Agenda item



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.


Before receiving questions from members of the public, the Mayor invited the Chief Executive to address the meeting in respect of a procedural matter concerning public questions at the previous meeting of the full Council. The Chief Executive advised that the Mayor had been provided with inaccurate information regarding the submission of public questions and apologised to the Mayor, Members of the Council and the member of the public who had been advised that their question could not be put. The procedural flaws that had led to the inaccurate advice being supplied had been reviewed and the Chief Executive reported that she was assured that such an error could not happen in future.


The following public questions were received:


Mrs. M. Watson – “Air Quality Monitors – is there a list and can it be supplied?”


In response, Councillor Hoddinott, Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safey stated that there were six air quality monitoring stations, located around the borough. These were located as follows:




Grid Reference


School Road, Wales

447377, 382895


Blackburn Primary School, Baring Road

438702, 392815


Wortley Road, Bradgate (near Effingham Arms)

440991, 393321


St Ann’s School, Fitzwilliam Road, Town centre

443300, 393350


Highfield Springs, Orgreave (near Advance Manufacturing Park)

None available


Brinsworth Howarth School

442506, 389120


In response to a supplementary question from Mrs Watson, Councillor Hoddinott undertook to provide Mrs Watson with a written response detailing who was responsible for monitoring the air quality stations.


Mr. M. Eyre asked: “What does this Council think is on the mind of residents and road users when they think of Brampton Road, Sandy Lane and Doncaster Road?”


In response, the Leader of the Council indicated that he did not wish to speculate as to the opinion of those using those roads.


In making his supplementary question, Mr Eyre referred to pot holes being the issue of greatest concern to those road users and enquired whether the Council would commit to restoring the condition of those highways to a higher standard. In response, the Leader of the Council referenced the significant capital investment that the authority had committed to in improving estate roads around the borough.


Mr. W. Newton asked “When you have closed all the Children’s Homes in Rotherham, where are you going to place our vulnerable young people that cannot be fostered?


In response the Deputy Leader of the Council stated “The decision to close Cherry Tree House and Silverwood Residential Care Homes has not yet been made by Cabinet. However, a proposal recommending closure will be considered by Cabinet and Commissioner for Social Care on 12 September. You may be aware that council-run Liberty House is not subject to consultation in relation to planned closure and is judged, ‘Good’ by Ofsted.


The Residential Care Homes for Children and Young People in Rotherham have historically failed to consistently provide good quality care and support which is evidenced by numerous Ofsted inspections. This is in spite of intensive intervention from the services management to support the residential care homes to improve and provide the quality of care which reflects our ambition to be rated an outstanding local authority.


The strategic direction for children and young people’s services as seen nationally, is focused on strengthened family based support and the delivery of improved outcomes through family centred intervention. To this end the Council has committed to the strengthening and growth of the in-house Fostering Service and the establishment of a robust Rotherham Fostering Framework. In addition there is a planned intention to develop an ‘Edge of Care’ Service which will divert children and young people away from the care system based on the principles of early intervention.


In response to the small minority of children and young people who cannot be accommodated in a family based setting there are a number of services available:


·         ‘White Rose Framework’ - A regional, approved Residential Care provision which Rotherham is a part of and which is quality assured. The White Rose framework provides access to 1888 residential beds from 41 providers’.

·         Liberty House – Short-Breaks which will continue to provide support for children with a disability.”


Mr Newton enquired as supplementary question whether children and young people in foster care were within a twenty mile radius of Rotherham. In response, the Deputy Leader of the Council indicated that some were and some were not. In some cases it would not be appropriate for children and young people to be within twenty miles of Rotherham.


Mr C. Matthewman asked “What are the Council’s views on the HS2 business plan in respect of the proposed route change and what benefits will the revised route bring to Rotherham?”


Councillor Lelliott, Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy, indicated that the business plan has not been fully assessed as yet from the authority’s perspective, principally as there were significant uncertainties in terms of whether there would be a “Sheffield loop” or parkway style station in the Rotherham area.  Additionally, it was not known how many homes and businesses would be adversely affected by the HS2 consultation route. In view of that, the Council remained in favour of the original route rather than the revised route put forward for consultation in July 2016.


Mrs. L. Dye asked “Do the Council know the number of properties in the Borough of Rotherham that will be blighted directly or indirectly by the proposed HS2 route?”


In response, Councillor Lelliott, Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy stated “The Council is yet to be informed of the number of properties that will be affected by the revised route.  This has been requested from HS2 Ltd on a number of occasions and the lack of information has also been noted to the Secretary of State for Transport.” 


As a supplementary question, Mrs Dye enquired when the Council had learned of the revised route. In response, Councillor Lelliott indicated that the council became aware a couple of days before the public announcement.


Mr. D. Dye asked “The Council supported HS2 which may more than £100 billion, whilst the Council is having austerity cuts and services are getting depleted.  Please inform me what reasons you had for supporting HS2 and if you have changed your view what will you do to change the Governments view?”


In response, Councillor Lelliott referenced the potential benefits associated with the original proposal for the route with a station at Meadowhall which was anticipated to have generated jobs in and around the Rotherham area. With the revised proposal having removed the Meadowhall stop, it was not clear what benefit there would be for Rotherham. As such, the Council was not content with the revised HS2 route and associated infrastructure and this view had been formally communicated to the Secretary of State for Transport.


Mr. D. Elvidge asked “If Sheffield Councillors can say no to HS2 because of disruption to their city, why can’t Rotherham Councillors do the same and save the unnecessary disruption and stress to their constituents?  This, on a project that has no benefits for Rotherham or South Yorkshire under its new proposed re-routing.” Having heard the responses to the previous questions on the HS2 issue, Mr Elvidge advised that he had already received an answer to his question.


Ms. R. Haith submitted the following question: Is it true that RMBC have already discussed the prospect of having a HS2 station at Hellaby


In response, Councillor Lelliott, Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy explained that the Council had made strong representations to the Secretary of State for Transport noting that an HS2 station would be required close to Rotherham and that a station at Meadowhall on the original HS2 route would be the preferred option.  A potential station at Hellaby had not been discussed with any party. 


Mrs. S. Haith, having asked the question on behalf of Ms. R. Haith, asked a supplementary question on whether Members would vote on behalf of their constituents or on their own conscience on the subject. In response, the Leader of the Council indicated that it was for members to determine how to vote according to the merits of the arguments.


Mr. P. Thirlwall submitted the following question to the Mayor: “Is the Mayor prepared to apologise to me for her imperious attitude towards me at the last council meeting?”


In response the Mayor stated:


“Thank you for your question.


You have already received an explanation from the Chief Executive in respect of your complaint from the previous meeting.


With regard to your direct question to me regarding my management of the previous meeting, I acted on the advice provided to me. That advice indicated that you had not submitted a question in accordance with the provisions governing public questions at Council meetings. You will see from the recording of the meeting that you proceeded to disrupt the meeting and you will appreciate the need for the Council to operate within its own constitution.


My role was to return the meeting to order. Had I been advised that you had submitted a public question by the deadline of Friday 8 July, then you would have been permitted to put your question under Standing Order 8, but given that I had not received such advice I could not allow your question to be put. To have done otherwise would have been a breach of our Constitution.


Your assertion of an imperious attitude mistakes my intention of effectively managing the meeting having regard to the provisions of the Constitution and the advice provided by officers.


In proposing his supplementary question, Mr Thirlwall made a number of criticisms in respect of the Mayor and her approach to chairing meetings and full Council and invited the Mayor to agree with his views. In response, the Mayor declined to agree with what had been said.


Mr. Thirlwall was invited to ask a second question: “Does the Leader believe, that following the local elections in May, that all the Councillors who supported the previous Leader, former Councillor Roger Stone, are no longer be members of the Council?”


In response the Leader of the Council stated that he did not have insight into the personal views of all Members and indicated that the council had moved forward from the time of the former Leader.