Senior Labour Cllrs absent from the meeting

The Extraordinary Meeting of Sheffield City Council, called by the Sheffield Green Group of Councillors, has agreed to learn from the strategic failure of political leadership exposed in the recent Lowcock Report into the Street Tree dispute.

The Lowcock Report into the Street Trees dispute was commissioned in 2021 (1) as a result of Green proposals in the Cooperative Executive agreement between Green and Labour Councillors, following the local elections, when Labour lost their majority.

Many senior Labour Councillors including Terry Fox & Bryan Lodge who were in the Cabinet and responsible for decisions regarding the felling of street trees did not attend the meeting today. Tree Campaigners attending the meeting were angry and disappointed that senior Labour Councillors were unavailable to answer questions put to them about the street tree dispute.

The Chief Executive Kate Josephs and the Lord Mayor, Councillor Sioned Mair Richards both offered their full apologies for the actions of the Council at the time.

Green Councillors worked with the Lib Dem and Labour groups on a motion committing the Council to accept the conclusions and recommendations of the inquiry and recognised that the committee system requires committee chairs to abide by the rules and spirit of open, transparent and democratic ways of working.

The successful Green Party amendment, moved by Green Councillor and Tree Campaigner Paul Turpin, recognised that without the Council being in no-overall-control that the Lowcock report would never have been commissioned and also committed the Council to install a plaque in the entrance to the Town Hall (alongside the Kinder Scout mass trespass plaque)

Councillor Turpin said,

The Kinder Scout plaque.

“This plaque is a recognition of those who fought for our environmental heritage and who were vindicated for doing so. It will also serve as a reminder to all Councillors and members of the public that this failure of leadership should never happen again. Now is the time to fix the things that are broken.”

The Green amendment went on to agree that a timescale for implementing all the recommendations resulting from the Extraordinary General Meeting should be published no later than the end of June 2023.