Campaigners remain hopeful of changing decision-making process at Sheffield Town Hall

Campaigners say they remain hopeful of forcing a change in the way decisions are made at Sheffield Town Hall despite learning a referendum will not be held alongside this year’s local elections.

Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, 14:32 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, 14:33 pm
Anne Barr of It's Our City.

Community group It’s Our City launched the Sheffield People’s Petition in August, with the intention of changing the decision-making process at Sheffield Town Hall.

The group is hoping to take action under the Localism Act 2011 to prompt a change from the council’s current ‘strong leader and Cabinet model’ to one where decisions would be taken more by committees, involving more councillors in key decisions.

Anne Barr of It's Our City.

The legislation requires a petition signed by five per cent of those on the Sheffield Council electoral roll to trigger a referendum – which the group said they’d been told was a total of 20,956.

And despite Sheffield Council bosses confirming it did not reach the required number of signatures by January 2 – the deadline in order to hold a referendum on the same day as the 2019 local elections – the group say they remain hopeful of gathering enough support to prompt a vote.

Sheffield community group It's Our City. Picture: Fran Grace, Sue Kondakor, Andrew Kondakor, Ruth Hubbard and Shelley Cockayne.

Group member Anne Barr said the petition had now been signed by more than 8,000 people.

She said: “The campaign is really starting to pick up and literally everyday I am out with colleagues, friends and people from across the city.

“I was in Endcliffe Park yesterday, for example, and got 30 signatures in just a few hours because people are furious at the leadership of the city.

“If we could duplicate ourselves and be on every street corner, we would have the required number of signatures.”

The group now has until August 24 – a year after it launched the campaign –  to submit the petition, with the required number of signatures.

Ms Barr said: “It’s the kind of topic where you need discussion so I think that’s why the paper petition is really taking off.

“I think the most important thing – not just in Sheffield but in local politics as whole – is people don't really know how the system works at all.”

Fylde Borough Council saw a similar change in governance in 2015 following a referendum 12 months previous and West Dorset District Council also made changes following a vote last year.

For more information or to sign the petition visit www.ipetitions.com/petition/sheffield-peoples-petition.