Everything is changing in local democracy! Under new proposals from the Lib-Dem Council, Area Panels are set to go and Burngreave will merge with Southey Green, Firth Park and Shiregreen to make a much larger Community Assembly.
Across Sheffield, the 12 existing Area Panels will be replaced by 7 Community Assemblies of an equal size. However, Burngreave, Southey and Shiregreen is a huge area and critics say it will be very difficult to address the massive problems of poverty across an area of that size, where residents have little common sense of identity.
In addition, our present Area Panel team, Andy Shallice and Marilyn King, are set to lose their jobs. Staff cuts are planned for smaller area panels, while areas on the West of the city can expect to see an increase in staff resources. Many Burngreave residents feel Andy and Marilyn have been the most hard-working and effective team Burngreave has had for years.
Burngreave Councillor Jackie Drayton expresses serious concerns about the proposal, and told the Messenger,
“The new assemblies will mean less support for residents. There will be fewer workers like Andy and Marilyn to make sure residents are involved and listened to. The Lib-Dems say they will consult residents – but who will do that work?”
“I think the extra money the Area Panel has had in the past is at risk. I hope that all those who have benefited from grants from the Area Panel will come to the next meeting to ask the Lib-Dems how their group will be supported in the future.”
The next Area Panel meeting is at 6pm on 9th October at St Catherine’s School.