Agenda item

Public Questions and Petitions

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



Question 1. from Hazel Daniels to Councillors Paul Turpin and Marieanne Elliot (as Green Councillors on the Committee)




With regard to the green space in the area, to what extent does it drive your actions as local councillors?




In response, Councillor Paul Turpin thanked Hazel for her question and said that as Green Councillors, they are environmentalists and support the environment and green spaces. We are not trying to save the planet for the planets sake, the planet will outlive humanity by a number a of years. What he would really like would be to have a safe, good world for people to thrive and live happy fulfilling lives, through the enjoyment of environmental green spaces, to keep air clean and maintain balance and support life including the biodiversity of animals and plants.




Question 2 from Hazel Daniels





She said the reason she asked the first question was due to the fact that she lives in Meersbrook and referred to a recent planning application to the local authority, where  approval had been given for the housing development at the top of Meersbrook Avenue which totally strips the biodiversity of the area. How can you rationalise this decision?




In response, Councillor Paul Turpin stated that he was not and never had been a member of the Planning Committee and had never done the training so wouldn’t be allowed on the Committee. He had neither supported nor objected to the development, but he did support local residents and would put forward local proposals and suggestions on behalf of residents. Councillor Turpin said the development was for planned zero carbon housing on a former brownfield site that had not been used for a number of years. He said that as far as he was aware, there were planned green spaces amongst the houses and plans to retain public green space and he was happy to mediate between residents and the Council on any matters raised. 




Councillor Marieanne Elliot said that she too had never been a member of the Planning Committee, but likewise she would be happy to pass on any feedback received from residents to the developer of the site. She said she was aware of issues raised by residents and would continue to mediate between them and the developer.




Councillor Alexi Dimond said that there were issues in the planning application, such as tree retention orders, access onto Derbyshire Lane etc.. These were issues which he had raised with the Planning Officers and to which so far, he had not received a satisfactory response.




Question from Ernest Brewin




Mr Brewin asked whether the Council, when considering the proposed 20mph scheme for Derbyshire Lane, had included Harvey Clough Road and Mount View Road within the scheme? He said the speed that some travel along those roads make it exceedingly difficult to cross and unsafe for children to use.




In response, Councillor Ian Auckland said that the proposals for the scheme were to include most residential roads in the area, but the 20 mph were not engineered speed limits with lumps and bumps in the road, but through lines and signs to reduce speed overall.  He hoped the police could enforce these restrictions.


Councillor Auckland advised that the consultation for the 20mph zones in Norton Lees was still live and he encouraged Mr. Brewin to respond to that to feed in his concerns.




Question from Martin Lawton




Martin Lawton asked what the Council’s proposals were with regard to installing recharging points outside Council flats and maisonettes within South LAC the area?




In response, the Chair, Councillor Simon Clement-Jones said that he would ask the question of the relevant Council departments and provide Mr. Lawton with a written response.




Question from Mrs. Jacklin




Mrs. Jacklin asked whether there were plans for parts of Derbyshire Lane that could have speed restrictions on them, in particular the blind spot near the Prince of Wales public house and the cemetery?  She said since traffic calming works had been carried out along Woodseats, traffic had become a problem, with more cars being driven at speed up Scarsdale Road.  She said the new housing area would create much more traffic up and down Derbyshire Lane.




Councillor Ian Auckland responded by stating that the Derbyshire Lane 20mph scheme does not include that part of Derbyshire Lane and Warminster Road.  Cllr Aucklandfelt this was in part, due to a Council policy determined in 2010/11 which set out various hierarchies of speed, the research advisedthat the speeds on those roads would not be reduced.  Councillor Auckland advised that as a local resident, Mrs Jacklin should have received a letter regarding the consultation on this scheme, inviting a response. He felt that there should be police enforcement of 30mph on some roads and that the police had carried out some enforcement work, i.e. speed watch, on Derbyshire Lane. Through these speed watch exercises anyone caught speeding would be written to, but not necessarily prosecuted. He said there were humps and bumps by the school to slow traffic. Councillor Auckland also advised that each ward has been allocated a Speed Indication Device which would be moved to different priority areas during the year.


A local resident responded saying that she did not think that flashing signs would be enough to slow traffic down, she had been a pedestrian physically shaken by the speed of passing traffic.




Councillor Paul Turpin said that three years ago, 20mph zones had been introduced to some parts of Heeley, but it had not been possible to fully roll out the scheme, due to data being received, showing that the average speed along some roads, in particular Heeley Bank Road, was 27mph, under the normal speed limit of 30mph.




Question from Mr. Charlie Khan re Pavement Parking




My question is regarding pavement parking. Mr Khan said that despite repeated requests, no-one had visited his area to see the worsening effects of pavement parking around Belper Road. Mr Khan said that he was disabled and therefore unable to get out of his home and that the parking problem in the Sharrow/Nether Edge area was getting worse by the day.  He said that children can’t play, he cannot get of his own home unless he goes and asks someone to move. He said that when he had rung the Council about the matter, his call went to the answering service, asking him to leave a message and someone would get back to him, but no one ever has.




In response, Councillor Clement-Jones said that he would be more than happy to visit the area and discuss the problem  with Mr Khan.




Councillor Nighat Basharat said that she shared his concerns and hoped to provide residents with the opportunity to talk to local Councillors at local surgeries.  She said she lived in the Nether Edge/Sharrow area and shared the concerns of residents in those areas. She said that she would arrange a visit to the area shortly.




Councillor Maroof Raouf said he has already contacted the Head of Parking Services with regard to better enforcement against illegal pavement parking in the area .  He said more enforcement was needed and better education on the effects of illegal parking, including the use of social media.




Councillor Richard Shaw said that pavement parking was an endemic problem throughout the city and that there was a commitment tackle the problem to keep pavements clear and swept and that the issue was included within the Community Plan.




Councillor Alexi Dimond said that there was a pavement parking ban in the city centre, but not yet rolled out across the city. He encouraged residents to report pavement parking to Councillors and the police. He said that in the northwest of the city, there was a police enforcement scheme in place whereby should someone have to step into the road due to the pavement being blocked, the police had the power to act. However, illegal pavement parking had not been identified as a priority for  the South West Police area. He said consultation was also being carried out to ban grass verge parking, as this too blocked people being able to go out walking and it churned up the grass and had a negative impact on biodiversity. Cllr Dimond encouraged people to respond to the consultation.




Question from Joy Arnott, on behalf of the Terminus Project




Does the LAC have any flexibility within the Community Plan and budget, to put in place some support to address the cost-of-living crisis?




In response, Councillor Simon Clement-Jones said that the Council was looking into this matter and the role of the LACs, specifically in terms of whether grants can be given and also ward pots.  He would look to see what else could be done through the LACS.  He said following the pandemic, a structure had been put in place to assist those in need and it was hoped that the structure could be brought to the fore again.




Question from Dave Dolan




Dave Dolan asked whether there was anything that could be done to stop people parking outside the Mount Pleasant public house on Wednesday evenings?  He said it was impossible to get out of Mount View Road.




Councillor Sue Auckland said that she was not aware of the problem, but if Mr. Dolan left his details, she would visit the area on a Wednesday to see the problem for herself and see if there was anything that could be done.




Question/Comment from Nicki Rivers




Ms. Rivers said she was a local resident who worked for Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust. With regard to the council’s current consultation about parking on grass verges, she was disappointed in the consultation as she felt the questions were very narrow and that there wasn’t any free space / free text questions so people can provide more information. She said she was more than happy to give people the necessary information / contact details at the end of meeting.


The South LAC Team will also share this feedback with the team leading on the consultation.




Question from Brian Hurst




Brian Hurst said that since the closure of Hackthorn Road, the traffic, particularly at weekends, had been absolute chaos. He said the “Queues Likely” signs had done nothing to alleviate the problem. He said that the traffic lights were abysmal in terms of timing, and he asked if anyone would be willing to visit the area to witness what the effect had caused.




In response, Councillor Ian Auckland stated that the scheme was still under consultation which did not close until the 15th November through the “Connecting Sheffield”  website should Mr Hurst which to send in this feedback, he said that he would also feedback the comments that had been made. He said that the Lead Officer acting on this, was checking the timings of the traffic lights on Scarsdale Road, to improve the flow of traffic along the A61 and any changes to the Woodseats Road/Scarsdale Road traffic lights could significantly affect the traffic flow along Woodseats, so opinions on the matter were mixed, some residents thought that the traffic flow worked reasonably well, others not so well. Unfortunately, it was an age-old problem that goes back many years, regarding traffic cutting through Hackthorn Road and other roads in the area.




The following questions / comments all related to the closure of Rose Café in Graves Park. In attendance were Ruth Bell, Head of Parks and Countryside, Nathan Rodgers, Head of Facilities Management and Catherine McDougall, Graves Park Manager.




Andy Kershaw said that it had been 76 days since the Council closed the Rose Garden Café with 15 minutes notice. During that time, there had been anger, frustration and upset amongst the local community and many users of Graves Park. He said Graves Park was the largest park in the city and was rated number 10 throughout the United Kingdom as a visitor attraction on TripAdvisor; and that the café had brought a great deal of pleasure, joy and a meeting place to families, residents, walkers, dog walkers etc. over many years.  Andy Kershaw said that Graves Park was run as a Charitable Trust by the Council and asked how the Council fulfilled these duties if it did not meet on a regular basis.  He said many people were now demanding that a new survey of the building be carried out to assess the roof.  He said that not one single engineer had been to the café and inspected the roof space and he asked the Council to carry out a new survey, outline what the issues were in order to repair the roofand reinstate the 12 members of staff that were affected by the closure. 


Andy Kershaw said that if the Council were able to place container units in Fargate, why could it not put temporary measures in place to re-open the café. He said there had been offers to raise funds to get the café reopened. The café was not only a place to buy warm food, but it served as a social meeting place for many. He asked for a donation of £10,000 from the  South LAC budget to kickstart the refurbishment of the building and asked if residents could be included within the Charitable Trust, so that they could have a say on how the park was run. Finally, Andy Kershaw paid tribute to the officers involved saying that they had apologised for how the closure had been handled and he was looking forward to meeting with them again tomorrow to find a way forward and ensure demolition of the café was off the table.




Ruth Bell said she and her team were now working closely with the community; and advised that any donations towards the campaign would be greatly received. She said she was committed to supporting the reopening of the café in whatever form and was working with the “Friends of Graves Park” and “Save the Rose Garden” Groups and would be meeting with them the following day to go through some of the detail.




Nathan Rodgers said that he would share the programme of surveys and the propping works with the LAC Committee, he said the propping works would commence on 24th October and he would continue to work with the commercial operator of the café to see what, if anything, was possible over the period of time with the propping works in place.




The following were comments made from those in support of the campaign to save the café and responses thereto.




Sue Lee­ stated that she was the co-ordinator of the Wellbeing Walks in Sheffield which regularly held health walks through Graves Park every Monday morning. She said she had sent a formal complaint to the Council about the way the staff had been treated and stated the café was a much-needed facility for the health walkers.  She said it was not just about walking around the park, but it was very much about socialising and connecting and reducing social isolation.  She said she had asked whether a temporary facility could have been put in place and had received a response from the Council stating that they were waiting for a cart to be placed on site and for someone to run it, but this would not be possible until after the half term break. Ms. Lee said she was fearful of what might happen in the near future, if people were not able to socialise in a warm space after walking through the park, as she felt it would take quite some time for the consultation process to be completed.




Nathan Rodgers said it was difficult to understand if the café could operate with the propping installed due to the amount of scaffolding required. A design of the propping had been received today , he said he had left a message to meet a representative of brewkitchen’s  to review the designs to see what was   possible . He said there was no “propping” of the roof in the food preparation area but there was significant propping in the seating area of the café and also propping and scaffolding to the external area of the premises. Nathan Rodgers said there needed to be a number of surveys carried out to fully understand the situation and available options. 




Julie Collins introduced herself as the Café Manager, shethanked everyone for their support. She said that in August she received a phone call, giving 15 minutes for herself and her staff to vacate the premises. Since that time, nothing further had transpired. The community was totally behind the campaign and now the petition had over 10,500 signatures.  These had been very easy to gather, with people approaching her and her staff to sign their name and offer their support.  She said managing the café was more than a job to her, it had a social connection, was a great space for communities to meet, it had disabled accessibility and wide access for people with prams.  However, something needed to happen quickly as the weather was changing and people need an inside area within the park.




Nick Williams said he had looked through the accounts of the park and that the major income streams to the Council was rent from the café and car parking fees. He said that many people used the car park just so that they could use the café and also a share of the profits from the café were also paid to the Council. He asked why the Council had not used some of that revenue from the cafe to maintain the building.


Councillor Simon Clement-Jones said there had been a trend for the Council not to maintain its buildings over the years and it was time to buck that trend, as something like this was an alarm call not to get into situations similar to this.




Ruth Goddard said that not only was revenue received by the Council from the café and parking, but also from the fairs and events that were held within the park. She asked whether it would be possible for some of the equipment used for such events, to be used as temporary accommodation for a café of some sort, so that it could be reopened. She said that over the years, she had raised money for local schools and nurseries only for the Council to go their own way, knock things down, and disregard the views of local people. .




Councillor Simon Clement-Jones raised his concerns about where revenue from the café had been spent and agreed there was a need to find out why it had not been used to maintain the building.




Caroline Drewer Chair of the Friends of Graves Park said she had been on the Friends Group for the past 22 years and for 22 years had raised concerns about where revenue from the park had been spent. She said there had been campaigns to stop the Council selling off parts of the park over the years. She said the café was closed during the first week of the school holidays and she felt that the Council had a duty to maintain the park as it does for its other parks.  Also, she asked why the Council had given green flag status to 16 parks and open spaces around the city and had put money into them, but Graves Park had not been given such status and revenue. Ms. Drewer said that Graves Park was becoming run down, the gates not repaired when needed, the walls at the pond were crumbling into the water, the waterfall no longer worked etc., and the closure of the café was the last straw. She said there was a constant battle to keep the park as parkland. She said the Friends Group had managed to keep hold of two areas of the park that were to be redesignated for housing development, but there was a third area that was to be used as depot land. Why wont the Council restore the land to parkland?  She said she spends her free time trying to protect Graves Park, which was her choice as long as the park was protected and she asked the Council to spend some money on Graves Park.




Councillor Simon Clement-Jones said that he had been involved with the park over a number of years and wanted to see the best of it. He said he would be happy to be more involved in how the park was run and felt that the Trustees should be more involved than they were at present.  He said he was grateful to everyone coming to the meeting and making their point.




Marian Parkinson said that the Council had a duty of care. She said that although the Council says it has no money, the staff should be compensated for unfair dismissal.




Councillor Ian Auckland said he had been a Councillor for the Graves Park Ward for many years, the “Hands Off Campaign” was probably the campaign which got him elected to the Council and that he was sorry to say that some of the decisions taken by the Trustees he had totally opposed. Councillor Auckland said that the café was the beating heart of the park and he hoped to protect the parks’ legacy left by the benefactor, J. G. Graves in the 1920s. He said that he wanted to protect it, renew it and make it one of the best park cafes in the country.


He was heartened by the comments of the chief officer to get the café reopened.  Councillor Auckland said that money was available in the Community Infrastructure Levy known as CIL, which was a planning charge to developers and could be used to support development in an area by funding the provision, improvement, replacement, operation or maintenance of infrastructure and so he felt that this could be used to support the restoration and improvement of Rose Café.  Councillor Auckland advised that Graves Park Ward members would be looking to allocate £10,000 from the Graves Park CIL Pot and suggested that other Wards in the area might wish to do the same as a matter of solidarity, but this was something that might need to be discussed at Members’ briefing sessions. Councillor Auckland said that it was going to take a big effort to get the ball rolling to make the building good for the future and was hopeful for partnership working between officers and the Friends Groups. Since the matter of trusteeship had been raised, he was totally in favour of local Councillors, especially LAC Councillors being involved in the management of the park and being appointed Trustees of the park, alongside community involvement.


Councillor Auckland referred to the Council’s Constitution under Part 4G of the Area Committee procedure rules which states that “it is possible for a local area committee to refer to a Committee of the Council any item of business that is discussed at a meeting and suggested that this be referred to the appropriate Committee, either the Governance Committee or Strategy and Resources Committee, or both. He said that there was to be a Charities Sub-Committee meeting due to be held sometime during October so that may also be the appropriate route.


This was put to South LAC Committee, who agreed that this suggestion should be referred to the appropriate Committee.




Councillor Marieanne Elliot stated that the café was very well used by many people around the city as well as locally, and she would fully support the campaign. She said that she would like to better understand how people feel the Charitable Trust had mismanaged their duty.




Councillor Richard Shaw said that it was noticeably clear that the park meant a great deal to many people and he would be happy to support the proposals set out by Councillor Auckland. Councillor Shaw said that Graves Park was gifted land and as such, should not be sold off or developed on. He felt that Councillors and residents should be part of the Charity Trust. He said that he would support the principle of a £10,000 contribution from the Beauchief and Greenhill CIL pot and also felt that the Council should be asked to allocate some of the city-wide CIL fund to this very worthy cause.




Councillor Steve Ayris felt that the South LAC as a whole could contribute towards the renovation of the café and supported the principle of devolving the powers of the Graves Park Trust, which in recent years had been served by 10 members of the Council, none of whom were Graves Park Ward Councillors. He said the structural disrepair of buildings like the café was endemic throughout the city and the real solution was to ensure that the Council had a duty of care to its buildings.  He said the park was in the top ten of the most used parks in the city. Councillor Ayris suggested that CIL funding could be allocated from across the four Wards in the South LAC area.




Councillor NighatBasharat said that she had visited and enjoyed the park on many occasions and was familiar with the impact the closure of the cafe had had on the local community. She said that it was sad that this had happened, and it was important that any community space be maintained, whilst realising that money was a big issue everywhere and discussions should be held city-wide to support the park.




Councillor Sue Auckland said that she lived local to the park and walked through it almost every day and had held conversations with many people and listened to their concerns about the way the staff were treated. She said that it was an awful situation to lose their jobs in such a way, many of the staff worked part-time which fitted in with their home lives and other responsibilities.  She believed that negotiations with the developer were ongoing and asked that those negotiations and the outcome be communicated to the public so that they were kept fully informed of the latest position.




Councillor Maroof Raouf said that he was sad to see the closure of the café, but he held some concerns about allocating CIL funding from his Ward to the Graves Park Ward and so further discussions should be held between members.




Councillor Simon Clement-Jones said that in principle he also agreed that £10,000 could be ring fenced from the Beauchief and Greenhill CIL allocation towards the restoration and improvement of Rose Cafe. He advised that this would be subject to CIL funding going through the proper approval channels. 


Councillor Clement-Jones said there would be plenty of opportunities to raise further questions/discussion points when the item was brought to Full Council on 2nd November.


He thanked everyone for their attendance for this item.