To receive any questions or petitions from members of the public
The Policy Committee received four petitions from members of the public.
The Policy Committee received a petition ‘Totley Deli and Café’. Deborah Leonards attended the meeting and presented the petition to the committee.
The petitioner explained that twice in the last four years a vehicle had crashed into the front of Totley Deli and Café. The committee was asked to consider possible safety measures to prevent a further incident and potential casualties.
The Chair thanked the petitioner for bringing the petition and advised that this issue had been raised by the ward Councillors and all options had been fully investigated.
It was not possible to install bollards or a pedestrian railing, both must be installed a certain distance from the kerb edge and there was not enough pavement width to allow the installation of these structures while maintaining the pavement width to ensure that all users (mobility scooters/prams/pushchairs as examples) could still access the area.
It should be acknowledged that the recent incident that resulted in damage to the deli and café was as a result of driver error and the Council was not able to engineer solutions for all such circumstances.
Officers had investigated raising the kerb edge but the survey concluded that raising the kerb would alter water run off, and there would be potential for water to then enter the shops, as the pavement dips at this particular point.
The options left were extremely limited and would result in loss of parking. Officers were continuing to discuss this with Local Ward Members. A sum of money had been allocated by the Local Area Committee to help find a solution and this would be carried forward into the new financial year.
The Chair advised that he would be happy to visit the site.
The Policy Committee received a petition ‘Make the CAZ a non-charging Scheme’. Diane Wood attended the meeting and presented the petition to the committee.
The petitioner explained to the committee that in 2018 when Sheffield City Council wrote to the Government regarding the Clean Air Zone, the ring road was not included in the list of roads that would be affected. The ring road had been designed to take traffic away from the city centre and its inclusion had generated bad feeling amongst members of the public.
The number of people that had signed the petition hosted on the Council’s website was 400 and considered to be low, due to the information petitioners were required to input before signing. A query was also raised as to why the scheme had been implemented, when an FOI request revealed that only two areas of Sheffield breached the acceptable levels of nitrogen dioxide.
The Chair acknowledged the comments regarding the website and confirmed that he would look into that further. It was noted that at various stages throughout the development of Sheffield and Rotherham’s Clean Air Plan, consultation events were held. Examples were given as follows:
· Public consultation on the CAP proposals including a category C ‘+’ (higher ultra-low emission standard for taxis) was undertaken between the 1 July and 26 August 2019 covering both Sheffield and Rotherham. Around 12,000 responses were received to the consultation.
· Additional stakeholder engagement with business and other impacted groups / individuals was undertaken during 2020 and into early 2021, this provided some essential insights to inform further development of the mitigation funding and exemption proposals.
· Consultation to inform the final proposals was undertaken from 22 November to the 17 December 2021 and fed into the final FBC proposals, changes were made to the financial assistance schemes and proposed exemptions based on consultation and engagement feedback.
Details of consultation events were publicly available on the SCC website
Sheffield’s charging clean air zone went live on 27 February, 2023 and was assessed, agreed, and signed off by government as the preferred option for delivering compliance with NO2 levels within the shortest possible time.
SCC would encourage as many motorists as possible to apply for financial support to upgrade their vehicles; this is the optimal way of avoiding the daily charge, and critically of driving fleet change, that improves air quality such to the extent that the city is within legal limits of NO2.
The petitioner’s proposal to implement a non-charging zone was considered but ‘ruled-out’ in the development of the council’s outline business case, which was approved by central government in early 2021 – in effect a non-charging CAZ would be less effective (if at all) in delivering compliance within the shortest possible time. It should also be noted that the zone is one of a number of measures within our Clean Air Plan with Rotherham Council, of which the others are of a non-charging nature.
The Policy Committee received a petition ‘The introduction of red routes along Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road’. Richard Brogden attended the meeting and presented the petition to the committee.
The petitioner explained that the petition responders were vehemently opposed to plans put forward by Sheffield City Council (and Connecting Sheffield) relating to the introduction of red routes along Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road. These objections include the extension of bus lane operational hours, and the prevention of waiting, loading and parking outside businesses up and down both roads. We as a community support the diverse and vibrant community of retailers and services that line both roads, and understand that restrictions (such as those proposed) will only damage growth, as a result of consumer convenience reduction.
The Chair thanked the petitioner for bringing the petition and apologised for the delay in the consultation process related to this scheme. Initial consultation began in the winter of 2021 and it was expected that a report on the project would be considered by this committee in the summer of 2023. No decision had been taken at the time of the committee meeting.
The Chair emphasised the importance of listening to the views of local residents and involving cross party representation when raising the key issues and concerns with Councillors.
The Policy Committee received a petition ‘Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road bus priority project’. Charlie Chester attended the meeting and presented the petition to the committee.
The petitioner expressed concerns that the proposed scheme was causing a loss of business confidence in the area. The original consultation exercise had taken place over two years ago and the 3500 responses were overwhelmingly negative. It was suggested that it may be appropriate to conduct another public consultation. The uncertainty for businesses had become the main issue and the petitioner urged the committee to listen to the public.
The Chair acknowledged that small businesses contributed significantly to Sheffield’s economy. It was reiterated that, at that time there had been no final decisions on either the Abbeydale Road or Ecclesall Road bus priority schemes. When the Committee did meet to formally consider the report on the scheme, if the Transport, Regeneration and Climate Policy Committee determined that any amendments to the bus lane hours of operation or red routes should be taken forward, a further statutory consultation stage on final detailed proposals would then be required.
The Policy Committee received thirteen questions from members of the public. Five members of the public did not attend to ask their question, a written response would be provided.
Question from: Russell Cutts
I have seen that an application to install a cycle store by an individual at the front of their house has been turned down by Sheffield Council.
The reason given was that it 'would be harmful to the character of the property itself and the street scene, detracting from the visual appearance of the street and would therefore be contrary to Policies H14 and BE5 of the Sheffield Unitary Development Plan, Policy CS74 of the Core Strategy and Paragraph 130 of the Revised NPPF 2021.'
With the new local plan, which replaces these policies, would this application have been approved? Does the committee think that people should be allowed to install cycle stores at their houses? Is this something the council supports given that keeping bikes in homes is problematic especially for terraced houses, HMOs etc?
The Chair thanked the questioner and stated that members were committed to providing sufficient and secure cycle parking for existing and future residents across the city. This was why the Parking Guidelines in the draft Local Plan set out minimum cycle parking standards and the expectation was that for new residential development cycle parking would be integrated into the development itself, however the supporting text makes provision for considering alternatives where that wasn’t possible. This could include on-street parking such as cycle hangars.
It was not appropriate for the committee to comment on individual planning applications, but noted that the impact of alternative cycle storage proposals such as on-street cycle hangers would always need to be considered with respect to other factors such as the established character of an area, and the need to provide sufficient space on highways for residents to go about their daily activities safely.
Questions from: Jill Giannotta
COUNCILLORS, before you destroy hundreds of businesses along Ecclesall and Abbeydale Rd with the Red Lines Proposal, think carefully: ARE YOU EVEN SURE THAT THIS IS THE SOLUTION TO THE ALLEGED CONGESTION ON THOSE ROADS?
Because you have to be very, very sure before taking such drastic action, and I am not certain that you are. I can find no proper report/ study/ investigation in the public domain which supports the need for such action.
So, in the absence of this evidence I did a little investigation and observation myself. I live on Ecclesall Rd South, just 300m from where the bus Lane begins. I have a shop on Lower Banner Cross with a bus stop just outside. I also have relatives living on lower Ecclesall Rd, just below the Tesco Precinct.
Using those three points of reference, over a six month period, noting traffic flow, I would challenge the assumption that there is congestion on the WHOLE of Ecclesall Rd, during the WHOLE of the day. Of course there is congestion in the morning and evening rush hour, but bus lanes are already in operation during these times. Hunter’s Bar roundabout and Brocco Bank are areas of concern, as you are well aware.
At times outside the rush hours, traffic flows fairly smoothly. The 2pm congestion build-up, postulated by a senior member of the Green Party during a conversation in my shop is totally at variance with my own observations. During the 2 weeks since our conversation, I observed no early rush hour, and indeed the average number of people on the bus was 10 at this time of day.
I also searched the online Sheffield Forum for conversations about congestion, and Ecclesall Rd and Abbeydale Rd hardly get a mention. The areas of most concern are Park Square, The Parkway, Maylin Bridge and Heeley.
The Chair thanked the questioner for highlighting their concerns and advised that his response would be given in combination with the answers to Mr Raoof on the same subject.
Questions from: Nasar Raoof
I would like to ask questions at the committee regarding the red lines and bus lanes saga;
1. Lack of consultation-
2. When will businesses be given the clear clarity which is lacking?
3. Will political parties make the assurance today and take this opportunity to respond to the petitions and questioners?
4. Why business’s being treated with such contempt to not even get a response for over a year?
The Chair thanked the questioner for highlighting their areas of concern and assured them that the Council was in the listening phase of their consultation process. The South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) had offered to carry out an Economic Impact Assessment (EIA) and this would help the members to make an informed decision on a large and complex scheme.
Question from: Rob Reiss
The Archer Project, S6 Foodbank and The Besom in Sheffield. All are charities in Sheffield that require vans to conduct their vital work in this city.
The clean air zone will require these charities, and many like them, to either spend £10 a day to conduct their work or spend their own money on new vehicles because the grant doesn't go far enough.
Does the committee believe that this is a good use of public donations to these charities and were charities considered when this scheme was designed?
The Chair thanked the questioner for bringing the issue to the committee and started by thanking them for all of the great work they were doing to support people through the cost of living crisis and the difficult circumstances people currently find themselves in, which has clearly worsened over the last 12 months as the CAZ was being finalised.
The Clean Air Zone did include certain exemptions from charges and the Chair committed to working with officers to see if further support could be put in place to assist the work of the food banks in the city.
Questions from: Diane Wood
1. Could you please confirm which report has been used and the date that report was produced for quoting about the 500 deaths in Sheffield caused by Air Pollution, and could you please make this report accessible to the general public?
2. If you have used figures from the House of Commons report by Robert Vaughan from DEFRA in 2010 as quoted in SCC’s “2015 Air Quality Plan”, (which indicates it is SCC interpretation of the DEFRA report) does that mean an additional 3500 or more people have died unnecessarily in Sheffield due to SCC’s inaction and does that mean SCC has failed to protect its citizens?
3. According to Friends of the Earth website, Sheffield has 2 neighbourhoods with very high air pollution, they also stated Leeds had 20, can you please confirm why Sheffield City Council have failed by not been able to cancel the CAZ Category C scheme with only 2 areas that have high air pollution, but Leeds who had 20 areas have improved their air pollution allowing them not to have a CAZ. Can you please tell the citizens of Sheffield why you as a council have failed where Leeds have succeeded and does that mean this council is not fit for purpose?
4. Below are details from the Office for National Statistics from information provided by DERFA on NO2 levels. As you can see there is only one instance where the NO2 level is above the illegal level of 40as per the Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010, and that was in Sheffield Barnsley Road site in 2016, What data has SCC got that has proved that we are exceeding the NO2 levels, and can that be made public via SCC website?
[ARCHIVED CONTENT] ENV02 - Air quality statistics - GOV.UK (nationalarchives.gov.uk)
5. Under a recent Freedom of Information request to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) they have confirmed that between 2001 and 2022 only 1 person has died as a direct result of Air Pollution and that was in London. How can SCC state that Air Pollution kills 500 people every year in Sheffield and where is the evidence to support this claim?
6. How many small businesses are SCC willing to sacrifice to this CAZ scheme and the Kelham Island/Neepsend road plans scheme, which also impacts on peoples’ livelihoods and ultimately their lives.?
7. Can you please confirm or deny that in 2018 the Government wrote to SCC asking what SCC are doing about NO2 levels, and at that point in time no compulsory CHARGEABLE CAZ had been dictated to SCC by Central Government, could you also confirm or deny that in December 2018 SCC “voluntary” replied to Central Government that the preferred option they wanted was a “Chargeable CAZ ( Class C)” and could you confirm/deny that in 2019 the Government confirmed to SCC that it was ok to consult on the scheme and implement it and to send a full business case to the Government.
8. The “Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010” require that the annual mean concentration of NO2 must not exceed 40. According to a recent FOI reply from SCC they stated that there were only 2 areas within the current CAZ scheme that had illegal NO2 levels, Location 1: Arundel Gate, which SCC stated “operates as a busy bus interchange and is exposing a significant number of pedestrians and bus passengers to its non-compliant levels of NO2 and will therefore need to be treated as a ‘special case’, Location 2: is Sheaf Street (Train Station). In the 2018 Business Case from SCC to Central Government, point 2.3.11 states “The locations for target determination in Sheffield are Parkway (A57), Sheaf Street (A61), Sheffield Road (A6178) and Arundel Gate (C710)”. Can you please confirm when and why SCC changed this to include the ring road which was built to take traffic away from the city centre. And which party if any did not want the ring road included in the CAZ scheme?
9. SCC have stated that private cars will not be included in the CAZ scheme, however, in the “2018 Business Case” under the “Procurement Approach section” point 4.5.16 stated “It is acknowledged that, whilst SCC has identified a CAZ C+ as the preferred option, there may be a requirement, either as determined through the OBC / FBC approvals, and point 4.5.17 states “The tender documentation will therefore include requests for costs and proposals in relation to the delivery of infrastructure to support a CAZ D, alongside the core requirement for delivery of the CAZ C+. This CAZ D element will be optional and triggered at the discretion of SCC, either at contract award following FBC, or as a contract change once the contract is in place. So why if SCC has stated this will NOT include private cars does is need the Category D section including in its charging system?.
10. In the recent Street Tree enquiry, several points were raised.
• “The Council was slow to understand the scale and nature of opposition that was building gradually in several parts of the city”
• “Despite a large and growing number of information requests, correspondence and complaints, the Council genuinely thought that things were progressing smoothly. They dismissed as unrepresentative evidence to the contrary from local people, experts and interest groups.
• “Our conclusion is that the Council’s behaviour amounted to a serious and sustained failure of strategic leadership. Responsibility for that ultimately rests with the political leadership, in particular the relevant Cabinet member and the Council Leader: they were responsible for setting the direction and tone.
• And people on all sides suffered anxiety, stress, injuries, wider physical and mental health problems and other harms which some continue to carry.
Can you please acknowledge that SCC have still not learnt lessons, there are people all over this city who are against the ring road being included in the Chargeable Clean Air Zone, and also against the plans for Kelham Island road changes, however, SCC seem to just be forcing these on Sheffield residents even though there are large numbers who oppose both schemes, and as with the “Tree debacle” SCC are still not listening to the will of the citizens of Sheffield and they are causing many to suffer anxiety, stress, and physical and mental health problems.
11. On 1st March 2023 Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Co-Chair of the Transport, Regeneration and Climate Policy Commitee stated on BBC Radio Sheffield that he had taken the red line zone proposals on Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road ‘off the table’ after meeting with businesses who were worried about the bus priority plan. The proposals included a 12-hour bus lanes operating from 7am to 7pm. councillor Mazher Iqbal also confirmed that Labour councillors do not want to see any changes to the current parking arrangements and no increases to the restriction time, councillor Barbara Masters (LibDem Ecclesall) and councillor Andy Sangar, group spokesman on the transport committee, gave their own assurances at the meetings with businesses this week. On 2nd March Council leader Terry Fox said: “The reason we are doing this is quite simple – private operators have significantly cut back our bus networks since these red route schemes were being devised 18 months ago. However, according to “The Star”, Councillor Douglas Johnson (Greens) said it was “encouraging that councillor Julie Grocutt (Labour) was finally facing up to the problems of pollution, parking and congestion on Ecclesall and Abbeydale roads. Councillor Douglas Johnson stated on BBC radio Sheffield that what Councillor Mazher Iqbal had said was a complete lie. Could you please confirm if the plans for Ecclesall Road and Abbeydale Road have been taken off the table permanently or just until the summer after the local elections have taken place? And do councillor Terry Fox and councillor Julie Grocutt have differing views on this issue? And is Councillor Douglas Johnson right to say Councillor Mazher Iqbal lied? We as voters need to know who is lying about this issue
12. In a meeting on 20th February (available to view on SCC website ) councillor Mazher Iqbal stated that members of the new transport, regeneration and climate policy committee, especially himself and co-chair Councillor Julie Grocutt, had been “mopping up his messes” (referring to councillor Douglas Johnson), could you please confirm what councillor Johnsons messes are so the citizens of Sheffield are aware of these issue
Sheffield Green accuses Labour councillor of ‘lying’ in row over red line zones | The Star
13. In the same meeting, Councillor Mazher Iqbal has previously stated that councillor Douglas Johnson (Greens) “owes an apology to the residents of Crookes, to the residents in Walkley, to the residents in Nether Edge, to the residents in Abbeydale Road and businesses, and to the same residents and businesses on Ecclesall Road, because the anxiety, the frustration and the fear, the scaremongering, has been caused by himself.” Could you please confirm what Douglas Johnson needs to apologise for, and has he done this yet?.
Sheffield Green accuses Labour councillor of ‘lying’ in row over red line zones | The Star
The Chair thanked the questioner for their questions and advised that due to the time constraints of the meeting, a full written response would be provided and the details published with the minutes of the meeting.
Question from: Bridget Kelly
There is considerable concern amongst residents of Ecclesfield and Chapeltown about traffic flow, both areas having close proximity to the M1 and A61, respectively. Traffic comes off a fast moving road, designed for that purpose, at speed into built up, urban areas where mothers with pushchairs and people with mobility issues have to navigate roads unfit for the speed or volume of traffic.
Safety issues resulting from the speed of traffic are by a lack of safe crossings. Particular areas of concern are around many of our local schools. Poor signage and in some instances no signing of speed limits, compounds this road safety hazard.
This is a resource issue. I ask the Chairs of the Committees to work with Ecclesfield & Chapeltown Traffic Action Group (ECTAG) to find ways of funding solutions. The group would also offer a sensitive and responsive local consultation.
Isolation amongst elderly members of the community that lived in apartments was being compounded by their inability to cross the road easily.
The Chair thanked the questioner for highlighting these concerns and agreed that isolation was an issue that should be taken very seriously and that people of all ages should be able to get out of their homes.
The Chair advised that local speed limits were set using strict criteria defined by the Department for Transport. The assessment process includesd the determination of the speed limit related primarily to how the road environment feels to the driver. Therefore, the transition from a motorway/dual carriageway to a local road should be obvious to a driver and their behaviour changed accordingly. The Chair recommended that if this was a concern, this should be raised with South Yorkshire Police for enforcement.
The Chair offered to visit the site and speak with local residents.
Question from: John Wright
I would like to submit a public question to the Transport, Regeneration and Climate Policy Committee which is meeting this Thursday the 16th of March.
As a resident living within the Crookes Active Neighbourhood Scheme I have a personal interest in this issue. I am directly affected by the scheme and very keen to know which measures will be made permanent (if any) and what is going to happen next.
I hear that £200,000 has been committed to the ongoing development of the Active Neighbourhood Schemes.
How is the £200k is to be allocated - what proportion of it is intended to be used for making any retained interventions permanent?
Is there any scope for alterations to the trial interventions if analysis of the consultation responses demonstrates an appetite for amending or re-designing, rather than scrapping certain measures?
Is it possible that any of this funding could be allocated to scoping out potential residents' parking permit zones, given that this has been raised as a request by a number of residents in response to the Active Neighbourhood trial? I would support such a move, parking on my road is terrible and has been worsened by the implementation of the scheme.
The Chair thanked the questioner for raising their concerns with the committee. The initial six month period for comments linked to the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order for this scheme had ended and was accepting comments until 3rd March 2023. The scheme would then be reviewed, this was expected to take place in summer 2023.
The Chair referred to the £200,000 allocation and explained that it was expected that it would be used to pay for a contribution to ongoing communication, monitoring and evaluation and data collection, in the run up to the decision being made at the TRC Committee.
Question from: Michael Chilton
1) How and when was the working group for the Draft Local Plan formed and who sits on it?
2) Can residents and I have an update on the Eckington Way site following the working groups meeting on the 6th March?
The Chair thanked the questioner for their questions and explained that the Local Plan Member Working Group was formed following endorsement by the Cooperative Executive in October 2021.
After the Local elections in May 2022 the role and mandate of the Working Group was reinforced at the Strategy and Resources Committee in May 2022.
Current Membership of the Group was
- Cllr Julie Grocutt
- Cllr Mazher Iqbal
- Cllr Paul Turpin
- Cllr Christine Gilligan Kubo
- Cllr Mike Levery
- Cllr Andrew Sangar
Officers were still working through the large number of comments that were made on the Draft Plan. Recommended responses to the issues raised (including any proposed amendments) would be discussed with Members from mid-April to the end of June before being considered formally by the Strategy & Resources Policy Committee in July 2023 and full Council in September 2023
Questions from: James Martin
As the SRC has resolved to no longer buy Green Sourced Energy Certificates and pass the budget allocation (approx. £40k) to alternative use such as into sustainability officer roles I would like to make the committee aware of an identified gap from an equalities perspective. With the far and wide reach of change required to meet the councils net zero carbon goal by 2030 it is clear that existing engagement groups with the disabled community will not have capacity to help the council to spot and adapt as many proposals to ensure that they continue to allow all to live and use the city. With changes already in the pipeline across transport and the built environment the ALG agenda is already full and there are challenges in both officer resourcing and frankly independent resource from Disability Sheffield to facilitate and direct independently the consultation and out reach needed.
I have flagged with senior officers the additional capacity needed and as yet solutions on the ‘extra’ needed for climate change adjustments have not been identified hence raising this now for your consideration. There is a manifest need to invest in this areas so that all policies that are implemented and buildings and streets are fully accessible as well as green. There is also clearly a need for everyone’s’ good to help communities to be aware of changes and why to reduce the negative reaction and concerns. Resourcing a more concerted effort across officer and VCS capacity is vital over the next few years. Will the councillors of the committee carefully consider this need when planning to use the modest annual sum released by the Strategy and Resource?
As an example, of a built environment issue from the local plan and recent issues bought to Disability Sheffield. The 20-minute neighbourhood concept is great in many ways, however, how does this interact with issues in established areas of the city where few shops have level access, what are the results if the few accessible retail units close (which has happened in parts of the city) or there are real practical difficulties in some areas is the show stopper. This means for some they are forced to travel further to access shops and services and therefore must in many cases use public transport or blue badge spaces. Ensuring these and other factors are grasped and are not missed across the full suite of policies needed will take time and co-design with disabled community for the benefit of all citizens.
The Chair thanked the questioner for presenting his questions to the committee and explained that a full written response would be provided.
The Director of Investment, Climate Change and Planning acknowledged that it was vitally important for Sheffield City Council to listen to its disabled residents and that it was indeed necessary to make adequate corporate resource available to ensure that Sheffield was accessible to all.
(NOTE: During the discussion of the above item the Committee agreed, in accordance with Council Procedure rules, that as the meeting was approaching the two hours and 30 minutes time limit, the meeting should be extended by a period of 30 minutes).