OPINION: now is time for action

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We welcome Sheffield Council’s intention to deliver plans for the city’s long-awaited retail quarter. Its decision to go it alone is bold and the target of completing work by 2019 is ambitious. This city deserves a retail quarter to be proud of and if a council-owned organisation can start to make this a reality we will all benefit. Of course, there are worries about borrowing £30 million but we must retain our ambition. We cannot afford to let the retail quarter stay in limbo any longer. It is time for action because anything else will only spell decline. If the council uses the same method which got the Moor Markets built, let us hope the same result can be achieved. This means commercial partners coming on board and we must have faith that this will happen. It is a risky strategy, but this is a risk worth taking.

progress at

city school

It’s good to see that real progress in being made to boost standards at a Sheffield secondary school - only six months after inspectors found it was needing serious improvement. Staff at Birley Community College seem to be doing all that is required of them to turn things around, with new recruits in place and an increased focus on literacy. Areas for improvement are being tackled with energy, enthusiasm and vision, say inspectors who have been back to Birley. It is still early days and there’s much hard work still to be done. But it looks as if solid foundations are in place to see the job through.

fit for work

How fit does a police officer need to be to? The so-called bleep test gives officers a target they will need to achieve when fitness tests are introduced. Already, officers are failing and it begs the question of whether one test fits all. How do you measure experience? It seems to us discretion should be shown rather than applying a simple formula.