Will city end up as enclave of China?

Central Library and Graves Art Gallery. Picture: Andrew Roe
Central Library and Graves Art Gallery. Picture: Andrew Roe
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Upon their return from China, the Commissars of Sheffield City Council (SCC) trumpeted the large amount of on-going investment they had secured, supposedly committed to funding SCC-controlled projects – about what projects they had in mind and the terms and conditions accepted, information was not forthcoming.

However, it now appears that one such project involves the closing down of Sheffield Central Libraries building in Surrey Street, with a view to turning it into a hotel for high status (ie affluent) guests, in competition with existing hotels and other Chinese-led projects in the pipeline, thus raising the question as to where all these affluent visitors are going to come from in sufficient numbers, in order to make the proposed hotel a going concern.

So could it be that this hotel will provide suitable accommodation for the senior management of the Chinese investment to keep an eye on the progress of their investments to ensure that they develop according to their plan rather than the council’s? Just how much control will SCC have over any of this new-found largesse from Chinese sources?

Meanwhile, most of the other regeneration investment opportunities in train (eg empty office blocks) appear to be based upon the provision of increasing quantities of student accommodation, primarily aimed at foreign students coming to the UK to study and thus pay high fees towards the upkeep of what passes for a higher education system in the UK nowadays. A large number will be from the Far East in general and China in particular.

Will most of these people return to their own countries after graduation, or stay on to work in this country and fill the available graduate vacancies?

After all, if most of the companies setting up are Chinese in nature to cater predominantly for Chinese, then it stands to reason that they will seek to engage Chinese employees who speak both native and English tongues fluently and have an appropriate cultural affinity.

Similarly, the national telecoms network is now effectively run by a Chinese concern, whilst the latest nuclear white elephant is to be built utilising Chinese investment.

Where it will all end?

When Sheffield has become just one more totally dependent China Town in a UK-based, Hong Kong-style enclave of China?

Michael Parker

Robertshaw Crescent, Deepcar, S36