Chris Sissons is the Green Party candidate for Burngreave Ward in the local elections on May 3rd.
“I’ve lived in Burngreave Ward since 1992 and I have seen a lot of changes. I was one of the founders of Burngreave Community Action Forum on 1997 and, after some time working in Manchester, joined the New Deal board during its final years.
I am concerned that after spending £50 million over 10 years, despite many good results in terms of revenue expenditure, Burngreave lost its Forum and Trust and has no partnership or community buildings. Compare this with similar neighbourhoods in other parts of the city.
Why did this happen? The Green Party has always supported local initiatives and yet New Deal undermined existing community activities, replacing them with structures that collapsed when the money ran out. In addition, little effort was put into support for local businesses and to this day the buildings at the centre of Burngreave are an impediment to growth of a business community. Business provides the infrastructure communities need for sustainable growth and development.
My main focus today is supporting a local school as a governor. The Green Party supports schools as another essential dimension to building community in a neighbourhood.
I walk around Burngreave almost every day and see the erosion of the local environment first hand. Litter and fly-tipping is a chronic problem in the area. Whilst Burngreave has a number of parks, woods and a cemetery at its heart, the removal of street trees is still a concern. Relatively young trees are being replaced with saplings as well as the loss of mature trees. On my own street we have lost three beautiful young cherries this year alone.
Sheffield City Council needs a stronger opposition. The tree campaign is at heart a matter of local democracy and the power of local residents to determine their own environments. As a councillor I would play my part to hold the main party to account and encourage the constructive conversations that should have taken place many months ago.”