Agenda

Business Annual Meeting, Council Meeting - Wednesday 25 May 2022 2.00 p.m.

Venue: Council Chamber - Rotherham Town Hall, Moorgate Street, Rotherham, South Yorkshire S60 2TH. View directions

Contact: Governance Unit  The webcast can be viewed at http://www.rotherham.public-i.tv

Items
No. Item

1.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

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

2.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

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

3.

COMMUNICATIONS

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.

4.

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS COUNCIL MEETING pdf icon PDF 537 KB

To receive the record of proceedings of the ordinary meeting of the Council held on 13th April, 2022, and to approve the accuracy thereof.

Additional documents:

5.

PETITIONS pdf icon PDF 271 KB

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

6.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

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.

7.

PUBLIC QUESTIONS

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.

8.

EXCLUSION OF THE PRESS AND PUBLIC

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.

9.

LEADER OF THE COUNCIL'S STATEMENT

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

10.

MINUTES OF THE CABINET MEETING pdf icon PDF 183 KB

To note the minutes of the Cabinet Meeting held on 25th April, 2022.

11.

OUTCOME OF THE WICKERSLEY NEIGHBOURHOOD DEVELOPMENT PLAN REFERENDUM pdf icon PDF 295 KB

To note the outcome of the Referendum and adopt the Wickersley Neighbourhood Plan.

Additional documents:

12.

MEMBERSHIP OF POLITICAL GROUPS ON THE COUNCIL, POLITICAL BALANCE AND ENTITLEMENT TO SEATS pdf icon PDF 436 KB

To report on the establishment of political groups, the political balance of the Council and the entitlement of each group to seats on the authority’s committees.

13.

DISCLOSURE AND BARRING SERVICE CHECKS ON COUNCILLORS pdf icon PDF 247 KB

To report on the Disclosure and Barring Service Checks on Councillors that have been undertaken since May 2021.

14.

CLIMATE EMERGENCY ANNUAL REPORT pdf icon PDF 891 KB

To note the Climate Emergency Annual Report.

Additional documents:

15.

THRIVING NEIGHBOURHOODS - UPDATES FROM WARD COUNCILLORS pdf icon PDF 954 KB

To receive updates from ward councillors from Greasbrough, Wickersley North and Boston Castle on the activities supporting Thriving Neighbourhoods across the Borough.

Additional documents:

16.

NOTICE OF MOTION - NATURE CRISIS

That this Council:-

 

Notes we are in the middle of a nature crisis. Almost half of all UK wildlife is in long term decline and 15% of species are at risk of extinction. The climate crisis is only hastening this destruction of the natural environment, damaging habitats and disrupting ecosystems. Yet it is these very habitats that have the potential to lock up carbon and fight back against rising global temperatures. It is essential that we not only protect these spaces, but let them thrive – for the benefit of people, planet and nature. We recognise that the terms Nature, Ecological and Biodiversity can be and are often used interchangeably by people and, for the purpose of this motion, all mean the same thing.

 

Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta’s review into The Economics of Biodiversity, commissioned by Her Majesty’s Treasury, highlighted that humanity does not exist in isolation from nature but sits within it. Nature is an asset on which all aspects of our society depends and with biodiversity declining faster than at any time in human history, we are undermining the productivity, resilience and adaptability that nature lends our society.

 

As we recover from the Covid-19 crisis, the need for nature-rich green spaces where we live and work is clearer than ever and will help health, education and the economy build back stronger. We recognise that the Climate and Nature emergencies are intrinsically linked with each other and also to social justice; and by building a better world to deal with the Climate and Nature Crises we will also be building a better society. We recognise that action must be taken now to remedy this and to put nature into recovery at a local level, not only to benefit Rotherham, but in support of regional, national and international work to do the same.

 

This Council therefore notes and recognises that:

 

a)               Nature is in long term decline and urgent action must be taken to reverse this

b)               A thriving natural environment underpins a healthy, prosperous society

c)                The nature and the climate crises are intrinsically linked and that the impacts of the  climate crisis drive nature’s decline, while restoring nature can help to tackle the climate crisis.

d)               Local people and groups have recognised the issues and have declared a Nature Crisis for Rotherham themselves and call on the Council to do so too. 

 

This Council resolves to:

 

1.    Declare a Nature Crisis for Rotherham.

2.    Ask the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board to consider commissioning a review into how the Council can support improvements to ensure a more natural environment is enhanced.

3.    Ensure our responsiveness on tackling climate change is extended to be complimentary to this separate but well aligned cause.

4.    Continue to further our work on enhancing biodiversity by adopting innovative approaches to support wild flowered areas and ecological approaches to grounds maintenance.

5.    Note the ongoing significant progress the Council is making through its Climate Change Action Plans for a carbon neutral Council by  ...  view the full agenda text for item 16.

17.

NOTICE OF MOTION - OFFSHORING UK ASYLUM SEEKERS TO RWANDA

That this Council notes: -

 

The Conservative Government is proposing to fly UK Asylum Seekers, who cross the English Channel  in small boats, to Rwanda, 4,000 miles away at an estimated initial cost of £120 million. This practice  of offshore processing UK Asylum Seekers, should their application be successful, would provide them with long-term accommodation in Rwanda.

 

Rwanda has been accused of human rights abuses on numerous occasions. In January 2021, the UN  Human Rights Council was told by Julian Braithewaite, Director General for Europe at the Foreign,  Commonwealth and Development Office, “We remain concerned... by continued restrictions to civil  and political rights and media freedom. We urge Rwanda to model Commonwealth values of  democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights.” The UK’s International Ambassador for Human  Rights, Rita French, has since expressed regret that Rwanda has so far largely ignored this advice. In  addition, the US Government, in its most recent assessment of Rwanda, stated they had extensive  concerns about their human rights practices.

 

Rwanda had a similar agreement, to offshore Asylum Seekers, with Israel, between 2014 and 2017 that failed. Almost all the 4,000 Asylum Seekers quickly left, to once again, try to travel to Europe. This  journey, fraught with danger, left many at the mercy of human traffickers; the very people that the  Conservative Government is claiming they are trying to protect UK Asylum Seekers from.

 

There is further evidence of the failure of detaining Asylum Seekers at offshore locations. In 2013, Australia introduced a policy of transporting Asylum Seekers fleeing war zones to camps in Papua New  Guinea and Naura. This process was widely condemned by refugee advocates, human rights groups, and the United Nations. The failure of these camps was marked by numerous major incidents of  violence, riots, and even murder, and thirteen Asylum Seekers died. Australia ceased to transfer  Asylum Seekers to Papua New Guinea as of the 31st December 2021. 

 

The African Union has also objected to the transportation of Asylum Seekers from European Countries as “burden shifting.” As recently as August 2021, the African Union condemned “in the strongest terms  possible” Denmark’s plans to send Asylum Seekers to Africa for processing.

 

Introducing offshore processing for UK Asylum Seekers, who only arrive by boat across the English  Channel, is discriminatory practice. For those who arrive by other routes or other countries, such as people fleeing the war in Ukraine, the Conservative Government is not only allowing them to stay but encouraging the British public to house them. The UK has a proud tradition of providing protection for UK Asylum Seekers wherever they have fled from. Only offshoring  those who arrive by boat crossing the English Channel, introduces fragility to this proud customary  practice.

 

In summary, the practice of offshoring Asylum Seekers, has been shown on numerous occasions to  fail. It is not wanted by the African Union, is discriminatory, incredibly expensive, and puts the very  people that the Conservative Government is claiming to protect, at significant personal risk.

 

Therefore,  ...  view the full agenda text for item 17.

18.

NOTICE OF MOTION - TREE AND WOODLAND MANAGEMENT

Over 70% of Rotherham Borough is classified as Green and its many trees and woodland areas have positive environmental, physical and mental health benefits.  The Council is committed to planting many more trees to tackle the declared Climate Emergency and is responsible for the care and maintenance of tree stock and woodland areas.

 

Some residents have raised concerns that certain trees and woodland areas need to be more proactively maintained by the Council. 

 

There are trees in areas of our Borough that are of a disproportionate size and too closely located to residents’ houses and gardens.  Examples include those on Anston Plantation and The Steadlands, Rawmarsh.  Such trees have caused significant issues for residents, including blocking light and heat, interference with telephone signal, overhanging branches, undue leaf fall in gardens, and damage to properties, fencing and equipment from falling branches and trees.  Many are of a type and location that would not be permitted under current planting practices.

 

Many of these issues present a significant health and safety risk, highlighted during recent storms when several such trees fell, causing damage to properties and crashing into internal rooms.  They also cause residents undue stress and anxiety, creating noise in high winds, fear of injury, damage to property and undermining their quality of life.  The impact is more acute for many elderly residents, for whom this anxiety is coupled with a fear of slipping on an undue leaf fall and suffering serious injury, compromising their amenity.

 

The Council’s Tree Management Protocol and Guidance currently places a disproportionate emphasis on the arboricultural needs of trees.  It does not sufficiently consider the welfare, interests and views of residents living in close proximity and the exceptions to the policy of non-removal of trees are too narrow and inflexible.  Residents feel that their needs and views are not given appropriate weight in the decision-making process and the current Protocol allows for these to be ignored, providing an excuse for inaction.

 

A more proactive Protocol, that gives greater consideration and weight to residents’ concerns, would improve their health and safety and quality of life, cut the costs of reactive maintenance, and minimise property repairs and insurance claims.  It would also give the public a greater stake in tree management, improving engagement and public confidence and engendering greater support for sensible tree planting in line with the Council’s targets.

 

Therefore, this Council will:

 

·         Undertake a review of the current tree management Protocol and Guidance to ensure that it:

 

o   Follows best practice;

o   Maximises opportunities to seek the views of residents living in close proximity to trees and woodland;

 

o   Ensures RMBC always acts as a "good neighbour" when dealing with residents in connection with trees and woodlands, undertaking proper consultation, keeping them informed of actions, dealing with issues promptly and circulating the results of any tree and woodlands surveys to proximate residents;

o   Provides the flexibility to give appropriate weight to the nature and scale and resident concern and, where sufficient, attribute this equal or greater weight  ...  view the full agenda text for item 18.

19.

AUDIT COMMITTEE pdf icon PDF 146 KB

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

 

To confirm the minutes as a true record.

20.

PLANNING BOARD pdf icon PDF 117 KB

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

 

To confirm the minutes as a true record.

21.

LICENSING BOARD SUB-COMMITTEE pdf icon PDF 10 KB

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

 

To confirm the minutes as a true record.

Additional documents:

22.

MEMBERS' QUESTIONS TO DESIGNATED SPOKESPERSONS

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).

23.

MEMBERS' QUESTIONS TO CABINET MEMBERS AND CHAIRPERSONS

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

24.

URGENT ITEMS

Any other public items which the Mayor determines are urgent.

SHARON KEMP,

Chief Executive.