the Citizen Space survey and also the number responding to the council by separate email and letter. In each case please confirm the number of responses which objected to the scheme.


The Chair stated that the Budget monitoring item will be on every agenda of this committee to monitor it. Current schemes are proposed in line with the 2018 Parking Strategy, which sets out the ways in which we will manage parking in order to achieve our wider aims in transport and land use planning. The scheme consultation has provided residents and local businesses the opportunity to comment on the proposals and this will be reported in full, along with survey data, to the Committee meeting in September 2022 to decide whether a scheme, in some form, should proceed to implementation.


The cost and income figures that have been quoted are estimated figures based on the scheme size at this time. The scheme is still in the early stages of development and assumptions have been made at this point. As the scheme moves to its design stage and the number of bays are established, the figures for the installation, administration and income related to the scheme will become more precise. 


The £57k annual income is an estimate based on the potential number of permits expected to be issued, – at this stage it does not include the potential revenue from pay and display bays or Penalty Charge Notices. We will be reviewing the potential scale of this income as part of the scheme development but our initial estimates indicate that it is expected that this would cover the annual running costs and partly offset the initial implementation costs. The full financial implications will be reported to Committee as part of the decision making process.


Results of consultation: Citizen space - 1088 responses, 879 objections, 37 in support and the remainder did not give an answer to this question and neither objected or supported in their written text.

Emails - There have been 260 emails into our inboxes. 128 of these were objections, 7 were in support and the remainder were asking questions about the scheme or requesting paper copies of plans.

Letters - We have received 15 letters. 13 were objecting to the scheme, 2 were supporting the scheme.


With regard to Councillors comments, it is important that we listen to residents, regardless of their comments being positive or negative. There is a commitment to keep residents informed throughout and the decision will be taken in September after taking on board all comments.



Question from David Cobley:



For over 30 years the residents of Donnington Road and Norfolk Park Avenue have continued to campaign for some form of traffic calming/speed reduction measures given the fatal accident which took the life of young Georgina Stubbs.  Subsequent to that accident No right and left turn restrictions were imposed at the junctions of Essex Road, Holdings Road, Donnington Road with St Aidans Road. Unfortunately, these restrictions are largely ignored by those using the roads, in particular Donnington Road, be they locals or those using it as a rat run with dozens of vehicles ignoring the restrictions daily. South Yorkshire Police cannot or will not reply to a FOI asking the numbers of Penalty Notices issued to the literally 100's of drivers ignoring the restrictions. The guess amongst locals is that these breaches are not being policed and the situation is worsening daily with no Notices actually issued


For the last 3 years or so our Councillor Richards has been leading attempts to install some form of traffic calming but without success and consultations we were told would occur on 3rd and then 10th March 22 have not happened. However in the last few days she has informed us that " l have been assured that the Donnington Rd plans have been drafted. l have seen an early draft. As you know, no traffic calming is being undertaken by the council due to costs but we have indicated that we would use our CIL money to implement a scheme." and further she said that the CIL money is already there to use now.


Assuming this is correct it is disconcerting not to see any mention of such plans etal in the work programme. Could you please confirm that a draft scheme for traffic calming measures etc for the roads in question is in draft form, that the finance is available via CIL and when the consultation will occur.”


The Chair stated that the local Member had requested that options for Traffic Calming on Donnington Road were developed by our Engineers. As we currently look to prioritise investment in accident saving schemes based on Citywide accident data, this site is not included in this years programme. The developed options have been sent to the Local Area Committee to decide whether they can fund such a scheme.


However, following a recent change to legislation the Council do now have the opportunity to choose to apply for enforcement powers to use camera enforcement for moving traffic offences such as people driving through banned turns, the wrong way on one-way streets, etc.

Given the limitations on current SY Police resources this would potentially provide an ability for SCC to take action at locations such as this where the abuse of restrictions is having an adverse impact on safety, wellbeing and effective movement of traffic.  This will be the subject of a future committee paper. Regarding the Freedom of information request to the Police I would suggest that you contact Police and Crime Commissioner.




Question from Steve Burgin in relation to the Park Hill/Norfolk Park permit scheme:



         The council is heading for an £18m - ~£60m plus shortfall in 22/23.

         90+% of respondents in the consultation were not in favour of the scheme.

         Initial council calculations show a loss of £184k per year on running costs vs income.

         The proposed scheme would cost 4.22 times more to run than it would bring in.

         And in line with Cllr Fox’s statement at the last LAC (witnessed, currently un-minuted, but to be corrected) that if the ‘local community’ didn’t want the scheme it would be shelved,

Can this committee now formally close down the proposed scheme and if necessary, work with local residents on the roads affected to realise a solution?


The Chair referred to the response to the earlier question and stated that the decision will be taken by the committee in September and gave a commitment to something that works for the community.




Question from Sandra France about the Park Hill and Norfolk Park parking scheme:


Why has the communication and administration of this scheme been so poor ? Residents have asked many times for a meeting or workshops with Councillors and the Transport Dept to answer questions about this scheme and have had no response. This was also promised at the Full council meeting. Some houses affected have not even received notifications or letters about this scheme, how can they comment on this. The whole administration and communication has been appalling, with conflicting or no information being given and no responses to emails or queries. Our councillor always promising to find out and get back to residents but never does.


This proposal has upset so many people, worried their road is going to look like a car park and having to find extra money. I would hope that Sheffield Council has learnt lessons from the Tree Saga which was and continues to be an embarrassment to Sheffield. It has been noted many times that peoples experience of engaging with the Council is not positive and difficulties getting responses to concerns and issues.


Please listen to the concerns of our neighbours, your constituents, and engage with us. Councillors keep saying they want to work together to deliver a better future for Sheffield and listen to their constituents more, so do this. I would like to add that you have said you will involve us in the final decision in September and I hope this will be done and also be involved in the traffic calming decisions.


The Chair stated that the size of the Parkhill scheme meant that it was decided to send out a postcard with important information (such as scheme operation times, permit prices etc) and have the plans available online and in two designated public spaces. We also offered to send out copies of plans showing the restrictions outside individual resident’s houses should people not be able to access the plans any other way. Many residents took us up on this offer.


We have sent out 1 leaflet and a follow up letter extending the consultation deadline. We were aware of an error on the Citizen Space survey where the incorrect scheme operation times were displayed but this was corrected within 24 hours. The post cards were delivered by Royal mail. We were informed of some addresses that had not received a postcard and we then followed up and sent out additional postcards as soon as we were made aware. We extended the consultation end date to ensure these people had enough time to submit a response to the scheme. There were also A3 street notices placed on every street about the scheme and how to find out more information.


33% of residents and businesses have been in touch through our consultation which is a high response rate. It is disappointing that you (Ms France) feel that the administration and communication has been appalling. All emails that have come into the “parking scheme” inbox in relation to this scheme have been acknowledged and any specific queries have been answered.


Specifically relating to Ms France, the client Officer for the scheme has had several email exchanges with her. She has also visited her home to hand deliver plans and spare leaflets, as requested, as well as an in-person conversation about the scheme during one of these visits. We don’t get it right all of the time and for that I apologise. We need to ensure information is identified as important for residents. Concerns were picked up by officers and efforts made to ensure the right information was made available.




Question from Nigel Slack:



On the 6th May 2022, LRC UK Ltd, as the owners of Chapel Walk House, were served an improvement notice for the apartments (common parts) based on the Council's belief that a 'Category 1 Hazard exists at the premises and remedial action is required’. A Category 1 Hazard is defined as having ‘a serious and immediate risk to a person's health and safety’ under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. It also indicates that the remedial work must begin by 28th June 2022.


What exactly is the hazard this notice covers? Has any response been received from LRC UK Ltd about the issue and will they commence the remedial works within the timescale? Why has it taken so long for the hazard to come to light, when the development was approved in May 2017 and has already included a 6 month halt in work, from November 2017, due to asbestos contamination? The apartments finally opened in March 2021, how many people have been exposed to this 'Category 1 Hazard' since then, either within the apartments, the retail premises or on the street? What more can SCC say about the process from here and whether there are ongoing hazards to tenants of the apartments or anybody else?


The Chair stated that as the notice was served by the Housing Team, the question should be referred to the relevant Housing Committee. A written response will be provided.




Question from Nigel Slack:


Congratulations to SCC in retaining the important role of 'Heritage Champion' within the city's new Committee Structure. This was not a foregone conclusion during the transition process but, following input from the public engagement process, I am pleased to see the retention of the Champion role. Congratulations to Cllr Ridler, I hope she sees the value of the role in protecting and promoting the role of Heritage spaces in the Sheffield economy (estimated at £240M a year).

It will be challenging in the face of the city's budget problems but a gentle reminder that once heritage is sold or demolished it is lost forever.


How will the role of the heritage champion fit into the work of this committee?


The Chair stated that the Committee both notes and welcomes the continuation of the role of Heritage Champion, which is important for a city such as Sheffield given its rich and varied heritage offers. We wish Cllr Ridler every success and also extend our thanks to Cllr Mike Drabble for the time and commitment he has dedicated to this role in the past. The Heritage Champion will be able to influence positively the various workstreams this committee will lead on, and I am sure this will include working closely with officers and partners on key city projects. In fulfilling this role, the Heritage Champion will be able to provide feedback to this and other Committees moving forward, ensuring heritage is represented in the positive light that it should be.




Question from David Bamford, in respect of the Active Travel Round 3 funding.  David did not attend the meeting and will be sent a written response to his question.




Question from Bridget Ingle:


I would like to say that Sheffield City Council is doing a fantastic job with its regeneration of the city. Why is Sheffield City Council not taking a more proactive approach to removing graffiti tagging from Sheffield City Centre? It is even ignored in and around the key regeneration areas of the Heart of the City.


While I appreciate that Leeds and Sheffield are different cities, there is not one piece of graffiti tagging in their centre. Sheffield and Leeds both have the same graffiti removal policies. And presumably similar financial constraints. Why is it possible in Leeds and not Sheffield? It has a major impact on Sheffield’s streetscene and its reputation for being dirty and untidy.


The Chair stated that an uplift survey was commissioned by Highways Maintenance Division and the City Centre Management Team and will involve a purge on a number of high profile, privately owned areas to provide a general uplift to the core retail and hospitality areas of the city centre to make these areas more appealing for the summer months. This will include use of a cherry picker to remove prominent graffiti from high levels such as above shop canopies on the Moor to provide a more welcoming streetscene aesthetic.


It is envisaged this “push” on privately owned buildings will require repeated and sustained removals over the coming months will also include city gateways, as well as City Centre Management Team liaising with the businesses themselves to enable them to manage their own graffiti moving forward, endeavouring to creating a city centre where graffiti is obliterated as soon as it is done in order to render practices such as tagging pointless for those undertaking it their tag no longer lingers in situ.


The Council’s highways maintenance division have reached out to all major utility cabinet companies (BT Openreach and Virgin Media) and asked for a push from their side in repainting their infrastructure in the city centre. Funding has been identified and businesses in the target areas have been written to and informed of the cleaning which will commence on the 13th June , works to be completed in time for the University Open days and the Euro’s.


A new group has been created to look at a long term partnership solution this includes partners from SYP , BTP , Sheffield BID and other external bodies such as the Universities.




Question from Claire Mappin, in respect of “Event Central” 20-26 Fargate.  Claire was unable to attend and will be provided with a written response.




Questions from Emily Griffiths, in respect of decision making, engagement and school street pilots.  Emily was unable to attend and will be provided with a written response.




Question from Nasar Raoof, GMB, Branch Secretary, with responsibility to represent Taxi Drivers in the region:




Members are going through a tsunami of debt, due to Covid 19 pandemic, increases in bills and fuel prices. Pre lock down the cost of vehicles was nowhere near the market value for new and used vehicles now. Part used vehicles are now 15-20k and new over 25k. Paying that as a working-class Taxi Driver is very hard, so are now urging Sheffield City Council to reconsider the financial support it is giving, or alternatively, follow Greater Manchester, putting investment into incentives and consult the trade. Due to lock down and measures such as cycle lanes and working from home, have reduced emissions. Red areas are now coming into amber or green, so we would ask for a new assessment to be done and for now a pause on clean air zones, until a better assessment can be made. They are spending a lot of time doing benefits and hardship claims for drivers. Would urge the Council to follow suit like Andy Burnham has done in Greater Manchester, tell the Government to dig deep in terms of support and put the initiative on hold for 2-3 years. Stand in support of a community that has helped the community during the pandemic.


The Chair stated that the question was submitted after the deadline for this committee, so a detailed response isn’t available immediately. He stated that the cost of living crisis is impacting everyone. This Council is formally signed up to the CAZ. Government are due to sign this off in the next 7-10 days. I can give a commitment today to ask Officers to take on board the comments made. Officers confirmed that a decision had been taken on 12/10/21 that led to the submission of our final business case and we are expecting the Government’s decision soon.


The Chair identified that financial assistance is key, and options should be considered. The Committee needs to be furnished with the up to date figures with regard to air pollution. Officers indicated that the Council had been seeking approval from government to make changes to financial support for replacement vehicles. Funding of £20.4m has currently been awarded. Should this be successful, a further £8m stretch fund can be drawn down if required.  It was noted that a Members briefing was to be set up and a meeting with Taxi drivers GMB representatives was to be set up. The Chair stated that a written response would be provided.