Campaigner's long haul to hear residents' views on council services

Learning: Local campaigner Michael Sylvester will spent months hearing residents' views on council services in disadvantaged communities.
Learning: Local campaigner Michael Sylvester will spent months hearing residents' views on council services in disadvantaged communities.
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Political campaigner Michael Sylvester is holding a series of independent street surgeries in several Rotherham communities this weekend in an attempt to learn more about the issues concerning residents.

Mr Sylvester will be out in the Dalton, East Herringthorpe and Thrybergh areas speak to residents in the hope of gaining more knowledge of the matters which affect residents.

His aim is that by learning more, he will become a more effective campaigner for improvements in the area.

He is an open critic of Rotherham Council and has already questioned the way the authority operates, highlighting the fact the some councillors are often absent from meetings, that senior councillors have allowances in excess of those paid to colleagues doing similar jobs in Sheffield and that the authority has relatively large numbers of representatives for the town’s population size.

The street surgeries start this weekend and covering the whole area will be a time-consuming process.

He said: “It will take forty weekends to cover all three villages with the aim of getting opinions and viewpoints from every road and street.

“I try and hold Rotherham Council to account but do so from what is my point of view.

“Everybody has a unique experience and viewpoint that I can learn from and when you consider the levels of deprivation locally these tend to be opinions that are not represented well at any level of politics.”

In advance of his visits, gold coloured leaflets are being distributed with residents asked to display them in front windows the following Sunday if they have anything to say, so he will know to call.

The first session takes place on Sunday, covering Herringthorpe Valley Road, Cawthorne Road and Cawthorne Close and each week the sessions will alternated between the three communities he is covering.

“I regularly tell the council what they are doing wrong, which is easy. But hopefully with what local people can tell me they can hear what’s needed in some of our currently least listened to communities.”