According to the minutes:
The Executive Director, Place submitted a report seeking support for the Sheffield Moors Partnership (SMP), a unique partnership with the purpose of leading an innovative approach to deliver the vision of the SMP area as the UK’s leading model on how the uplands should be managed in the future and securing the long term sustainability of this wild and open landscape. The report also sought formal support from the Council as a key land owner for the recently developed Sheffield Moors Masterplan.This is typical of the kind of fatuous vocabulary we get in minutes from this source and is familiar stuff in officers' reports.
No member of the public asked any questions. I could not get to that meeting so sent in my views to the Cabinet member Isobel Bowler. She promised they would be recorded but there's no sign of them. Is that a surprise?
Further on in the minutes comes:
RESOLVED that the Cabinet
a) supports the work of the Sheffield Moors Partnership and agrees that the City Council should continue its collaborative work within the Partnership,
b) endorses the Sheffield Moors Masterplan and as a major land owner and partner in the area agrees it as a statement of the City Council’s vision for the Sheffield Moors; and
........ and it's the'and' that's interesting. I've only just seen it but again I'm not wholly surprised.
c) authorises the Director of Capital and Major Projects, provided the disposal has been advertised and no objections received, to negotiate a lease with the RSPB and National Trust for Burbage, Houndkirk and Hathersage Moors on terms that meet the requirements set out in the report and to instruct the Director of Legal and Governance to complete the necessary legal documentation.
So Sheffield City Council is getting rid of our land again. They're back into the policy that has been used more and more in recent years: give our major assets to someone else so they don't have to bother with them. Don't forget that the officers who come up with these ideas are often rewarded with jobs in the organisations that get to run these assets; several examples spring to mind. This means there will be no chance of transparency in the management - the National Trust will gather a group of people together who are already sympathetic to what they want to do and ask for their views on how the place should be managed. they will then record this as being a positive response to a consultation and use it to help them rake in lots of farm subsidies. Why Sheffield City Council can't do this God only knows.
Another interesting thing about this is the capacity for deliberately misleading the public exhibited in both councillors and officers. Seven years ago someone told me as if it was absolute truth that Burbage and Houndkirk were to be handed over to the National Trust and RSPB. But each time I've asked an official about this in recent years they have feigned total ignorance of it. I have also been told more than once by senior officers that there's been no consideration given to handing over the land to outside agencies and further that if it happens at all it will only be considered once the Master Plan had been confirmed. Yet the moment that the confirmation was confirmed this is precisely what has happened with no record of any discussion. Who can we trust? Hands up anyone who wants to say they trust Sheffield City Council. its Cabinet or its Parks and Countryside Department. Transparency and accountability are not words recognised in their phrase book.