Neighbourhood TARA gets boot from council

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A tenants and residents association was stripped of its city council connection amid concerns over its financial affairs.

Sheffield Council said ‘inclusiveness and discrepancy in accounts’ kept by the New Batemoor TARA had led to the decision to de-recognise it as an official group acting on behalf of the community.

Town Hall officers made a number of requests for details from the appointed bookkeeper which had not been met before the transfer of levy money was suspended.

But the council said an investigation launched following allegations of misconduct over the New Batemoor issue found no evidence of inappropriate behaviour.

Sheffield Council deputy leader Coun Harry Harpham, who is also cabinet member for homes and neighbourhoods, said: “Levy money should be used to ensure that TARAs work across the local community or area.

“Given the issues with how this TARA operates and the questions around the audited accounts, suspending the levy money is appropriate.

“The Interim Director of Housing carried out an investigation following allegations made against the conduct of the area manager and she found that, although some lessons could be learned in terms of recording and following procedures, the area team had tried to work closely with the TARA over a considerable period to resolve issues in very difficult circumstances.

“She found no evidence to contradict this or any inappropriate behaviour or conduct.”

The TARA is continuing to operate and still meets regularly in White Thorns View to give residents a voice and resolve issues in the community. Volunteers hope to re-establish the link with Sheffield Council.

A spokeswoman for New Batemoor TARA said: “We have been writing to the council to try to find out why they made this decision and get the TARA recognised again.

“It’s been going for years. People round here don’t understand why this is happened or what is going on.”