This feedback on the Council which lasted nearly 4 hours are the edited highlights. If you want to watch the full council meeting and look at the Agenda, here is the link
A petition with 11,127 signatures was presented titled “Make the council repair, not demolish, Rose Garden Cafe, Graves Park. The building, constructed in 1927, was described as “iconic” by the petitioners. Green Cllr Marieanne Elliott said the issue should be referred to the Communities, Parks and Leisure Committee to be considered as that would be the best place to equitably seek a decision on the cafe’s future. This proposal was rejected by Labour and Lib Dems. Instead, they referred it to the Charity Trustee Sub-Committee, which has no workforce and no budget.
Former Burngreave Labour councillor , Ibrar Hussain, had a petition asking to cancel the Clean Air Zone due to the additional costs to Taxi drivers of purchasing cleaner taxis. However, responses to written questions showed that a third of the taxi fleet already complies with CAZ standards and another third is 12 years old , which is the maximum age permitted by licensing policy.
Labour Cllr Julie Grocutt, Co-Chair of the Transport, Regeneration and Climate Committee responded by saying they had committed to deliver the Clean Air Zone “in the Spring”. Sheffield already offers some of the highest grants in the country for improving vehicles. There has been pressure from some Labour Councillors to delay the introduction of the Clean Air Zone but Greens have been pushing back on this and asked several questions to try to get Labour to unambiguously commit to starting the CAZ on time next year.
Questions were asked regarding the progress of the Street Trees Inquiry, the poor treatment of asylum seekers in Sheffield and the Council’s plans for the Rose Garden Cafe in Graves Park.
On the asylum seekers question, Green Cllr Angela Argenzio, responded saying that the Council needed to put pressure on the Government as they managed the programme and that she would liaise with the NHS over their treatment of asylum seekers. Cllr Douglas Johnson also responded saying 1300 people seeking asylum were in Sheffield currently and that Government were bypassing local democratic control with regard to the accommodation for asylum seekers,
Labour proposed shifting the members’ questions till the end of the meeting. This would have effectively meant that they would not be heard as the Council meeting is guillotined at 6.00pm. It would have meant that Committee Chairs would not have been held properly to account. Greens and Lib Dems defeated this Labour proposal.
Cllr Johnson challenged Cllr Fox on Investment Zones asking if he was aware that the South Yorkshire Combined Authority had not challenged the Government on the lifting of protections to the environment that are implicit in the proposals for Investment Zones. Cllr Fox responded by saying these would be addressed should the Government allocate any Sheffield land for Investment Zones.
Cllr Christine Gilligan Kubo proposed the Greens motion for a Sheffield Renewable Energy Strategy making the links between the cost of living crisis and our reliance on fossil fuels. Cllr Douglas Johnson seconded the motion, saying we need to act locally to address the global problem pointing out that some other Councils are doing more than Sheffield. The motion was passed with a Labour amendment which the Green Group largely accepted. A wrecking amendment by the Lib Dems was defeated. The motion as amended was agreed unanimously, Full details of the motion can be found here
Labour presented a motion on the stigma of menopause and period poverty. Greens supported the motion including an amendment asking the Council to support the promotion of reusable period products such as moon cups. Cllr Marianne Elliott presented the Green Amendment which was seconded by Cllr Maroof Raoff.
Motions on “Best Value Services for the People of Sheffield” from the Lib Dems and from Labour on the “Cost of Living Crisis – National Failings and Our Local Response”
Though these motions weren’t debated they were voted on along with their amendments. On the Cost of Living motion Cllr Martin Phipps said,
“I was disappointed but not surprised to see Labour abstain on Green proposals to support policies that increase the minimum wage to £15 an hour, restore the £20 universal credit uplift and double it to £40 and increase tax on the wealthiest 1% to address rising inequality and to support those on lowest income, as well as voting against our proposal for an employer’s workplace parking levy once more.
The Green Party have consistently stood against austerity, championed fair pay, support for the most vulnerable and real action on inequality. Labour are showing themselves to be the party for the wealthy, not working people and those in poverty.”