Green space safe after we stepped in

Cllr Emma Hoddinott pictured with the new goalposts recently

The green space between Belvedere Parade and Rosedale Way has been safeguarded from possible development after we stepped in.

Some time ago the land, which has been maintained by the council for many years but which has always been in private ownership, was offered up for sale by its owners. We were worried that this popular spot could also prove a hit with housing developers, and knowing the value of the space to the local community, we were able to get the council involved. Fortunately the owners agreed to transfer ownership and ensure it would be protected.

The legal documents went through in the last couple of weeks, meaning that the land is now in safe hands.

We’ve also used our local ward budget to install new goalposts on the site. Unfortunately the rather heavy-handed contractor made a mess of the entrance from Belvedere Parade, but this has now been restored and should soon green over again!

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Planning Inspector backs us over Masons application

Over the last few months, Green King, the company behind the Masons Arms pub, has been trying to achieve a relaxation of the planning rules intended to reduce its impact on local residents.

The company had claimed that a planning condition imposed by the council, which meant that outdoor music could not be played in the pub grounds, was not valid and should be repealed.

We have always argued that the importance of the night time economy must be balanced with the needs of neighbouring residents, and opposed the repeal of the condition. We were supported by the council, but the pub chain appealed the local decision to the government’s Planning Inspector.

Fortunately, earlier this month the inspector upheld the local decision and rejected the appeal.

In the decision, he says;

“The playing of music externally, whether recorded music or live music in the form of the occasional music festivals referred to by both main parties, is likely to add to the already significant noise environment surrounding the appeal site… I conclude that the disputed condition is satisfies the 6 tests set out in the Framework and that its removal would cause material harm to the living conditions of occupiers of the residential properties closest to the appeal site on Willow Court, Northfield Road and opposite on Bawtry Road. The condition is therefore necessary to protect the amenity of residents in the local area… The appeal should therefore be dismissed.”

You can read the decision in full here.

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Can the Labour council cut your energy bill?

Our new Community Energy Rotherham scheme launched at the beginning of this month, with the objective of helping local residents to save money on their home energy bills.

The scheme offers personal support to households to switch their bills to cheaper suppliers, as well as access government grants, and smart meters where these are available.

It’s thought that the typical household could save up to £150 a year by making the right switch.

Once Covid restrictions are lifted, there will be opportunities to meet the team face to face but for now it’s available online only. Just go to www.facebook.com/CommunityEnergyRotherham in order to find out more, or email community-energy-rotherham@rotherham.gov.uk including your contact details to see how they can help you.

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Listerdale 20 mph consultation

A map of the proposed 20 mph zone (click for larger version)

Following concerns from local residents about speeding vehicles cutting through the estate, as part of our programme of road safety measures we asked for Listerdale to be considered for new 20 mph speed limits.

The roads that could be included in the new lower speed limit zone are shown in the map above. We hope that the measures would help to keep these small streets safer for residents and families, and would compliment the road resurfacing works that have taken place through the estate over the last few years.

Letters from the council will soon be arriving with residents on the affected streets, and we would urge everyone to have their say.

Responses should be sent to: Nick Fletcher, Legal Services, Riverside House, Main Street, Rotherham S60 1AE.

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Budget for a Better Borough

Councillors met this week to set Rotherham Borough Council’s budget for the coming year. Despite eleven years of cuts from the Conservative government amounting to £200 million, because of the choices we’ve made over recent years we are able to avoid further cuts to services – and to keep our council tax rise below those in most of the rest of the country.

The budget agreed by Labour councillors means that some additional cash can be invested over the coming year, including:

  • Creating an additional four Streetpride teams across the borough, and cutting the cost of some household bulky waste collections
  • Additional library resources, more tree planting and wild flowers, and improvements for parks and play areas
  • More support for youth work

Our proposals will also help to deal with the fallout from the Coronavirus pandemic:

  • And additional £100,000 to combat food poverty and support foodbanks, reflecting on the experiences of people in our community through the crisis
  • Paid work placements for young people at risk of long term undemployment, and extra careers support for people in work
  • Contributing to a £450,000 package to tackle digital exclusion and help to get more people online and IT confident

The budget also provides for capital investments, including the creation of a new £4 million “Towns and Villages Fund” to help improve local centres, and £5.8 million to advance the development of flood defence schemes for areas affected by the 2019 flooding.

Introducing the budget, Council Leader Chris Read contrasted Labour’s investment to the Tories’ failure to offer our town a fair deal, noting that this government has cut funding furthest in the most deprived areas, and even this year is cutting funding to repair Rotherham’s roads, and even support for the the NCA’s Operation Stovewood investigation into non-recent child sexual exploitation crimes in the borough.

Concluding he said;

“Added to our commitment to a thousand new council homes, and huge programme of investment in our roads, we are literally building a better borough.
…We should take pride in how far we have already come. Because that’s our agenda:
• A better borough that rises to the expectations of our communities
• Good jobs, decent homes, public services that set people free
• And security for those who need it most, so we leave no one behind”

Remarkably, opposition councillors from the Rotherham Democratic Party and Liberal Democrats voted against Labour’s budget, and specifically tried to remove funding for additional street cleaning, youth work, library resources, careers support, and additional staff to make it easier to get through to the council on the phone.

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