Agenda item

Public Questions and Petitions

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



The Committee received the following questions from members of the public who had attended the meeting to raise them:-




(a)  Chris Fox




What plans, if any, exist to continue the work done to develop the Green Flag award winning park status in our area, given the austere times and cuts. Much has been nurtured to s . Gardening teams are concerned that the work they have started will start to fall apart. We have well used parks that are really important, Is there still some commitment within budgets for this?




The Chair noted that Mr Fox had played a big part in supporting Local Area Committee events and thanked him for the work he carried out within his local area.




Darren Whittaker?? from Parks, confirmed that there was no additional allocation of funding for the north east of Sheffield. The next park to be considered for a Green Flag award would be Hillsborough Park. He confirmed that Firth Park would continue to have Green Flag status, after passing the ‘mystery shopper’ spot check in 2022. Other parks, including Meersbrook Park, would be considered in due course.




Mr Fox stated that he hoped funding could allow gardeners in Firth Park to continue their work in achieving the Green Flag status.




Mr Whittaker? noted that he was unable to advise on budgets, but confirmed that it was a source of pride to those involved that so many Green Flag awards had been achieved, and that work would continue as long as budgets allowed.




Councillor Mike Chaplin confirmed that resource had been going into parks across the north east of Sheffield, for example, a pavilion had been built in Parson Cross Park a few years ago. He added that work had been carried out in Foxhill Park, including a new footpath and climbing frames. He noted that there were currently difficulties around keeping naming signs up around the park.




Councillor Peter Price explained that there may have been staffing changes within parks, but that the budget had been maintained with no reductions. He added that this was a success story due to parks being maintained and improved despite budget issues.




Councillor Jayne Dunn believed that it was important to ensure an equal ability across Sheffield to access open space, and to retain Green Flag status to ensure fairness for the north east of Sheffield. She noted that other parks across the city had received investment, and asked that the Committee seek answers from the Communities, Parks and Leisure Policy Committee to ensure equal investment across the city.




Councillor Price added that Firth Park had managed to utilise funding that had been available for local shopping areas, and had obtained seats and tables for the park and improvements to the flower beds. He explained that it was important to be creative and be aware of different funding streams, and noted the success of local voluntary groups in raising money for Firth Park. He hoped that Concord Park and other parks could follow in the same way.




The Chair advised that there was still some Local Area Committee funding available for environmental and park improvements which could assist in maintaining Green Flag status.. She stated that it was important to use funding wisely, and suggested that these questions were put to the Communities, Parks and Leisure Committee.




Mick requested that residents be consulted to ensure that plans for parks meet the needs of the people using them.




The Chair advised that the investment referred to for Firth Park had been via business recovery funding, so had been driven by businesses. She noted that different funding would feed into improvements in different ways, and agreed that it was important to hear what residents wanted in their areas and to collectively agree options. She added that there was currently a live survey to seek views on how the North East Local Area Committee could better communicate across the area, and the link to this survey would be shared.




Councillor Mark Jones believed it was important to enable communities to have an input. He noted the good work of ‘Friends of’ groups, which were volunteer led. He believed that although Parkwood Springs had a dedicated ranger, it appeared as though rangers appeared more in other parts of the city than in the north east. He felt that that the north east of Sheffield was underserved, and asked that this be put as a question to the Communities, Parks and Leisure Policy Committee. He hoped for parks in the north east of Sheffield not to be overlooked and under-resourced, and to be given the same prestige and privilege as others across the city.




RESOLVED: that the Committee meet to discuss questions which would then be put directly to the Communities, Parks and Leisure Policy Committee.




Chris Fox had noticed defibrillators had been installed at key locations within the area, and asked if some of the yet unallocated Local Area Committee funding could be used to find and fund the installation of defibrillators at further suitable locations.




In response, the Chair noted that the North East Local Committee had provided funding to assist with installation of the defibrillators that Mr Fox had mentioned, which were reasonably widespread across the area. She explained that there were other funding streams available for  provision of defibrillators, and that it was important to identify where they could be installed and any potential barriers to fitting, to ensure a more efficient process.




Mick Daniels stated that most firms (such as doctors and dentists) had defibrillators but didn’t share this widely, and that it was important to consult when choosing locations for installation to ensure safety and to avoid vandalism.  He welcomed more defibrillators in the area but noted that funding was important.




The Chair noted that funding was available and that locations of defibrillators could be found via a Google search for ‘defibrillator finder’. She added that when looking at suggested locations there was work involved in checking, for example, land ownership and power supply.




(b)  Mick Daniels




I am concerned about the state of Council housing and have recently attended a Housing and Neighbourhoods Advisory Panel meeting and found out that none of the figures were on target. The number of houses being built had been cut back and 1,300 properties stand empty. I am not able to attend Full Council meetings to ask questions, but am concerned that rent has increased, but it’s still taking two to three years for repairs to be carried out.




In response, the Chair advised that part of the purpose of the Local Area Committee was to hear questions directly, and residents didn’t have to attend Full Council to get their questions answered. She confirmed that a housing budget had now been agreed, and noted the need for more advisory panels involving tenants of council housing, housing associations and private sector housing. She hoped to see housing advisory panels attached to Local Area Committee areas to encourage local discussions about the state of housing. She advised that a report, due to be heard at the Housing Policy Committee on 10 March, had shown that the number of empty houses had come down. She noted that more repairs were reported during winter time, and that the Housing Policy Committee had requested to see performance data more regularly so that progress on repairs could be monitored. She believed that it was important to ensure that residents in Sheffield had warm and safe homes, and confirmed that policies around Decent Homes and standards, and the rights of people who are renting, were being developed. She noted that close working with Government, South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority was needed, and that the work that currently being done by the Council would start to develop better housing.




Mr Daniels added that there used to be Investment Repairs Partnership Group meetings where updates were provided, and that were well attended. He pressed the Committee to get these meetings back up and running in order to help address some of the housing issues.




The Chair agreed that this was a good idea and advised Mr Daniels that she would contact him directly about this.




The Chair thanked those present for attending the meeting.