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Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Debbie Pons  The webcast can be viewed at

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


Councillor Sansome declared a personal interest in Minute No. 20 (Thriving Neighbourhoods) on the basis that he was involved in a Neighbourhood Working Group Forum.  He would remain in the room, but not participate in the debate.


Councillor Sheppard declared a personal interest in Minute No. 20 (Thriving Neighbourhoods) on the basis that he was involved in a Neighbourhood Working Group Forum.  He would remain in the room, but not participate in the debate.


Questions from members of the public and the press


There were no questions from members of the public or the press.




The Chair reminded the Commission about the visit to the Crematorium tomorrow at 10.30 a.m. (21st September) following the recent renovations.


The Chair also sought the Commission’s agreement to the co-option of Mrs. W. Birch from Rotherfed to take the place of the previous co-optee who retired.


Resolved:-  That Mrs. Birch be included on the membership of the Improving Places Select Commission as a co-optee from Rotherfed.


Minutes of the previous meeting held on 26 July 2018 pdf icon PDF 99 KB


Consideration was given to the minutes of the previous meeting held on 26th July, 2018.


Reference was made to Minute No. 11 (Dignity Contract) and the positive feedback which would feed into the action plan and performance monitoring process.  Further update reports would be provided to the Improving Places Select Commission in due course.


Resolved:- That the minutes of the previous meeting of the Improving Places Select Commission held on Thursday, 26th July, 2018, be approved as a correct record.


Rother Valley Caravan Park pdf icon PDF 115 KB

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to the report presented by Phil Gill, Green Spaces Manager, which provided current details on the construction of the new camping and caravan site at Rother Valley Country Park.  The development was on track and scheduled for completion and handover in March, 2019, in line with the original project programme.  This was an ambitious programme, but would be in operation from Easter, 2019.


Further information was provided on the capital costs of the programme, approval of planning permission in April, 2018 and tenders and the interest and consultation which helped shape the proposals.


The project was being carefully managed and there were odd issues cropping up which were being managed within budget.


Operation and marketing of the site moving forward was being developed, alongside the secure booking system which would be simple to use deliver best possible income.  This would be subject to further evaluation and review.


Additionally, a short presentation, using PowerPoint, was provided for the Select Commission and highlighted:-


·                Consultation – Elected Members and examples of comments.

·                Consultation – Youth Cabinet and examples of comments.

·                Consultation – Access4All and examples of comments.

·                Consultation - Caravan Users and examples of comments.

·                Consultation - Local Residents and examples of comments.

·                Recent Progress in photo format – 5th September, 2018.


A discussion and a question and answer session ensued and the following issues were raised and clarified:-


·                Site access, disabled pitches, controlled use of showers/toilets and the possibility of caravan storage facilities. 


These issues were all being addressed with disabled pitches for reservation nearer the reception and access controls to the toilet blocks.  Whilst there was no independent storage space for caravans planned in the longer term consideration will be given to identifying a piece of land specifically for caravan storage to maximise business opportunities. 


·                Completion of groundworks and any potential risk to the project not being completed on time.


All the building work and surfaces were complete. There were no areas of concern in relation to groundworks. Work was still ongoing to roadworks to bring them up to level to get surfaced and pitches were now having topsoil, being levelled and planted.




·                Page 12 of the report referred to a proposed revised scheme being submitted to Planning Board for a variation to contract and it was not clear if this had been approved.


The planning application to vary the condition had been submitted, but had not yet been considered.  There were no concerns outside the main contract works.


·                Procurement of the online booking system to go live before end of 2018.  Could the Commission have an update on progress at its February, 2019 meeting.


An update on the booking system would be provided in February.  It had taken some time to obtain the approvals needed and an order had now been placed to tailor to specific needs. 


·                Business opportunity for caravan owners to store caravans and then have them placed onto a pitch.


This was a helpful suggestion on a storage service and would be considered  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


Thriving Neighbourhoods pdf icon PDF 155 KB

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to the report presented by the Deputy Leader and Assistant Chief Executive which detailed the production of a new Neighbourhood Strategy, which would see the Wards as the building blocks that enabled partners and communities to work together to improve local outcomes.


The Strategy’s aim was for the Council and residents to work together to achieve better quality of life and described the key role for Elected Members, both as champions of place and as community leaders, bringing together those who cared about the local neighbourhood. The Strategy also described how the Council would take a strength based approach drawing on existing strengths in the community and valuing the role of voluntary and community groups and assets.


The Head of Performance, Intelligence and Improvement had led on the development of the Thriving Neighbourhoods Strategy and had spoken to a whole range of stakeholders.  This good piece of work had identified examples of neighbourhood activity and one of the challenges being faced was consistency rather than pockets of good activity and good practices. 


The restructure of Neighbourhood Services had been lengthy, but with the support of the Trades Unions was moving forwards and the outstanding vacancies being filled.  During the transitional period there had also been a review of the Neighbourhood Service to align it with the new model.  A new Head of Neighbourhoods joined the Council earlier this month.


Further comments on the Strategy were welcomed as it was still draft prior to receiving formal approval by Cabinet in November, 2018.


As part of the implementation, staff were in place to work across the Council in the delivery of services.  The importance of working together with Members was recognised  to take the civic leadership model forward. 


A discussion and a question and answer session ensued and the following issues were raised and clarified:-


·                Page 24 of the report referred to the governance and key priorities and CCTV deployment. 


CCTV would be used as part of the Strategy and where this was not working it would be resolved.


·                Page 25 also referred to joint working and a co-ordinated review of Housing Panels; had any consideration been given to the pooling of resources or even with the Parish Councils.


This appeared to be the only anomaly arising from the old area assembly footprint, but rather than suggesting change now it would be recommended that this be reconfigured fresh in 2020.  The Cabinet Member would be receiving a report shortly.


There could be instances where both the neighbourhood group and Parish Council might have same objective and which may require some collaborative working.  Each occasion would be considered on a case by case basis.


·                Training on the Strategy moving forward - would this be available for both Members and officers.


Training was scheduled at the beginning of October and Rotherfed were working on more bespoke training for community organisations. 


Further discussion would take place on what was available for Members and officers with joint training where appropriate.


·                Was there  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.


Housing Strategy Refresh - 2019-2022 pdf icon PDF 102 KB


Consideration was given to the Housing Strategy Refresh 2019-2022 presented by Tom Bell, Assistant Director of Housing, which had also been considered by the Health and Wellbeing Board at its meeting on 19th September, 2018.


Sarah Watts, Strategic Housing Manager, gave a presentation using PowerPoint outlining the details of the early draft and the comments received to date which would help shape the strategy:-


·                2016-19 Strategy – The 5 themes.

·                Achievements.

·                The New Strategy – a chance to have your say.

·                Things that have changed.

·                Overview of housing in Rotherham.

·                Value of new housing.

·                The Vision – Three Year Strategy and Refresh.

·                Structure – five key priorities.

·                Timetable for refresh – phases.

·                Pipeline Projects.


A discussion and a question and answer session ensued and the following issues were raised and clarified:-


·                The development of eco housing, but careful use of the term in case this had a negative effect.


·                Meetings to consider Ward profiles and focus on the specific property requirements for young and active residents, but also around Adult Social Care, adapted properties and building communities.


Variations across the Wards were recognised and if specific property requirements were not reflected then evidence needed more refining to gain a better understanding of need.


·                Gas servicing targets were 100%, but many householders had not yet got their documentation.


There would be investigation into the delay of households not being issued with gas certificates.  Rother Living was a brand that was being attached to new housing tenures and houses for sale.


·                From the key priorities how explicitly could some of the issues within Wards be addressed and could a map be made available of land for use within the Wards. 


Meetings would take place to understand trends, new housing and demographics and this would be included within the Ward profiles and help to form the evidence base of any projects. 


·                Priorities for housing associations and working in partnership


There was a big push around home ownership and recognition that there was other tenures for people that needed affordable social housing and this needed to be retained in Rotherham for as long as possible.


Housing providers were accountable for around 5% of housing in the Borough. A forum of key providers would meet to develop projects at a City Region level. 


The Service was in the process of mapping out what housing owned land Rotherham had access to and this would feed in the development pipeline.   The Service would be working closely with the Council’s general asset team to work together on different pieces of land and provide a greater picture of what was available.


Housing in Rotherham had been recognised as one of the top three performing social housing organisations in the country. It was also seen as an innovator in housing delivery, both of which were key to the Government agenda.


There was good consultation about right to buy with a need to feed back on the process.  Rotherham was well placed to go and trial new approaches to make  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.


Date and time of the next meeting

Thursday 1 November 2018 at 2.00 p.m. at Rotherham Town Hall.


Resolved:- That the next meeting of the Improving Places Select Commission take place on  Thursday, 1st November, 2018 at 1.30 p.m.