Getting the basics right
Council services are the most commonly used public services. We all depend on roads, pavements, streetlights, getting the bins emptied, maintaining grass verges and green spaces. Over the last few years we have done all that we could to protect those services in the face of £200m of Tory cuts.
In every community we want to ensure that residents live in a clean, safe environment. This is how we will do it.
- We are changing how services work so that every community will have a dedicated team that works alongside local councillors to get the best outcomes for local people. Street cleaning, grounds maintenance and enforcement staff will be organised on a locality basis, joining Housing and other services that already work in this way, along with local policing teams.
- We have introduced ward-based budgets, funded in part by cutting some allowances that were paid to councillors, to ensure local projects are supported. We will increase these budgets further in the coming year.
- We will invest an additional £2.2 million over 2018/19 levels to improve the cleanliness of our streets. We will replace old and damaged street waste bins, and fund four additional Streetpride teams.
- Our Love Where You Live volunteer scheme has supported hundreds of people to play their part in local litter picking. We celebrate their commitment and achievements. We will continue to back the scheme in addition to, but not to replace, paid staff.
- We have introduced household collections of plastics for recycling, and the amount of paper, cardboard and glass being recycled has increased. We will continue to examine opportunities to increase the kind of materials that can be collected from households.
- The biggest investment in road resurfacing for a generation: We have already reduced the number of potholes reported in roads in the borough by a third. Our “£24 million to 2024” Roads programme- the biggest investment in our roads for a generation – will further halve the number of potholes, and begin to repair pavements in the borough.
- We are expanding the roadworks licensing scheme to reduce the number of days lost to roadworks and make utility companies responsible for ensuring repairs are up to scratch.
- Cracking down on littering, fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour: Working in partnership with Doncaster Council we have restored enforcement against those who damage the local environment with litter, fly tipping and dog fouling. As a result the number of fines issued against littering increased 80-fold up until the beginning of Covid lockdowns.
- Safe taxis: Rotherham’s taxi licensing policy is now recognised as national best practice. We will continue to maintain high standards of taxis to keep both the travelling public and people who work in the industry safe.
- We have invested in new mobile CCTV to tackle anti-social behaviour in every ward in the borough. Over the next three years we will overhaul the borough’s CCTV network to ensure it continues to be fit for purpose.
- Under the Tories, one in six domestic abuse refuges have been closed. In contrast we are increasing investment in services to support victims of domestic violence by £150,000 a year, and continue to attract additional external funding.
- We have already committed £450,000 to support local road safety schemes in areas where residents have told us they are worried about speeding or dangerous driving, and we will roll these out over the coming year. In the coming three years we will adopt a coherent approach to local 20 mph speed limits, ensuring that children and older people alike feel safe on small residential roads.
- We know that in many areas, parking for residents is a real concern, with cars parked blocking pavements being a worry for people in wheelchairs and parents with pushchairs. So we will consult on the localised use of traffic powers to make pavement parking in specific areas punishable by fixed penalty notices.
- Investing in every library in the borough: Under the Tories 800 libraries have closed across the country. Labour in Rotherham know that closing libraries means more than just the loss of books; closed libraries reduce community activities and make it more difficult for people to access council services. That’s why we will invest in community libraries across the borough to continue to ensure access to books, computers, and community events. In Brinsworth we have worked with the parish council to move the library into a new purpose built building. In Thurcroft and Swinton we will move the existing libraries into improved facilities and locations. Alongside the potential new central library, that would mean four new library buildings. For every other library in the borough, we are investing in new public computers and improved facilities – we have scrapped library fines, and we are increasing the budget for library stock.
- We will make the necessary investment to ensure Herringthorpe Stadium remains open and in use.
- £4 million to improve local town and village centres: Our new fund will improve the appearance and attractiveness of our local centres, based on consultation with local residents.
- We will protect and continue to improve Rotherham Show as the major annual public event in the borough. As it becomes safe to do so, we will bring people together, providing more resources for public events over the coming year, and take measures to tackle loneliness and isolation. We will continue to mark Armed Forces Day and Remembrance Day as important milestones in the civic calendar. And in 2025 we will showcase a year long festival to celebrate our young people and the opportunities they have for the future, as the first Children’s Capital of Culture.
- Flooding: the 2019 floods devastated parts of our community, and sadly such events are only becoming more common. Since 2007, the council has spent £26 million to flood defence projects across the borough, but there’s still more to do. So Labour councillors are committing an additional £5.8 million to accelerate the defence schemes needed at Kilnhurst, Parkgate, Whiston Brook, Eel Mires Dyke and Catcliffe. We’ve also secured additional funding from the City Region, and we are lobbying the government to ensure all the schemes are fully funded.