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WITH its proud industrial heritage, Sheffield is used to being an economic powerhouse.

Now deputy prime minister Nick Clegg is hoping to re-create the days when the city ruled the roost.

He has announced a range of new powers designed to be a green light for growth.

It means the city will control £180 million which currently goes to the Government then gets shared back to councils according to a set deal.

And it means a pot of cash will be set aside for major projects such as road building and housing.

Sheffield is one of eight cities to be offered this deal which Mr Clegg says is a dramatic shift in power from Whitehall.

Political rivals are bound to find to fault with this deal, that is their job.

But there’s no doubt it offers opportunities. The idea of local control over funding for big projects is long overdue.

Now the challenge is to the council to step up to the mark and make the most of what is on offer.

Time to give a harsher message

IT is abundantly clear that Occupy Sheffield protesters, the cathedral and the city council are struggling to co-exist.

The Dean, the Very Revd Peter Bradley used his Sunday address to urge the protesters to move on, in the face of their time and resources being severely tested in having to liaise with them.

His sermon was even interrupted by one of the protesters, who we have since learned is unwell.

The Dean has now followed up his sermon by writing to the protesters asking them to show compassion and to move on. He is not saying don’t protest but is asking for them to find an alternative site that doesn’t impact on the church’s business at one of the most important times of its year.

And the council, too, is struggling to deliver the right message. A motion proposed by the Greens to “congratulate” the protesters was amended at the last because it was deemed an inappropriate message to be giving them when the church is struggling.

Instead, it called for the church and Occupy Sheffield to work together to reach a mutual solution, with Coun Julie Dore applauding the “bravery and courage of people that stand up and protest”.

There is much delicacy being deployed by the church and the council in dealing with this situation.

But maybe that is the problem. The protest has made its point and is failing to advance its cause. It is time to move on so the church can get on with its business.