(1) A member of the public asked if approval had been sought for the running of a Madrassah on Broom Lane, whether there had been any consultation with residents or members of the public in that area and whether consideration should have been given to using this property as a children’s centre or affordable housing?
Councillor Hussain, Cabinet Member for Communities and Cohesion, understood that this former Doctors’ Surgery was sold and purchased by a private individual who turned the premises into a faith school for young people in the community.
It was uncertain if there was a need for planning permission for a change of use for the building and it was assumed that the necessary rules and regulations with regards to safeguarding were being adhered to.
In a supplementary question, the member of the public asked if any individual could purchase a private house and use it for a community cohesion purpose and whether the Council were shutting its eyes to certain matters?
Councillor Hussain, Cabinet Member for Communities and Cohesion, pointed out that if there were any concerns over a particular property then this could be picked up with the relevant people for investigation. In terms of the property on Broom Lane the owners of the Madrassah were working in partnership with the community and had agreement by the church opposite to use their car park, which indicated that two different faiths could work together to deliver teaching for Rotherham children.
The Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services confirmed that people could open faith schools and teaching premises, but were bound by safeguarding rules. If there were any particular concerns about such properties then this should be forwarded on and the issues would be investigated.
(2) A member of the public asked about the adoption of the Local Plan by Council next month and asked if there was to be any further public consultation on the Sites and Policies Document and if any comments received would be considered before the document was adopted?
The Director of Streetpride confirmed that there was to be a prescribed process of consultation which would give the public an opportunity to make further comments.
In a supplementary question the member of the public pointed out the reason for his question was based on his concerns for the consultation process as he had not received any response to his representations on last year’s consultation on the Sites and Polices Document. He also pointed out that Redrow Homes were already measuring up a road in Whiston, which would give the public the impression that developments were going to happen irrespective of what the consultation process revealed.
The Chief Executive confirmed that the Local Development Plan and Core Strategy had been the subject of substantial local consultation and in line with national guidelines subsequently considered by the Independent Inspector, who made a number of recommendations. Taking account of public concern the Council challenged certain elements of the Inspector’s decision, which led to a successful reduction in the overall housing numbers. The next stage would follow a similar format with the Sites and Polices Document putting a series of proposals forward. All comments would then be reconsidered by the Inspector prior to adoption by full Council.