Agenda and minutes
The Former Cabinet Member for Cultural Services and Sport from May, 2009 to July, 2010
Tuesday, 1st June, 2010 10.00 a.m.
Venue: Eric Manns Building, 45 Moorgate Street, Rotherham. S60 2RB
Contact: Debbie Bacon, Senior Democratic Services Officer - Ext. 2054
Resolved:- That the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet Member held on 27th April, 2010 be signed as a true record.
Consideration was given to a report presented by Carolyn Barber, Ecologist, which sought approval for Rotherham to become a member of the Yorkshire and Humber Environmental Data Network Community Interest Company.
The purpose of the Yorkshire and Humber Environmental Data Network (YHEDN) was to help deliver the robust environmental evidence base needed for the Local Development Framework and to deliver on the strategic objectives set out in the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) and the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Biodiversity Strategy (RBS).
The details about formal engagement and membership were provided and the benefits identified and which were also set out in summary as part of the report.
The Yorkshire and Humber Environmental Data Network Company’s objective was to promote the understanding and protection of the environment and furthering the collection and availability of environmental data for the North of England.
Proposed legal papers have been received and considered and confirmed that, following one minor amendment, the documents were in an acceptable form. The proposed amendment had been made and the final documents were now available.
The financial implications for Rotherham’s involvement with the Yorkshire and Humber Environmental Data Network Company were ‘in-kind’ in terms of continuing to provide existing officer resource. There was an understanding that the Council would retain its Biological Record Centre at no less than its current resource commitment of 0.6FTE of an officer post.
In the performance of its duties the Yorkshire and Humber Environmental Data Network Company would have access to funding (Regional SLAs etc) which would be used to further the work of the Company and its members.
Yorkshire and Humber Environmental Data Network currently hosted the Rotherham BRC database on its remote server at no charge and it was anticipated that this situation would continue providing an annual saving of approximately £2,000.
Discussion ensued on the uncertainties facing the Regional Spatial Strategy, administration support reduction and the support that would be provided by the network.
Resolved:- (1) That the contents of the report be noted.
(2) That Rotherham’s membership of the Yorkshire and Humber Environmental Data Network Community Interest Company be approved by the signing of the Memorandum of Association.
Consideration was given to the report presented by Bill Cooper, Green Spaces Development Manager, which provided an update on the demand for allotments in Rotherham, recent improvements, resources, and progress on the new Allotment Strategy.
The report set out in detail information about the sites managed by the Council’s Green Spaces Unit, but not sites managed by a Parish Council or privately owned.
It was noted that Green Spaces had thirty-one allotment sites. Of these seventeen sites were managed directly by the Council and fourteen managed on our behalf by Allotment Societies. The total number of allotment plots across the thirty-one sites was 1,271. This number was subject change as some plots were subdivided and uncultivated areas cleared. Currently 1,133 allotment plots have tenants, forty-four vacant plots across eight sites were ready to be let and a further ninety-four vacant plots on four sites required preparation.
The report also set out information relating to a survey of allotment users which was carried out in 2008 with respondents identifying a number of priority issues for action to improve allotments, occupancy rates, waiting lists, local factors and management and maintenance resources.
In addition a new Allotment Strategy was being prepared which would identify how allotment provision should be developed to meet demand and contribute to Corporate Priorities.
There was a significant requirement for capital funding for the replacement of fencing, buildings, roadways and the development of Rotherham’s allotments. The Allotment Strategy would, therefore, seek to quantify such costs and identify potential funding sources. The Strategy would also include a commitment to ongoing benchmarking of charges and future price increases, with the aim of bringing the cost of a plot in line with comparator authorities.
The Cabinet Member welcomed this information and sought clarification and information on the Allotment Forum, the annual charges for allotment sites, types of improvements to make some allotment sites good, revenue use from the sale of redundant allotment sites, benchmarking, sizes of allotment sites and subdivision of plots, consultation with users and current timescales for the Strategy’s development.
Resolved:- (1) That the report be received and the contents noted.
(2) That an update report be provided in December, 2010.
Consideration was given to a report presented by Phil Gill, Green Spaces Manager, which provided an update on work towards the proposed transfer of Bar Park, Thorpe Hesley, from Sheffield City Council to Rotherham.
It was noted that no provision was made in 2009-10 Culture and Leisure revenue budgets for professional costs that would be incurred as a result of the transfer and no alternative funding sources could be identified.
The Green Spaces Manager recently had further discussions with Sheffield City Council to explore whether their expected conveyancing and surveyors fees might be reduced to bring them closer to equivalent fees charged by Rotherham. Sheffield agreed to meet approximately 50% of their own costs themselves, meaning that the amount they would seek from Rotherham would be around the same as the estimated costs of Rotherham’s own legal and surveyor’s fees. However, should transfer negotiations become complicated and protracted, they have advised that the amount they would seek to recover from Rotherham would increase accordingly.
The Green Spaces Manager had also sought the views of the Friends of Bar Park Committee regarding their management of the park and they have confirmed their continuing interest in assisting with the future improvement of the park, but they do not feel they have the capacity to take on lead responsibility for day-to-day maintenance and management and were also not aware of any other existing group within Thorpe Hesley that might be able to do so. However, they suggested that should a Parish Council ever be established for Thorpe Hesley, then such a body might be able to take on the management and maintenance of Bar Park.
The previous report included an estimated figure of £26,000 for one-off works to make good with liabilities in the park. This was based on estimates obtained in 2001 and increased in line with inflation, but given the passage of time the revised estimate costs had significantly increased to around £91,000.
Should the site be transferred to Rotherham, then it was expected that the investment needed to achieve the works required would be secured by working in partnership with the Friends of Bar Park to seek external funding and by submitting bids to the Council’s Premises Fund
The previous estimate of £11,000 for annual maintenance costs was also based on 2001 figures plus inflation and had since been reviewed.
Given that no capacity has been identified within the local community to take on this responsibility, then should the site be transferred to Rotherham these maintenance costs would need to be absorbed into existing grounds and tree maintenance budgets, noting that this would impact on the level of service provided elsewhere. In the longer term it may be possible to submit a budget investment paper for an increase in budget to cover the estimated extra cost of maintaining the site, although the current financial situation did not favour such additional investments.
Officers at Sheffield City Council have indicated their support for the transfer ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Consideration was given to a report presented by John Finnan, Service Development Officer, which summarised Culture and Leisure performance against key indicators during 2009/10 including:-
· Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA) National Indicators (NI’s).
· Key local performance Indicators (including for DC Leisure and Rother Valley Country Park).
Culture and Leisure had direct input into seven CAA National Indicators (NI’s) and Rotherham’s performance against these indicators for 2009/10 was set out in the report.
It was noted that the direction of travel against these indicators was largely positive with only minor exceptions to report against:-
· NI 8 Adult participation in Sport.
· NI 9 Adult Usage of Libraries.
· NI 10 Adult Usage of Museums.
Performance against each of the above indicators did not meet the 2009/10 Service Plan target for a 1% increase over the previous year’s survey. NI’s 8 and 10 did, however, report modest increases of less than 1% (+0.4 and +0.3 respectively) with NI 9 reporting a -0.5% drop.
These indicators were measured by the Sport England/MORI Active People telephone survey completed independently of local authorities. The sports participation and use of museums indicators were sector wide and not limited to measurement of activities and participation at Council owned facilities or events. NI’s 8 – 10 were measures of ‘lifestyle choice’ and targets set against these indicators were ‘aspirational’, reflecting Service Plan objectives for increasing participation, but recognising that lifestyle measures were subject to a complex range of issues that make direct performance management extremely challenging.
It was proposed to present a more detailed analysis of the issues affecting local levels of participation in sports, active recreation and cultural activities to Cabinet Member for Cultural Services and Sport later in the year.
Culture and Leisure had a set of local indicators which measure the department’s contribution to Corporate Plan priorities and themes. 2009/2010 performance against key local indicators and reference was made to the key exceptions.
In terms of the new leisure centres performance against each of these indicators was positive. Visits to the new facilities well outstripped the old facilities even before the new Maltby facility was opened in February, 2010. Between April, 2009 and March, 2010 the new leisure facilities attracted an estimated 957,810 visits, a significant increase over the estimated 786,461 visits to the old facilities during their last full financial year of operation.
There was, however, a reported overall decline in Rothercard transactions at Culture and Leisure facilities, but the data suggested an upward trend at the new leisure facilities. External assessment of the new facilities by the Sport England National Benchmarking Survey (NBS) suggested that the new facilities performed in the higher quartiles against indicators of discount card usage compared with facilities in the same ‘family group’.
Discussion ensued on the Green Flag Status for Bradgate Park and an update was provided that a further review had been made of the Park since the report had been written. A response on the outcome was expected during July, ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Exclusion of the Press and Public
The following item is likely to be considered in the absence of the press and public as being exempt under Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended March 2006) (information relates to finance and business affairs):-
Resolved, that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involvez the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act (information relates to finance and business matters).
Clifton Park Mosaic Procurement
Consideration was given to a report presented by Phil Gill, Green Spaces Manager, which sought approval for an exemption from Standing Order 47.6.2 to allow an order to be placed from a specialist based in Cornwall for the supply of a cobble mosaic to be installed in the new walled garden in Clifton Park.
Detailed proposals for the garden included a cobble mosaic to be set into the footpath and was an idea that came from the Friends of Clifton Park who have been important partners throughout the development and implementation of the park restoration project. It was included in the scope of works to be delivered by UCS Civils who were main contractors for the park restoration.
Resolved:- That the exempting of the proposed purchase of a cobble mosaic for Clifton Park from Standing Order 47.6.2 (requirement to obtain at least two oral or written quotations for contracts with an estimated value of £5,000 but less than £20,000) be approved and an order be placed.