Leader answers your questions

Julie Dore
Julie Dore
Have your say

Today we can bring you the answers to your questions about the issues that most affect life in Sheffield.

Last week The Star asked you to send in your question to put before Sheffield City Council leader Julie Dore.

Armed with a long list of your burning issues, we asked Coun Dore the questions on your behalf.

Here is what she had to say.

Q: Lee Birch –

Does the council have a formulated plan for the city centre or are they simply making it up as they go along?

A: Coun Dore –

“We’re certainly not making it up. We have a city centre masterplan that we have had for around a decade now, which we have only recently refreshed.

“We have moved the markets from Castlegate to the bottom of The Moor, we’ve just announced plans for the retail quarter, we have plans for Castlegate, we’ve also got both of the universities building, developing and extending.

“The city centre’s got some of the best public realm in the country so we certainly do have plans - they are coming to fruition and hopefully in the next few years you will see them completed.”

Q: Peter Flynn –

Why has it taken 10 years for Ikea to be allowed in Sheffield?

A: Coun Dore –

“We have always said, all parties, that we would like an Ikea in Sheffield. However the deal has to be right. I’ve always said we are business friendly, but not at any cost.

“The issue was we wanted to find a position that met all the needs of Sheffield people, businesses, the city centre and the council.

“The issues around Ikea were around air pollution and congestion that would impact on the people around there, and we needed to make sure that deal was right.

“We always said we would do a deal, but we needed to get the right solution.

“I believe that’s what we’ve done, and it was well worth it.”

Q: Sophie Ball –

The council constantly blames central Government for its cuts. Why isn’t it working with central Government when one of the most influential MPs in the country represents the city?

A: Coun Dore –

“I am working with the Government, I was on the HS2 Taskforce for example, working with the Government to make sure we could advise where the best place for the station location was.

“We are working with the Government on further devolution – but they are Government cuts at the end of the day.

“We had a £600 billion discretionary spend in 2010 and by the end of the next Parliament it will have gone down to just over £300m.

“I can’t see where Nick Clegg’s constituency being in Sheffield is particularly making a difference, when his constituency has had £300 per head cuts and Prime Minister David Cameron’s constituency has had around £60 per head cuts. That’s not fair.”

Q: Adelle Garner –

Why does the council give the university permission to abolish listed buildings?

A: Coun Dore –

“We have a planning policy and anyone that wishes to apply for demolition and redevelopment has to follow that.

“The university development was the old Jessops building, which was a facade basically, to redevelop a £50m engineering faculty that would make Sheffield University the top engineering university in the country.

“I think you have to make sacrifices to get something much better further down the line, and to get that engineering faculty, to be the top university in the country, to create jobs and to train up the next generation of engineers, that was something that unfortunately was necessary.”

Q: Neil Phillips –

Can you actually say you are proud to live here? I am not.

A: Coun Dore –

“I’m really sorry you’re not proud to live in Sheffield - I’m very proud.

“Every city has its issues, advantages and disadvantages, but I do genuinely believe Sheffield is the best place to live in the whole world.

“It’s not just the assets we’ve got, it’s the people.”

Q: Oliver Newham–

Given Sheffield’s pride in its woodland heritage, does the council leader share concerns that this will be tarnished if schemes that destroy 850-year-old woods like Smithy Wood get the go-ahead?

A: Coun Dore –

“I’ve been following this case and I certainly know one of our local MPs, Angela Smith, has been.

“I have pride in our city and certainly the woodland heritage is part of that. However, we do have planning policies to follow and that particular development will follow a due process. It’s not a political decision, the planning board will take that decision based on officer recommendations and conditions.

“I will be keeping a close eye on it.”

Q: Gary Dorchester –

What was the real reason for destroying Don Valley Stadium?

A: Coun Dore –

“Succinctly, the real reason for demolition of Don Valley Stadium was because we could no longer afford to subsidise a stadium of three quarters of a million pounds when we couldn’t then continue to use that money to provide other sorts of funding in services for the people of Sheffield.

“It’s that simple.”

Q: Lee Swords –

When will Sheffield be full and when will you stop allowing unemployable migrants into Sheffield?

A: Coun Dore –

“Immigration policy is a national, Government policy, not local. Government legislate for national policies and laws and unfortunately at a local level we can only legislate for very local issues.

“We are hoping to acquire further devolution so we can be in control of more policies and designing services.

“However, I do believe an immigration policy should be a national policy. At a very local level you can’t determine local immigration policies at all.”