Agenda item

Members' Questions

5.1      Questions relating to urgent business – Council Procedure Rule 16.6(ii).


5.2      Questions relating to the discharge of the functions of the South Yorkshire Joint Authorities (under the provisions of Section 41 of the Local Government Act 1985) and of the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority – Council Procedure Rule 16.6(i).


5.3      Supplementary questions on written questions submitted at this meeting – Council Procedure Rule 16.4.





Urgent Business




There were no questions relating to urgent business under the provisions of Council Procedure Rule 16.6(ii).




South Yorkshire Joint and Combined Authorities




The Lord Mayor (Councillor Sioned-Mair Richards) reported that Councillor Jayne Dunn had given advance notice of three questions relating to the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority, and this had enabled Councillor Tony Damms, the Council’s Spokesperson on the Fire and Rescue Authority, to make arrangements for a response to be provided at this meeting.  She invited Councillor Dunn to ask her questions.




Councillor Dunn asked “Can the Fire & Rescue Authority please update Council on the prohibition notice served on Wicker Riverside building? When were inspections carried out, and what are the responsibilities on the landlord?”




In response, Councillor Damms stated that he had anticipated many more questions on this and had invited Andy Strelczenie, Assistant Chief Fire Officer (SYF&R Service), to attend the meeting to provide an update in relation to the Wicker Riverside building, and he invited Mr. Strelczenie to speak.




Mr. Strelczenie said that the Fire and Rescue Authority had been the enforcing authority and had issued a prohibition notice on the building, which currently had an enforcement notice in place which expires on 31st January, 2023.  He said he had been working closely with Nine Developments Limited, who were the landlords of the building, the Right to Management Company, put in place by the residents in 2019, and also Love Your Block, who manage the building on behalf of the residents.  He said that he had intended to bring some technical officers to the meeting to provide in depth technical advice but unfortunately they were unable to attend.  Andy Strelczenie said that he was encouraged by the work carried out so far, mainly around securing the necessary funding to enable the remedial works to be carried out.  He said the number one priority was the residents of the building, and he thanked Janet Sharpe, Director of Housing of the City Council, for the work she was carrying out should there be a need to decant the building after the 31st of January.  At the moment, the prohibition notice was still in place.  Every resident of the building had received a letter outlining the plans for the building and there was to be a virtual call for all the residents to join over the next two evenings so that they could raise any questions they had.  He said that the Fire Service was also willing to meet residents face to face should they so wish. He said that it must have been a nightmare for the residents of the building, and he appreciated the problems faced by them, but was encouraged with the dialogue carried out so far with the responsible persons and that continued to be the case.   He said that, given the fact that this had been ongoing for the past two years, there needed to be a clear timeline of events and to secure funding for the prohibition notice.  He said that this situation was long overdue, and it was time that it was concluded.




Councillor Martin Phipps thanked the Fire and Rescue Service and Council workers for the work already carried out on this and said that it was unfair for people to live in a building where they felt unsafe and that there was a need to bring this matter to a close.  Andy Strelczenie gave an assurance that he would be quite happy to provide any further information should the situation change and should the necessary funding become available so that the works could be carried out, he would keep Councillor Phipps and residents fully updated.




Councillor Dunn asked if the Government had contacted the Fire Service and asked for evidence or were they sitting back and passing the buck, and was also interested to know how closely the Fire Service had worked with the Government and whether the Fire Service had sufficient resources to deal with this matter?




Andy Strelczenie said that he had been in direct contact with the Government and that they had telephoned him two or three times the previous week asking for an update.  He said that he had sent to them all correspondence from residents and that the residents had been very supportive and received regular updates.  They continued to ring and speak to him asking for a weekly update and were supportive of the work being carried out by the Fire Service.




Councillor Dunn stated that it was a long time since this started and asked if this had escalated in the last six to 12 months?




Andy Strelczenie said that it was close to the two-year anniversary of issuing the enforcement notice, and the reason for serving such notice had been to put pressure on the responsible persons to carry out remedial works, but clearly this had not been the case.  He said that whilst it was not normal practice to put in place a forward-facing prohibition notice as the normal protocol would be to go to a building, find an issue with it and then serve an enforcement notice, it was thought appropriate to give as much advance notice as possible to residents to enable them to find alternative accommodation.  He added that it was hoped to bring this to a satisfactory conclusion, but there needed to be some firm commitment to securing funding.  The residents of the building continued to pay service charges and they deserved better.




Lord Mayor thanked Mr. Strelczenie for attending the meeting to provide the update, and Councillor Damms also thanked him for attending the meeting and added that this was a serious issue that had been going on for too long and, in his opinion, the landlords need to understand that it was time that this matter was resolved.




There were no further questions relating to the discharge of the functions of the South Yorkshire Joint Authorities for Fire and Rescue and Pensions and of the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, under the provisions of Council Procedure Rule 16.6(i).




Written Questions




A schedule of questions to Chairs of Policy Committees, submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 16, and which contained written answers, was circulated.  Supplementary questions, under the provisions of Council Procedure Rule 16.4, were asked and were answered by the appropriate Policy Committee Chairs.




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