BREXIT: £25million office block funded by EU opens on the day Brexit announced

John Mothersole, chief executive of Sheffield City Council and Lord Kerslake
John Mothersole, chief executive of Sheffield City Council and Lord Kerslake
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A £25m office block in central Sheffield built with the help of European funding was officially opened on the day Britain voted to leave the EU.

Developer David Topham, business and council chiefs - and guest of honour Lord Bob Kerslake - gathered at 3 St Paul’s, the final piece in the Heart of the City scheme.

Started during the recession, it received £6.8m of European cash.

But Mr Topham was upbeat about the future of construction and infrastructure projects.

He said: “Regional aid for projects such as this has been supported by the European Regional Development Fund. Now, central government will probably find a route that supports redevelopments and supports the economy. The Northern Powerhouse is a great idea that needs reinforcing with infrastructure like this.

“I do think the economy will find its feet within six months. We would like to think we can continue as normal.”

Lord Bob Kerslake, the former head of the civil service and chief executive of Sheffield City Council, said the Brexit vote meant politicians should redouble efforts to rebalance the economy.

He added: “This project wouldn’t have happened without a mix of funding including European funding.

“It is crucial government realises the powerful effect of its regeneration value.

“All cities trade beyond their own boundaries, the key question is whether Sheffield retains access to European markets and the truth is we don’t know. The leave process will take up to five years

“I think the lessons politicians should take is that those who felt excluded voted for Brexit any future government has to be genuinely one nation.

“We can’t see London boom and other places suffer. They need to redouble their efforts to rebalance the economy.

“A lot of the Remain campaign was built on fear but a lot of people on low wages had nothing to lose.”