Agenda and minutes

Improving Places Select Commission - Tuesday 8 September 2020 1.30 p.m.

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

Contact: Janet Spurling  The webcast can be viewed at

No. Item


Minutes of the previous meeting held on 14 July 2020 pdf icon PDF 104 KB


To consider and approve the minutes of the previous meeting held on 14 July 2020, as a true and correct record of the proceedings.




That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 14 July 2020, be approved as a true and correct record of the proceedings.


Declarations of Interest


To receive declarations of interest from Members in respect of items listed on the agenda.


There were no declarations of interest.


Questions from members of the public and the press


To receive questions relating to items of business on the agenda from members of the public or press who are present at the meeting.


The Chair advised that there were no members of the public or representatives of media organisations present at the meeting and there were no questions in respect of matters on the agenda.


Exclusion of the Press and Public


To consider whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of any part of the agenda.


The Chair advised that there were no items of business on the agenda that would require the exclusion of the press or public from the meeting.




To receive communications from the Chair in respect of matters within the Commission’s remit and work programme.


The Chair confirmed there were no communications.


Town Centre Master Plan Update pdf icon PDF 158 KB

To consider an update report in respect of the progress on planned development projects in Rotherham Town Centre.

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to an update report presenting recent progress toward the goals set out in the Town Centre Masterplan which were adopted by Cabinet in September 2017. The report described the progress with respect to a number of interventions that had been identified as key projects, including a leisure led Forge Island redevelopment; high-quality public realm, in key locations in the town centre, and improved linkages between Forge Island and the town centre core to fully realise the benefits of the Forge Island development; redevelopment of Rotherham Markets; and development of housing sites within the town centre.


A range of additional projects were also described including University Centre Rotherham’s new £10.5m town centre campus, offering degrees and professional training qualifications in a state of-the-art teaching facility; a National Tram Train Pilot, a unique national pilot scheme that connects heavy and light rail infrastructure, systems and operations together to provide a new transport service between Sheffield and Rotherham; a Rotherham Interchange Refurbishment, a £12m refurbishment and modernisation of the Rotherham Interchange enhancing the public transport infrastructure present in the town centre; George Wright, a major renovation of Grade II Listed building as a boutique hotel with associated bar and restaurant; Westgate Chambers and Domine Lane, a £10.7m redevelopment in a prime central location providing, retail space and 61 apartments; at Keppel Wharf, Old Market and Imperial Buildings, work was underway to increase the residential space at Keppel Wharf overlooking the river and incentives offered to attract new niche businesses to vacant refurbished retail spaces in the Grade II Listed Imperial Buildings; and Makers Emporium, a unique retail space on the High Street bringing together a mixture of crafters, makers, artists and designers, trading from a shared and professionally managed retail unit. (In the 6 years since opening, over 120 small businesses have been supported by Makers Emporium).


The report including information regarding the funding for these projects which originated from various sources including Sheffield City Region, the Get Building Fund, and the Council’s own funding contribution to the development delivery. Details were included as to which projects were funded by which schemes and which would be included as part of the next bidding stages, such as potential funding that is being requested from the Future High Street Fund and other Town Deal Fund Grants.  


A progress update was provided as to the delivery of the projects including the flood defences and housing projects, and indicative timescales for future delivery were also provided. Details as to concept design for leisure developments were also displayed as part of the presentation.


In discussion, Members requested assurances that there would be provision for sufficient litter bins, recycling bins, and wardens to keep the areas clean and tidy.


Members also asked for assurances that accessibility has been taken into consideration in the design of these spaces; it was further inquired as to how many accessible parking spaces would be made available. The answer provided assurances that the housing developments had been designed to be visited  ...  view the full minutes text for item 90.


Bereavement Services Update pdf icon PDF 162 KB

To consider an update report in respect of the Bereavement Services contract with Dignity, Ltd.

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to an update report with respect to Bereavement Services, specifically the performance delivery by partner organisation Dignity Funerals, Ltd. This report followed from the previous discussion which had taken place at the December 2019 meeting. The report included an update on the permanent extension of latest burial time at East Herringthorpe Cemetery, following a successful pilot. The report also included the active plans to reschedule a member visit to the cemetery which had been cancelled due to coronavirus. The report addressed 54 key performance targets, providing an update on performance against each of the measures. Two performance targets had not been met at the time of the annual report: provision of environmentally friendly burials and secure storage for registers and records.


In discussion, Members inquired as to the latest status of secure storage arrangements. The representative from Dignity provided assurance that as of the current day all records were located in secure storage, and appointments could be made to view these records.


Members also requested more information about how chapel repairs were handled. Officer indicated that an initial meeting had been scheduled for the 28 September with officers in Bereavement Services and Asset Management to address the four sites in Rotherham that have disused chapels. Meetings with Friends of the Cemetery groups have located possible funding that these organisations could be eligible to apply for. Good practice has also been considered. It is requested that the outcome of these meetings be circulated to ward members.


Members sought clarification around capacity, as capacity had been measured in ‘years’ and such metrics may be no longer appropriate if rates of need had grown during coronavirus. Officers provided assurances that sites had been identified by the working group, and currently legal were examining and testing for expansion is underway. Results were awaited to add on to the burial sites, which if possible, would allow for many more years of burials at Wath, including environmentally friendly burials. Asset management have also visited a Maltby site. Some sites had been declared not as suitable as originally hoped, but a potentially better site had been identified.


Members also requested more information around the reasons that arrangements had not yet been made to be able to provide environmentally friendly burials. The representative from Dignity supplied information that the first draft on the consultation had been completed and with Bereavement Services that same day. Further details of the timeline for arrangements were provided, extending through the autumn. Three sites had been identified and visited.


Further, a question was raised around availability of refrigerated coffin space during the pandemic. Assurances were provided that daily monitoring processes were put into place during the pandemic, one of which was monitoring the availability of storage whether it was at the mortuary or at the funeral director’s. There was additional temporary storage put in place at the Rotherham hospital, which is still in place. Any issues that surface are noted quickly, therefore the service was confident that it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 91.


Outcomes from Scrutiny Workshop - Housing Repairs and Maintenance (August 27 2020) pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To receive a briefing with respect to outcomes from the scrutiny workshop on housing repairs and maintenance that took place on 27 August 2020.


Consideration was given to a summary of the recent virtual workshop on Housing repairs and maintenance which was held on 27 August 2020. The workshop addressed the topics such as the new contract with Engie, COVID-19 response, Communications with and feedback from Residents, Operations Priorities, and Social Value Added.




1.    That the briefing be noted.


2.    That the results of data analysis including GIS mapping be included in the next update in respect of Housing Repairs and Maintenance.


3.    That the Chair, together with the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board, arrange a meeting with relevant Senior Leadership in respect of concerns around call centre wait times and dropped call rates.




Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 116 KB

To receive an update on progress with respect to the Work Programme for 2020-21.


The Governance Advisor provided an update with respect to progress on the agreed Work Programme including two changes to the scheduling of work programme items. It was advised that the PSPO on Dog Fouling had stayed with the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board, but relevant papers would be circulated to Members so that they would be able to stay current on the development of that discussion. Further, it was noted that Highways have been moved later in the year, to February, in order to allow for more completed progress on projects to be reported.


In discussion, Members requested more information about possible revised scheduling for the Energy Switching Scheme item. In response, the Strategic Director of Regeneration and Finance noted that the Energy Switching Scheme was in the process of being reworked and would likely also be rescheduled.




1. That the updated Work Programme be approved.


Urgent Business


To consider any item which the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency.


The Chair advised that there were no urgent items of business requiring the Commission’s consideration.


Date and time of the next meeting


The next virtual meeting of the Improving Places Select Commission will take place on 20 October 2020, commencing at 1.30 pm.


The Chair announced that the next virtual meeting of the Improving Places Select Commission will take place on 22 October 2020, commencing at 1:30 pm.