Agenda item

Questions from Members of the Public


To receive questions from members of the public who wish to ask a general question in respect of matters within the Council’s area of responsibility or influence.


Subject to the Chair’s discretion, members of the public may ask one question and one supplementary question, which should relate to the original question and answered received.


Councillors may also ask questions under this agenda item.


(1)           Councillor Bennett-Sylvester asked a question in relation to the Housing Strategy that was on the agenda. The Strategy was very welcome as there were many conversations taking place with residents who were desperate for housing. However, around East Herringthorpe there had been a number of infill sites that have been used, such as Laudsdale Road and the former Dalton allotments, which had led to the loss of a lot of informal green spaces on the estate. As an area, it already had few community facilities, one very small neighbourhood centre, one play area but not very much else. Regarding Priority 6 of the Strategy, Councillor Bennett-Sylvester asked what would be coming back to East Herringthorpe to strengthen the community and how discussions could be held regarding that?


Councillor Brookes responded by explaining that she did not have the specific detail on those particular infill sites but more generally, there were specific design criteria that had to be taken into account for open and green space and what amenities were required for the amount of people expected to live in new housing developments. That was all built in at the design stage. In relation to strengthening communities, building in social value was a key aspect of the smaller developments.


The Head of Strategic Housing and Development explained that, through the East Herringthorpe Small Sites Programme, the Council would be maximising social value from that Scheme and would be working with Ward Members to understand the priorities for that area. There had also been some significant social value and community benefits arising from the Chesterhill Avenue and Whinney Hill schemes led by Engie. It was confirmed that a summary of those outputs could be provided to Councillor Bennett-Sylvester.


In relation to the sites selected for development, the Housing Service had worked closely with Planning colleagues to make sure that local need for green space and infrastructure had been factored in and plans made accordingly.


In response, Councillor Bennett-Sylvester explained that the social value in relation to Chesterhill had been great. Concerns, however, related to the fact that East Herringthorpe was quite a deprived community and the local bus route did not serve the local library. There was a feeling within the community that it was just being used for building in rather than being development in any meaningful way. It was important that when future development took place, meaningful conversations are held with the community.

(2)  Councillor Ball raised the issue of Coronation Park in Maltby which was due to be transferred from Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council to Maltby Town Council. Councillor Ball wanted to make sure that the residents of Maltby would not end up being double taxed because he could not understand why the Town Council wanted to take over a park that was in such a derelict condition. It had out of date play areas, there was glass everywhere and rubbish everywhere, grass that had not been cut etc. Would the tax payers be losing out by paying the precept and the Council Tax?


The Leader explained that it was his understanding that the Community Asset Transfer was at the request of the Town Council. It was not something initiated by Rotherham MBC.


The Strategic Director of Regeneration and Environment confirmed that he would be happy to have a meeting with Councillor Ball, other officers and Elected Members to discuss the concerns raised.


Councillor Ball explained that Coronation Park should have been up to the same standard as all of the other parks but it was not. Local residents did not use it and referred to it as “the mucky park.” Additional services had been provided for the skate park after concerns. Why were the residents of Maltby now having to pay for the Town Council to look after the Park, on top of their normal Council Tax, when other residents had parks provided by the Borough Council?


The Leader agreed to take that away and a further response would be provided.


Councillor Beck explained that there had been ongoing discussions regarding Coronation Park. One of the main issues was trying to get on top of the anti-social behaviour in the Park as that was one of the major courses of the “crime and grime” in the Park. Councillor Beck explained that it did not matter who owned or managed the Park until the issue of anti-social behaviour was dealt with to some extent. The Police needed to be involved. Nobody wanted to see the Park in a poor state of repair or reputation.