Local elections postponed

Over the last few weeks we have been preparing for the local council elections and Police and Crime Commissioner elections which were due to take place on May 7th.

In light of the developing coronavirus situation, the government has now announced that those elections will not be taking place until May 2021.

The Labour Party nationally has also decided to suspend all campainging activity.

Changes to ward boundaries, and the reduction in the number of councillors across the borough, are accordingly also delayed until next year.

There will be further practical issues that need to be resolved as a result of the government’s decision, but please be assured that we will continue to serve the community to the best of our ability through the coming year.

We were looking forward to making our case through the election campaign, but it is right that public safety should come first.

You can find the latest advice from the NHS in relation to coronavirus by clicking here, and the latest information from the government by clicking here. We would encourage all residents to follow official advice in order to stay safe over the coming weeks and months.

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Council budget to Build a Better Borough

Councillors met this week to formalise the council’s budget for the coming year.

Over the last ten years, the Conservatives have forced £200 million of cuts on Rotherham Council. Nearly 2,000 jobs have been lost as a direct result. And as we said on Wednesday, that has been a deliberate choice, not something that happened by chance.

Despite that, because of the difficult choices we have made over the last few years, this year’s budget does give us some opportunities to respond to the needs of residents. Labour’s plans include:

  • A £1.7 million package for cleaner streets; more weed removal, new equipment for Streetpride, and returning to seven day opening for household waste sites including our local site at Lidget Lane
  • £24 million for road resurfacing over the coming four years to halve the number of potholes in the borough’s roads. This will be the biggest investment in road resurfacing in Rotherham for decades
  • £10 million more next year for Children’s and Adults’ Social Care
  • Investing in every library in the borough, including Wickersley – whereas under the Tories more than 800 libraries have closed across the country
  • More on-street youth work in every part of the borough – under the Tories youth services nationally have been cut by 70%
  • A new seven day-a-week noise nuisance service, which should help to address some of the issues faced by residents in our area, including late night noise from pubs and licensed premises
  • More staff to cut telephone waiting times at the council
  • Scrapping planned cuts to subsidised bus services. Evening and Sunday X10 services are due to be re-tendered in the coming year, and we want to ensure that bus users in our area don’t lose out again.

Together, this practical package of measures should help to ensure that more residents across the borough benefit from council services. They were supported by councillors across party lines, including Brexit Party and Independent councillors, with the exception of the one Liberal Democrat councillor.

During the debate, Cllr Chris Read said;

Five years ago, when I first delivered a budget speech in this chamber, this council was in crisis.

Today, our Children’s Services are transformed, our council rebuilt.

But building a better council was only the beginning. Because none of us are here simple to be administrators.

We’re here to represent our communities and to improve the lives of the people we serve.

And now the building blocks for something bigger are in place.

Social care services to meet the need of our most vulnerable.

An economy that is creating jobs, attracting investment, and tackling poverty pay.

More affordable housing, better roads and a decent local environment.

Working in every neighbourhood and valuing every place.

The aim was never just to build a better council. The aim has always been to build a better borough.

You can watch Cllr Chris Read’s introduction and the debate that followed through the webcast above.

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Have your say on library plans

The council’s new draft library strategy – which includes investing in library buildings and facilities – is now out for the final stage of public consultation.

There will be two local drop in sessions at Wickersley Library when you can speak to council staff about the proposals and help to shape the final strategy:

  • Thursday 19th March, between 4pm and 7pm
  • Tuesday 24th March, between 1pm and 3pm

You can also read more and have your say via the council’s website by clicking here.

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Changes to Sunnyside advice surgery times

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to rearrange two of our Sunnyside Community Centre advice sugeries.

The surgery that was planned for Monday February 24th will now be held on Monday March 2nd at the same time (6pm to 7pm).

The surgery that was planned for Monday March 23rd will now be held on Monday March 30th at the same time.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

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Making the case against HS2’s “M18” route

Emma Hoddinott, Chris Read and Sue Ellis supporting the Bramley Stop HS2 campaign

We continue to make the case that the so-called M18 route is bad news for our area, and urge the government to either change the plan or abandon the Birmingham to Leeds leg altogether.

Last week Cllr Chris Read spoke to The Guardian about Rotherham’s objections. You can read the article by clicking here.

You can find more information about what we’ve done over the last few years, and why we keep making the case by going to our HS2 updates page.

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