Vote safely this May. Vote from home.

With local elections now confirmed for Thursday May 6th, we want to make sure that everyone who wants to can vote safely.

And although Coronavirus infection rates continue to fall steadily, and polling stations will be open on the day itself, increasing numbers of people are choosing to make sure their vote counts by voting early.

You’ve only got until April 20th to register for a postal vote, and application forms must be returned to the council in hard copy.

So if you’re backing us this year to continue working for our community, why not sign up today so you can vote early?

Don’t miss out. Just go to https://postalvote.labour.org.uk/, fill in your details and return it to the council. The site will even send you a form out through the post if you don’t have a printer yourself.

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£4m investment in local council homes

Mark Grove Neighbourhood Centre recently benefited from the works

Over the last few years, a number of council tenants in our area have raised with us issues relating to external parts of their properties that have been wearing out. That includes things like soffits and fascia boards, where old wooden fixtures and fittings have got past their best.

In extreme cases this has resulted in draughts and leaks, sometimes requiring individual repairs, although more often it has just left homes looking a bit worse for wear.

We have been trying to make sure these works are part of the council’s maintenance schedule, so we were pleased to get confirmation that from next month a £4 million investment programme will come to Flanderwell, Sunnyside, Bramley and Wickersley in our ward.

As well as the direct benefit to tenants, the works should also make a visible difference to the appearance of some streets.

Works in other parts of Bramley and to Mark Grove Neighbourhood Centre took place recently, and tenants in our patch who will be affected should have recently received information about the planned works from the council. Further details with individual householders will be finalised closer to the time.

At the May 6th elections, one of our key Labour commitments as part of our Building a Better Borough plan is to deliver a major programme of new council homes, because we know that there are still thousands of people who can’t get a home to call their own at a rent they can afford.

But we also want to ensure that our existing properties are kept up to a high standard, so we are pleased to have been able to secure this investment in our community.

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Labour’s local manifesto to Build a Better Borough

This weekend we’ve set out in detail Labour’s plan for the council over the next three years – our plan to Build a Better Borough.

Starting with the progress made improving the council over the last few years, and the investments made in our recent budget, our plan set out how Labour councillors want to improve every community across Rotherham; halving the number of potholes, increasing investment to keep our streets clean, improving every library.

But it also sets out Labour’s agenda to build a fairer community; 1,000 more council homes to support people stuck on waiting lists, ending rough sleeping, and securing more jobs and the economic recovery after Covid – starting with our Young People’s Pledge to give young people cheaper bus fares and more access to training and work placements, which should begin this June.

As our economy grows, we need the benefits of that to be felt by local people. That’s why we’re committing to securing accredited Real Living Wage status for the council, so fewer people have to survive on poverty pay. It’s why we’ll introduce local labour clauses, so that developments given planning permission are required to offer jobs and training to local people.

We’ll deliver on our regeneration of the town centre – which will bring in £200 million of investment across the public and private sectors. And we will keep our commitment to our Towns and Villages Fund, to improve our local centres across the borough.

And of course we will keep our commitment to high quality Children’s Services, to building the next generation of social care facilities, and to seeing through dealing with the legacy of child sexual exploitation.

It’s the most comprehensive and ambitious Labour agenda ever set out at a local election in Rotherham.

You can read our plans in full by clicking here.

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Leaders call for new rules to tackle off-road bikes

Cllr Chris Read has joined forces with leaders from across South Yorkshire to call for a change in the law to tackle nuisance off-road bikes.

In a letter to the Home Secretary, council leaders and South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis set out how communities like ours face repeated problems with bikes being ridden dangerously, often causing damage and anti-social behaviour.

Whilst we work closely with the police locally to try to reduce these issues, and bikes have been seized as a result, the leaders note that the existing powers only deal with problems after they have occurred. Instead they propose that there should be a national licensing regime to ensure that vehicles are in legitimate hands and used for proper purposes. Properly registered vehicles would be easier to track, whilst unregistered vehicles could be seized and removed from their owners.

The letter can be read in full here.

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Streetpride team clears up

After the recent works (top), and filled with grass last summer

Our first local Streetpride “blitz” day showed how reform of the service has started to bring improvements.

Moving to locally based “zonal” teams, shifting away from mandatory schedules and allowing staff to respond to local needs as well as reports has helped the service to respond to different issues in different locations. Part of the change means that each ward will benefit from three or four “blitz” days each year, when a team can tackle a particular issue that would otherwise go unattended to.

We recently asked the team to attend the build up of detritus in gullies in the Scarborough Road area, which would never normally benefit from scheduled works. The grass that filled the sides of road last summer showed how years of waste have accumulated!

You can see more over on our Neighbourhoods blog.

Meanwhile, more of Labour’s extra investment in cleaner streets will start of deliver results over the next few weeks, with more new bins replacing the smaller and often damaged carbon fibre models. Solar powered, high capacity bins will be installed at more locations around the borough, in places where standard bins would otherwise need emptying more frequently.

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