Grey to Green – Money found for public art, but not Space for Cycling

Grey-to-Green-Phase-1We’re about to spend £160k of savings from the Sheffield Grey to Green project on public art.

This is a road scheme on an old ring road, which will narrow the carriageways, create shared use pavements, and install meadows. There wasn’t enough money to install adequate cycling infrastructure, but £160k of saving have been found and will be spent creating public art.

Our priorities are wrong.

This allocation of funding is due to be approved at the 27 May Sheffield Cabinet Meeting[pdf].

Grey to Green Public Art
This project will provide Public Art as part of the Grey to Green Phase 1 – Sheffield Riverside Business District project. The inclusion of Public Art was always envisaged as part of the Grey to Green Phase 1 project but was not included in the Grey to Green Phase 1 Procurement Strategy due to funding pressures.
Following a competitive tender on the Grey to Green Phase 1 project sufficient savings have been made to confidently allow this part of the project to proceed. European Regional Development Funding have now confirmed that they will allow their portion of the remaining budget to be used for this project and a variation will be submitted to seek approval to use part of the remaining budget for the Public Art project.
The total budget for this part of the project is £160k split as follows:
Construction Cost – £65k
Client Costs Capital – £85k (£20k Foundations; £40k Artists Commissions; £25k Commuted Sums (Amey Maintenance)
Fees – £10k
Funded by £64k of ERDF which is included as an approved variation to the original Grey to Green Phase 1 – Sheffield Riverside Business District funding agreement.



Procurement strategy for highways in Sheffield – Single Source Tendering

Next week the Cabinet of Sheffield City Council will make a decision about signing up to a single source tender procurement strategy for highways. See Page 71 of this document which is on the agenda for the cabinet meeting of 27th May 2015.

The value of these highways schemes is listed as £7.5million for the year.

Is this wise!? I had no idea that this is how we tendered for highways projects in Sheffield.

The estimated value of additions to the Highways programme for 2015-16 is £7.5m Please note if there are any further variations /new additions to the 2015/16 programme this procurement strategy will cover those schemes, subject to the scheme being approved at CPG and normal approval route and is within the scope of the Waiver. The proposed strategy is single source tenders in accordance with Schedule 7 of the Highways PFI contract, Amey are issued tender documents and Amey are required to submit prices and provide a work programme for the delivery of the schemes. New Works Team to prepare contracts (NEC) for each scheme and send part 1 to Amey for completion

Recommendation: –

To approve the procurement strategy seeking approval to enter into a single source tender using Amey Hallam Highways Ltd for highway design and highway construction projects that are not part of the Streets ahead projects for the period 01 April 2015 to 31st March 2016 subject to:

  • CPG being satisfied that there is clear evidence that the Waiver does demonstrate value for money recognising the outcome of competitively tendered projects;

  • Two specific cycling infrastructure schemes over £200k to be competitively tendered;

  • Highways schemes following the Gateway process and Financial Regulations; and

  • Contract awards to be made through CPG in line with the Cabinet delegation.


New Sheffield Cabinet Member Appointments – Trying to make sense of it all

Sheffield Council has a new cabinet! But is it clear who has responsibility for what?

  • Leader of the Council- Councillor Julie Dore
  • Finance and Resources- Councillor Ben Curran
  • Business Skills and Development- Councillor Leigh Bramall
  • Housing- Councillor Jayne Dunn
  • Neighbourhoods- Councillor Isobel Bowler
  • Environment and Transport- Councillor Terry Fox
  • Health, Care and Independent Living- Councillor Mary Lea
  • Public Health and Equality- Councillor Mazher Iqbal
  • Children, Young People and Families- Councillor Jackie Drayton

Cabinet Member Responsibilities, published 13th May 2015

Seems simple enough right? Not really!

The council press release is very ambiguous over who exactly is doing what, there seem to be shared roles, roles with titles that don’t actually include that responsibility and unfilled roles.

In Sheffield there is a “Leader’s Scheme of Delegation of Executive Functions” which explains how all of this works. This is what I’ve been able to cobble together.

Official Roles – Taken from The Leader’s Scheme of Delegation of Executive Functions Nov 2014 Name from Press Release Position from Press Release
Chair of Cabinet and Leader of the Council Councillor Julie Dore Leader of the Council
Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Development (Portfolio includes planning and transport) Councillor Leigh Bramall Business Skills and Development
Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families Councillor Jackie Drayton Children, Young People and Families
Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Heath (Portfolio includes the Voluntary, Community and Faith sectors and libraries) Councillor Mazher Iqbal Public Health and Equality
Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure (Portfolio includes parks and positive activities for young people)
Cabinet Member for Environment, Recycling and Streetscene (Portfolio includes climate change, waste management and the ‘Streets Ahead’ project) Councillor Terry Fox Environment and Transport
Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources (Portfolio includes performance) Councillor Ben Curran Finance and Resources
Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Independent Living (Portfolio includes adult services) Councillor Mary Lea Health, Care and Independent Living
Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods (Portfolio includes housing, safety and regeneration) Councillor Jayne DunnCouncillor Isobel Bowler HousingNeighbourhoods

Councillor Mazher Iqbal is down as “public health and equality”, the closest official post I can find is “Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Heath”. Where has communities gone? Equality isn’t mentioned in the official role responsibilities.

There is no Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure as best I can tell. Who’s going to do that job?

Councillor Terry Fox is down as “Environment and Transport” but the closest role I can find is “Cabinet Member for Environment, Recycling and Streetscene (Portfolio includes climate change, waste management and the ‘Streets Ahead’ project)”. So where has recycling gone? And why is transport listed in the press release? It’s clear from Councillor Leigh Bramall’s role that he has responsibility for transport “Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Development (Portfolio includes planning and transport)”.

And then Councillors Jayne Dunn and Isobel Bowler each have responsibility for Housing and Neighbourhoods respectively, however there only seems to be a single role available which is “Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods (Portfolio includes housing, safety and regeneration)”. Are they going to share that role?

I’m not aware that the Leader’s Scheme of Delegation has changed. There seems to be a lot of ambiguity here.

The detailed responsibilities for each role are Sheffield – Leaders Scheme of Delegation Nov 2014 – Cabinet Roles (taken from the Leader’s Scheme of Delegation)



Cycle lanes on the outside parked cars, a recipe for disaster

A couple of video’s of some new cycle lanes in Sheffield. These have been built in the past couple of weeks.

Let’s be honest, you’d have to be insane to think that this is even remotely safe.

This road has 6 lanes for driving, one for parking, 4 for driving along and one for turning. The people in charge have decided that the best place for people cycling is in-between parked cars, and traffic.

A much better place would be behind the parked cars, between the footpath and the parking bays. Why not do it like this?

Cycling in Utrecht
Cycling in Utrecht

We’re all taught to leave plenty of room when cycling past parked cars in case a door opens and you get knocked into the path of heavy traffic. But why are our roads even designed with this being a possibility? Swap the lanes around, put the cycle lane behind parked cars and this risk just goes away.

If a door opens you fall onto the pavement instead of in front of a truck. But it’s easier to avoid this and cycle further away because cycling away from car doors in this arrangement doesn’t mean cycling in the way of heavy traffic!

We need to start thinking differently, start making small changes and start to design our roads like this.

Cycling in Utrecht
Cycling in Utrecht
Cycling in Assen
Cycling in Assen
20mph budgets council cycling money

South Yorkshire Sustainable Transport Exemplar Programme – The biggest project in 2015/16 is a car park extension!

logo-960You just couldn’t make it up. Does car parking really count as sustainable transport?

The Sheffield City Region Growth Deal includes a ‘Sustainable Transport Exemplar Programme’ with £16.3m investment for five years from 2015/16 to 2021, with £3.3million in the first year.

The list of schemes funded in the first year has been announced and include things like bike paths and pedestrian crossings.

The largest scheme though, at £670,000, is a “Meadowhall Car Park Extension”. You read that right, a car park extension. 19% of the annual sustainable transport exemplar programme budget this year is being spent on a car park extension.

2015-16 Sustrainable Transport Exemplar Programme Schemes
2015-16 Sustrainable Transport Exemplar Programme Schemes

This money could pay for significant amounts of bike paths, cycle parking, reducing through traffic, 20mph zones etc. etc. etc. This year the Sheffield budget for 20mph zones is £400,000, the budget for this car park extension is £670,000.

I’m appalled. Follow the money, and it’s clear what the true priorities are for transport spending.

Schemes announced at Monday 16th March meeting of Sheffield City Region Combined Authority Transport Committee.