Venue: Town Hall, Moorgate Street, Rotherham. S60 2TH
Contact: Debbie Bacon (Ext. 22054) Email: email@example.com
Introductions and Welcome
The Chairman introduced those present and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Yorkshire and Humber Rural Community Forum
The Chairman introduced Councillor Bagshaw, Sheffield City Council, who was a Sheffield City Councillor and a member of the National Peak Authority.
Last Autumn Sheffield was asked to provide a member for the Yorkshire and Humber Rural Community Forum, essentially a body that worked with and funded by DEFRA to provide a rural voice to some of the discussions DEFRA were having and the way information was presented to the Ministers etc. Although that had changed due to the budget cuts, there was still a need to have a South Yorkshire voice in that organisation.
Together with a colleague from Doncaster, it was the intention to ascertain exactly the extent to which Barnsley and Rotherham engaged with their rural communities to enable the 4 authorities’ Parish Voice to be heard in continuing dialogue witch whoever it may be e.g. the Local Enterprise Partnership, DEFRA etc. to make sure the things that interested the communities were actually spoken about in Whitehall.
Councillor Bagshaw would arrange to meet the Director of Environment and Development Services and the Chairman with the intention to establishing a 4 authority contact and then contact with the parishes in the 4 authorities to enable them to have a voice.
The minutes of the previous meeting held on 15th June, 2010, were agreed as a correct record.
Grounds Maintenance - The Future of Agreements with Parish Councils
David Burton, Director of Streetpride, gave a verbal update on the future of agreements with Parish Councils relating to grounds maintenance.
He gave a brief overview of the recent budget setting exercise in light of the meeting the pressures of the reduce Comprehensive Spending Review highlighting:-
- Rotherham had a saving target of approximately £30M, the majority of which would be in the next financial year. Streetpride’s target was £5M, 1/2 of which was contained within a group of Services which were covered by Leisure and Green Spaces and Community Delivery including sports facilities, street cleansing, grounds maintenance etc.
- The Council would have to commence withdrawing the support for street cleansing and grounds maintenance functions to Parish Councils amounting to £200,000 of savings, 8% of the total target
- Grounds maintenance included public open spaces, maintenance of horticultural features, sports grounds facilities, hedge maintenance and playground litter clearance and in some cases safety inspections. The single biggest element was sport pitches and building maintenance which accounted for 60% of the total £200,000
- It should be noted that the maintenance and provision of such facilities under the ownership of the Council was discretionary and, therefore, at the next tier of local government it was the same discretionary function
- Clearly this was not expenditure that would have been anticipated by Parish Councils but there was a year to prepare and make local decisions as to which facilities they wished to retain and the level they wished to maintain them going forward
- Over the next few weeks contact would be made with the Parish Clerks to start discussions on the areas that were maintained by the Council, how they were maintained and what technical support could be offered in considering standards, frequency and maintenance that a Parish Council may wish to develop for itself. Help could be given in terms of establishing a consistent charging policy which may generate more income to sustain the facilities
- A quote could also be provided for an at cost maintenance service
Discussion took place with the following issues raised/clarified:-
o Contact would be made with each Parish and all the information on the areas the Council currently maintained/work carried out by the Council would be available
o Contact would be made with local voluntary groups with regard to the use of volunteers as well as assistance in the provision of joint training. The replacement for the Future Jobs Fund could provide almost a zero cost supply of labour to help the transition. The Council had contact with Phoenix Enterprises and would be happy to facilitate links with the Parish Councils
o The aim would be to provide support at cost and would hire equipment out if there was capacity to do so
o If it was possible to inform Parish Councils of a schedule of grasscutting etc. it would be done
o The Council had a statutory duty to ensure highway safety and would not be comprised by the budget cuts. Work ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Bowling Green Consultation
Phil Gill, Green Spaces Manager, gave a presentation relating to the bowling green consultation, which focused on:-
· Leisure and Green Spaces contributing to Council £30M savings from 2011/12
· Includes agreed reduction in number of greens maintained by the Council
· Provisional list aimed:-
To keep spread of greens across Borough
To keep sites where service could be provided most efficiently
· Affected Council greens – maintenance stops 1st June, 2011
· Other affected greens (including Parish) – maintenance stops before 2012 season
· Runs until 20th May, 2011
· Are there other more efficient ways of achieving necessary savings?
· Responses to:-
Andy Lee, Green Space Operations Manager, Bailey House, Rawmarsh Road, Rotherham S60 1TD
· Cease provision
· Ask Council to quote to maintain
Possible funding opportunities
Possible co-operation with other providers
A discussion and question and answer session ensued and the following issues were raised and clarified:-
- Consideration had been given to the removal of maintenance from various greens so as to retain a reasonable level of availability across the Borough. Another consideration was where there was information available on usage levels
- Currently it was a potential list based on spread and leaving a pattern of reasonable coverage to commence the consultation process. Information gained at a local level from the consultation may lead to reconsideration of the proposals
- All greens had been taken into account whether the Council paid for the maintenance or not
- There were plenty of greens across the Borough that were already maintained privately
- Acknowledgement that some of the information was out of date
- The consultation period ended on 20th May, 2011
- The fee for a season ticket for Council bowling greens was £62 in 2011
Agreed:- (1) That the presentation be noted.
(2) That Parish Council notify the Council of any comments during the consultation period and request a visit if necessary.
Andy Duncan, Strategic Policy Team Leader, gave an update on the LDF process which included the previous LDF consultation during 2009 and the work that had taken place since that time.
The LDF had been drafted in response to public concern and the new direction brought about by the change in Government. Although the regional “top down” target was still technically in place, the upcoming Localism bill would abolish the targets towards the end of 2011. Rotherham had drawn up a much lower local housing target which the draft Strategy was framed around.
Subject to Member approval, it was the intention to consult on the LDF during the Summer of 2011. This could cover both the LDF Strategy, in terms of the broad amount and distribution of new homes and employment land, and the detail in terms of initial consultation on potential development sites around all the Borough’s communities.
Any support that Parish Councils could offer would be welcomed particularly with getting the message out to people that the consultation was taking place.
Items requested by Parish Councils
(a) Where are we with the LDF?
Requested by Ravenfield Parish Council.
There were no items submitted by Parish Councils prior to the meeting, with the item about the LDF requested by Ravenfield Parish Council being addressed above.
Any Other Business
(a) A representative from Woodsetts Parish Council asked for an update on the flooding on Woodsetts Road.
Councillor Smith thanked the Parish Councils’ representatives for their attendance and closed the meeting at 7.15 p.m.