Issue - decisions

Boundary Review at Oughtibridge Mill

19/11/2020 - Boundary Review at Oughtibridge Mill


The Director of Policy, Performance & Communications, submitted a report setting out the issues caused by the local authority boundary alignment between Barnsley MBC and Sheffield City Council at Oughtibridge Mill, and seeking approval for a request to be made to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England to conduct a formal boundary review. The report also sought approval for the development of interim arrangements for service delivery to the properties in the Oughtibridge Mill development for the period up to completion of that review.




RESOLVED: That Cabinet:-



(a) delegates authority to the Director of Policy, Performance and Communications, in consultation with the Deputy Leader and the Director of Legal and Governance, to request the Local Government Boundary Commission for England to conduct a review of the Sheffield and Barnsley boundary where it cuts through the residential development site at the former Oughtibridge Paper Mill; and


(b) delegates authority to the Director of Policy, Performance and Communications, in consultation with the Director of Legal and Governance and Deputy Leader, to conduct negotiations towards an appropriate temporary agreement with Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council and Bradfield Parish Council about the delivery of local government services to properties on the Barnsley side of the development ahead of this review being completed and enacted, the outcome of negotiations to be the subject of a further report.




Reasons for Decision



 A review of the local authority boundary at Oughtibridge Mill is the only approach that will solve questions around effective service delivery and democratic representation for both the local authorities and the parish council. The intended outcome is that the whole development is brought within the Sheffield boundary.




Alternatives Considered and Rejected



There are two alternative options available:


1.  Agree that Sheffield City Council (SCC) and Barnsley MBC (BMBC) will continue to deliver services to residents within their respective boundaries, accepting this will present logistical challenges to BMBC and that residents may choose to access services in Sheffield. This option would avoid the need for a boundary review process, and responsibility for service delivery would on the face of it be clear. However, it is clear from the discussion outlined in the report that it is likely that a combination of citizens “voting with their feet” and individual services addressing specific issues through ad hoc arrangements would ensue, leading to a complex patchwork of arrangements that could be confusing for residents, especially in comparison to arrangements in the rest of the local community. This in turn would then raise questions of representation and accountability through elected members, and also around the connection between taxation and service delivery.


2.  Reach a long-term contractual agreement for SCC to deliver some or all services to the development on BMBC’s behalf. As above, this would avoid the need for a boundary review, and would also enable a clearer relationship between residency and service delivery arrangements. However, it would also raise questions about representation, with residents on the BMBC side of the boundary unable to elect councillors to the authority that delivers services to them. It would also be an arrangement that required monitoring and review on a regular basis, imposing additional administration costs on services. Beyond this, council tax rates are set at different levels for SCC and BMBC, meaning that it is not necessarily clear that SCC could be appropriately compensated under this arrangement.


Beyond these points, it is critical to note that neither of these options addresses the issues faced by the Parish Council. These can only be addressed through a boundary review.




Any Interest Declared or Dispensation Granted








Reason for Exemption if Public/Press Excluded During Consideration








Respective Director Responsible for Implementation




James Henderson, Director of Policy, Performance & Communications




Relevant Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee If Decision Called In




Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee