Agenda and minutes

Council Meeting - Wednesday 23 January 2019 2.00 p.m.

Venue: Town Hall, Moorgate Street, Rotherham. S60 2TH

Contact: James McLaughlin, Head of Democratic Services  The webcast can be viewed at

No. Item


Minute's Silence


The Mayor invited Members, officers and the public to join in him a minute’s silence following the recent death of Stuart Savage, Council employee.





To consider any announcements by the Mayor in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 3(2)(ii).


The Mayor was pleased to announce that Rotherham won Silver Award from the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) which recognised the efforts of employers throughout the UK who have both elevated their commitments under the Armed Forces Covenant and provided actual benefit to the Armed Forces Community in their area.  


The Mayor and Councillor Jones attended the Awards Ceremony in Hull in late November and the award had since been on display here at the Town Hall since that time. 


The Mayor asked the Council to join him in congratulating all those involved.


He invited Councillor Jones and Shokat Lal to receive the award.


The Mayor was also pleased to present his activity since the last Council meeting which was attached for information to the Mayor’s letter. 






To receive the apologies of any Member who is unable to attend the meeting.


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Beaumont, Hague, Mallinder, Marles, Pitchley, Rushforth, Russell and Whysall.




Any communication received by the Mayor or Chief Executive which relates to a recommendation of the Cabinet or a committee which was received after the relevant meeting.


There were no communications received.




To receive the record of proceedings of the ordinary meeting of the Council held on 5th December, 2018 and to approve the accuracy thereof.

Additional documents:


Resolved:-  That the minutes of the meeting of Council held on 5th December, 2018, be approved for signature by the Mayor.


A point of information was sought on Question 21 asking for a guarantee that current safeguarded land in the local plan would not be developed on during this plan period and the Cabinet Member confirming that it would, yet development was being proposed on green space at The Pitches on Wickersley Road.


The Leader confirmed applications for development could be submitted and it would be up to the respective Planning Authorities to determine the appropriateness.


Mover:-  Councillor Read                       Seconder:-  Councillor Watson




To report on any petitions received by the Council received by the Council and receive statements in support of petitions in accordance with Petitions Scheme and Council Procedure Rule 13.


The Mayor reported receipt of three petitions, which had not met the threshold for consideration by Council.


·                Containing 681 signatures calling on the Council to consider naming the public space outside Boots in Rotherham Town Centre “Chuckle Square”.


The petition would be referred to the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board for consideration.


·                Containing 1379 signatures calling on the Council to consider changing the zebra crossing on Victoria Street, Kilnhurst to a pelican crossing.


Mrs. Barnett addressed the Council as part of the presentation of the petition.


The petition would be referred to the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board for consideration.


As a point of information Councillors Sansome and Wyatt pointed out the strength of support contained in the traditionally signed petition.


·                Containing 44 signatures calling on the Council to ensure the Scrutiny Board was open and transparent and to ensure the webcast is on when debating the response to the request to review a petition.


This petition would be referred to the relevant directorate for a response to be prepared.




To invite Councillors to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests or personal interests they may have in any matter which is to be considered at this meeting, to confirm the nature of those interests and whether they intend to leave the meeting for the consideration of the item.


Councillors Allcock, Andrews, Fenwick-Green, Lelliott, McNeely, Reeder and Wyatt declared personal interests as either being a tenant or leaseholder in Minute No. 134 (Housing Rent and Service Charges 2019/20) and chose to leave the room and not observe the vote.


Councillors Atkin, Cusworth, Keenan, Napper, Senior and Williams declared personal interests in Minute No. 134 (Housing Rent and Service Charges 2019/20) on the grounds of family and friends being tenants or leaseholders and chose to remain in the room and not vote.




To receive questions from members of the public who may wish to ask a general question of the Mayor, Cabinet Member or the Chairman of a Committee in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 12.


(1)  Mr. I. Stark asked what was the Council doing to address the failings of private sector landlords and how they were stealing from the public purse.


Councillor Beck explained the Council did undertake a wide range of activity in relation to private rented properties to tackle any issues that might affect the health and safety of tenants.  Many landlords in Rotherham were good landlords who would ensure that legal standards were met in the properties that they rented to residents. However, there were landlords that provided sub-standard accommodation which did not comply with legal requirements and in such cases the Council used statutory and discretionary powers to bring about improvements.


Some actions taken by the Council included:-


·         Inspecting private rented properties where category 1 hazards such things as excess cold, damp, electrical or gas safety might be believed to be present and taking enforcement action.

·         Designating areas of Eastwood, Masborough and Ferham, Maltby and Dinnington, as Selective Licensing areas with the aim of improving standards of rented accommodation.

·         Officers attending landlord forums to provide advice and support to improve standards.

·         Providing dedicated website pages offering news articles and advice/support on PRS related issues.


In a supplementary question Mr. Stark advised that he had been served with a Section 21 Notice and asked that action be taken to ensure residents had fair access and that properties were well maintained.


Councillor Beck was aware that a Section 21 Notice had been served and had asked that officers liaise with the member of the public and assist with his future accommodation needs.




Should it be necessary, in the opinion of the Mayor, to consider excluding the press and public from the meeting in relation to any items of urgent business on the grounds that private information is likely to be divulged.


There are no such items at the time of preparing this agenda.


Resolved:-  That under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, that should the Mayor deem if necessary the public be excluded from the meeting on the grounds that any items involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the paragraphs of Part 1 of schedule 12(A) of such Act indicated, as now amended by the Local Government (Access to information) (Variation) Order 2006.




To receive a statement from the Leader of the Council in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 9.


The Leader wished to defer his statement to the meeting on 27th February, 2019.




To note the minutes of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 19th November and 17th December 2018.

Additional documents:


Resolved:-  That the reports, recommendations and minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 19th November and 17th December, 2018, be received.


Councillor Cowles referred to the minutes of the 17th December, 2018 and suggested they contain more information similar to the report.   This would enable Members to have a more accurate view and give a more open and transparent record.


Councillor Jepson endorsed this view and had the minutes contained more information he may have asked for a particular item to be called in.


The Leader pointed out the minutes were a decision and a record of proceedings at the meeting and the detail was contained within the report.  The full agenda packs, including restricted content, were made available and published for all Members to view.  There was also the opportunity as part of the pre-scrutiny process for further discussion on particular items.


Mover:-  Councillor Read                       Seconder:-  Councillor Watson




To consider a recommendation from Cabinet to commence a review of polling places across the borough.

Additional documents:


Further to Minute No. 75 of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 17th December, 2018, consideration was given to a report which sought approval for the commencement of a statutory review of polling districts and polling places within the borough.


A preliminary review had been undertaken by Council officers to inform the Returning Officer’s initial proposals which were set out as part of the report.


Some current polling places would not be available in future, and the review also took into account the impact of the ward boundaries which would come into effect at the 2020 elections.  Where possible schools had been removed as polling stations to prevent closures which could impact on education and this was welcomed by Members.


Resolved:-  (1)  That a review of polling places in 2019 following the process described in this report be approved.


(2)  That the scope of the review and the proposals for changes be noted.


(3)  That the outline timetable for the review, as set out in Appendix 1, be approved.


(4)  That the power to designate polling places in accordance with Section 18B of the Representation of the People Act 1983 continued to be delegated to the Chief Executive, with such power to be exercised only in circumstances where a decision is required at short notice and it is not possible to await a decision of Council.


Mover:-  Councillor Alam                        Seconder:-  Councillor Read




To consider a recommendation from Cabinet in respect of approval of housing rent and service charges for 2019/20.

Additional documents:


Further to Minute No. 91 of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 21st January, 2019, consideration was given to the report which sought approval for the proposed values for the setting of the housing rents, non-dwelling rents, District Heating and service charges and the draft Housing Revenue Account Budget for 2019/20.


Changes to the Government’s policy on social housing rents resulted in the requirement to reduce dwelling rents by 1% over four years from April, 2016.  To comply with the legislation rents would be reduced by 1% for a fourth and final year from April, 2019.


In previous years increases to charges for non-dwelling rents have been linked to changes in CPI.  As at September, 2018 CPI was 2.4% and, therefore, it was proposed to increase charges for garages and communal facilities including laundry and cooking gas by 2.4%.


During 2017-18 there was an extensive review of district heating pricing to ensure that charges were fair and reasonable to all tenants. However, the latest forecast for 2018/19 was that the scheme would be in deficit by £16k, therefore, it was proposed to leave district heating charges unchanged.


Resolved:-  (1)  That dwelling rents be reduced by 1% for 2019/20 in line with the requirements outlined in the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016.


(b)  That there be a 2.4% increase to charges for garage rents, communal facilities, cooking gas and laundry facilities in 2019/20 in line with the increase in Consumer Price Index (CPI) as at September 2018.


(3)  That the unit charge per Kwh for District Heating Schemes remain at the same level as agreed by the Council in December 2017.


(4)  That the draft Housing Revenue Account budget for 2019/20 be approved.


(5)  That rents and service charges be collected over 52 weeks in line with Universal Credit payments.


Mover:-  Councillor Beck                        Seconder:-  Councillor Alam




To receive for information recommendations from Overview and Scrutiny Management Board in respect of a scrutiny review of modern methods of construction.

Additional documents:


Further to Minute No. 27 of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board held on 12th December, 2018, consideration was given to the report which presented the findings from the scrutiny review into modern methods of construction.


The review was undertaken because of evidence that the:-


·                Housing market is not fit for purpose with the housing market locally reflecting national information and trends.

·                Demand for homes outweighs provision e.g. more one bedroom and larger properties are required in Rotherham

·                Number of homeless people is on the increase, this number could continue to increase due to the introduction of Universal Credit.

·                Insufficient affordable properties available – which includes cheaper, renewable sources of energy to heat the homes.

·                Private and social owned properties are not being build quick enough to meet demand


The options provided affordable homes, in a quicker timescale to traditional build homes, which were energy efficient and where possible used renewable sources of energy to keep running cost low. Two main options were looked at, one in Yorkshire and one in East Yorkshire, who provided excellent modular housing.  The advantages were outlined and compared with traditionally built properties.


All those involved in the review were formally thanked for their input and demonstrated clear cross-party partnership working.


Following consideration by the Council, the Cabinet would be required to respond formally to the recommendations and indicate agreement or otherwise, what action, would be taken to implement the recommendations, along with details of timescales and accountabilities.


Members welcomed the evidence and that the Housing Department were already trying to embrace this growing area as part of its wider mix of delivering affordable housing across the borough.  At the next meeting of the Cabinet on 4th February, 2019, approval was being sought for the delivery of twelve bungalows delivered through modern methods of construction.


Members supported the review and welcomed the opportunity to use novel concepts and some up-to-date technologies and to combine them to propose an entirely economically feasible and technically feasible housing solution.  This was Rotherham looking to the future and moving forward confidently and positively.


Resolved:-  (1)  That the report and recommendations from the review of Modern Methods of Construction be noted.


(2)  That the response of Cabinet to the recommendations be reported to Council and the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board.


Mover:-  Councillor Cowles                                    Seconder:-  Councillor Sansome




To receive updates from ward councillors from Wingfield, Anston & Woodsetts, and Boston Castle on the activities supporting Thriving Neighbourhoods across the Borough

Additional documents:


Further to Minute No. 55 of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 19th November, 2018, consideration was given to the annual Ward Updates for Wingfield, Anston and Woodsetts and Boston Castle as part of the Thriving Neighbourhoods Strategy.


Councillor Williams, on behalf of the Wingfield Ward, gave an update on their annual report and outlined how the three newly elected Ward Members had not inherited any kind of infrastructure so had literally started their Ward plan with a blank canvas.


Ward Members had worked together on a cross-party basis on a Ward based focus that was at the heart of the new model of neighbourhood working.   Regular public meetings had been held in Wingfield at different locations across the Ward on a quarterly basis and local residents and community groups were invited to come and talk about local issues.


It was those public meetings that informed the priorities for the Ward along with the other meetings separately with officers from a range of different services at the Council, including partners like the Police.   Members would then meet together and report back on the issues that were raised in public meetings.  Any problems encountered were shared and by working together solutions could be provided. 


Some really good pieces of work and projects have progressed, such as the one at St. John's Green, which initially came about because of the need to redesign the area due to longstanding problems of anti-social behaviour.  This was done in consultation with local residents and in particular the local TARA with a commitment from Ward budgets to help refurbish an existing community facility.


The strength and role of Ward Councillors enabled them to draw in services to target local issues and priorities and to use those budgets available.


This new model of Neighbourhood Working did work and worked well in Wingfield even though it was the fourth most deprived Ward in the Borough and the cross-party collaboration worked to the benefit of its residents.


Councillor R. Elliott highlighted his own concerns and how Area Assemblies were found to be an unwieldy set up and undemocratic way of dealing with the Ward problems.


Neighbourhood Working was much better, allowed the Ward to move forward and enabled Councillors to work together regardless of political standing, attend meetings and share information either by in person, e-mail or text.  All Councillors attended meetings whenever they could and were embracing the Neighbourhood Working model which worked and was here to stay.


Councillor Allen shared some facts and figures about Wingfield:-


·                £10,000 of devolved budget had been allocated up to 2020 against ward priorities.

·                Nine drinking establishments and to add to that a community cafe by bringing back to life an empty council asset

·                Eight Community Achievement Awards had been awarded at the annual awards ceremony in December recognising the community and officers and partners.

·                Seven day “What's On” Wingfield leaflet and display in the library.

·                Six weekly meetings of Wingfield Wednesday on a Thursday and that brings together officers  ...  view the full minutes text for item 136.




To receive and consider reports, minutes and recommendations of the Standards and Ethics Committee.


To confirm the minutes as a true record.


Resolved:-  That the reports, recommendations and minutes of the meeting of the Standards and Ethics Committee be adopted.


Mover:-  Councillor McNeely                  Seconder:-  Councillor Clark




To receive and consider reports, minutes and recommendations of the Audit Committee.


To confirm the minutes as a true record.


Resolved:-  That the reports, recommendation and minutes of the meeting of the Audit Committee be adopted.


Mover:-  Councillor Wyatt                      Seconder:-  Councillor Walsh




To receive and consider reports, minutes and recommendations of the Health and Wellbeing Board.


To confirm the minutes as a true record.


Resolved:-  That the reports, recommendation and minutes of the meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board be adopted.


Mover:-  Councillor Roche                      Seconder:-  Councillor Evans




To receive and consider reports, minutes and recommendations of the Planning Board.


To confirm the minutes as a true record.

Additional documents:


Resolved:-  That the reports, recommendation and minutes of the meetings of the Planning Board be adopted.


Mover:-  Councillor Sheppard                 Seconder:-  Councillor Williams


LICENSING pdf icon PDF 56 KB


To receive and consider reports, minutes and recommendations of the Licensing Board Sub-Committees.


To confirm the minutes as a true record.

Additional documents:


Resolved:-  That the reports, recommendation and minutes of the meetings of the Licensing Board Sub-Committee be adopted.


Mover:-  Councillor Ellis                         Seconder:-  Councillor McNeely




To put questions, if any, to the designated Members on the discharge of functions of the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority, Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Combined Authority and South Yorkshire Pensions Authority, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11(5).


(1)  Councillor R. Elliott stated that, according to the Fire Authority’s latest financial figures dated 14th January, 2019, the Service had recorded an underspend and committed to reserves this year the sum of £500k so he asked why had Rotherham2 not been reinstated?


Councillor Atkin explained the latest financial report presented to the Fire Authority showed the Service achieving a relatively small underspend on an annual budget of £50m. In presenting this report to Members the Director of Support Services outlined significant financial risks facing the service. These included:-


*        The requirement to save £1.4 million from the service’s annual budget, following the outcome of a Judicial Review relating to the Close Proximity Crewing duty system


*        The outcome of a Government pensions revaluation, which would almost certainly mean a sharp rise in employer pension contributions


*        Legal costs and detriment claims for staff displaced because of CPC, which were not yet known and would have to be met from the current year’s underspend


*        An uncertain financial future for all public services, with further cuts likely beyond 2020/21.


It was as a result of these factors that the Fire Authority agreed that the Service should begin the process of developing a revised Integrated Risk Management Plan, which would consider its future service provision (including fire cover) in line with the money available to it. 


The IRMP process was underway with the draft proposal expected in late Spring.  This would consider all other stations based on risk and available resources.  Once approved by the Fire Authority a consultation process would commence with communities, partners and other relevant bodies.


In a supplementary question Councillor Elliott believed excuses were being made when the funding was available and the views of this Chamber were ignored.  In respect of the Fire Authority’s view of a bleak future, there had been eight consecutive years of surplus and despite these figures being asked for they had not been provided.  However, they were:-


2010/11                      £4 million

2011/12                      £3 million

2012/13                      £3.5 million

2013/14                      £0.5 million

2014/15                      £3 million

2015/16                      £2 million

2016/17                      £0.75 million

2017/18                      £0.5 million


The instruction of this Chamber and by definition the residents of Rotherham  was to reinstate the second pump when funds allowed. There was no mention in that motion unless there were dire financial forecasts.  Funding was clearly available and had been for the last eight years.  Bearing this in mind would Councillor Atkin be asking at the next meeting for implementation of the wishes of this Chamber, stand up for the residents that he and others represented and ask that the second appliance was reinstated with no excuses.


Councillor Atkin confirmed again the Fire Authority were writing a new IRMP.  He acknowledged the figures quoted, but pointed out that this year the underspend was £58,000.  The Fire Authority were budgeting and planning for future years.  Next year there would be no underspend and in subsequent years potentially deficits. 


£500,000 would have paid for reinstatement of a second  ...  view the full minutes text for item 142.




To put questions, if any, to Cabinet Members and Chairmen (or their representatives) under Council Procedure Rules 11(1) and 11(3).


(1)  Councillor Carter asked, since the last Council meeting, on how many occasions had the Council Leader met with the City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis both individually and alongside the other three South Yorkshire Local Authority Leaders?


The Leader confirmed the Combined Authority had not formally met since the last Council Meeting, but as one would appreciate conversations were ongoing on an informal basis regularly.


(2)  Councillor Carter asked if meetings have taken place, what discussions have taken place about the awaited devolution deal proposed by the Government.


The Leader explained there was not a huge amount he could update the Chamber on other than what he had shared previously. Authorities continued to advocate the positions that they have and the Combined Authority continued to try to find ways of breaking the deadlock including seeking assurance from the Government that would allow for taking forward the positions represented.  The Leader was not willing to speculate on what people may or may not do in the future.


In a supplementary question Councillor Carter explained that the Elected Mayor of South Yorkshire had a casting vote in these discussions and he asked would the Leader be supportive of an approach giving the Mayor a time-limited period to come to an agreement say over the next three to six months and if not would he encourage and support the Mayor into using his casting vote in pushing the devolution deal forward.


The Leader pointed out that there was a need to be clear on what the Elected Mayor could and could not do and the process for adopting a devolution deal.  


In order to adopt the deal it would need the Combined Authority to vote formally to adopt it and each of the constituent authorities which may then result in a situation where the Mayor may use his casting vote in the Combined Authority to adopt.  However, this may still fall if any of the individual authorities were to veto it when it came before their Members.


There should be no apportioning of blame or placing responsibility on the Mayor for not adopting this.  He had simply stepped into a situation that was created by Councils and Council Leaders and he was working hard to try and get the best out of a situation to draw down money that may be available under difficult circumstances.


The Leader did not wish to impose a deadline on the Mayor, but would continue to work very closely with him to try and find a solution.


(3)  Councillor Carter referred to his understanding that Sheffield City Region would automatically have received £150m of funding from Government if it had an agreed devolution deal in place and asked what other funding sources had the region missed out on due to the failure to implement the devolution deal?


The Leader did not believe it was quite £150 million, but explained that had the 2015 devolution deal been implemented as originally planned, the City Region would have received £90  ...  view the full minutes text for item 143.




Any other public items which the Mayor determines are urgent.


The Mayor agreed for the following item of business to be considered as an urgent item at today’s meeting following the recommendation by Cabinet at its meeting on Monday, 21st January, 2019 requiring the Council to determine the council tax base before the end of January, 2019.



Calculation of the Council Tax Base for 2019/20


Consideration was given to the report which set out the calculation of the Council Tax Base for the 2019/20 financial year. This calculation took into account:-


·             the total number of dwellings in the Borough and their banding;

·             the Council’s own Local Council Tax Support Scheme (CTSS);

·             other discounts, exemptions and premiums on second homes and empty  properties;

·             the projected in-year tax collection rate in 2019/20 and;

·             estimates of the changes and adjustments in the tax base that occur during the financial year. 


In accordance with the Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) Regulations 2012 governing its calculation, it was determined that the Council’s Tax Base for the financial year 2019/20 is 70,279.97Band D Equivalent Properties.


It was also noted that at its meeting on 25th July, 2018, Council approved the Reorganisation of Community Governance Order in respect of Waverley and as a result, the new Waverley Parish Council would come into effect on 1st April, 2019 and the new Parish would be included in the detailed Tax Base.


The Council Tax Support Scheme also operated as a discount on claimants’ Council Tax bills with the effect of reducing the Council Tax base.  The scheme was reviewed and updated for 2018/19.  No further changes were proposed for the 2019/20 financial year; however, the Council was required to confirm the scheme each year.  Therefore, it was proposed that the scheme be retained in its present format for 2019/20. 


Members sought clarification on a number of issues including clarification of the Band D equivalent properties, why this had been presented as an urgent item and the legal duty to agree the Council Tax Base each year.


Resolved:-  (1)  That the amount calculated by the Council as its Council Tax Base and those of the Parish Councils shown at Appendix 1 for 2019/20 shall be a total of 70,279.97 Band D Equivalent Properties.


(2)  That the creation of a new Parish of Waverley is noted. 


(3)  That the Local Council Tax Support Scheme for 2019/20 remain unchanged from 2018/19. 


Mover:-  Councillor Alam                        Seconder:-  Councillor Read