Seizing this big chance only works if we’re all behind it: Editor's comment
Things look all set to make Sheffield city centre sparkle as soon as we get this pandemic under control - but there are a few caveats.
Too often, Sheffield has been the biggest threat to Sheffield’s progression and that is what must stop.
What gives me most hope is that the might of Sheffield City Council is starting to finally realise it can no longer do what it once did. The strength of this city is not in the Town Hall but in a unity, backed and supported by the local authority, that we have ignored for decades. Our bid for millions to transform High Street and Fargate won because of teamwork. There were a dozen or so clever folk who pulled together from across the city to make sure we had it right.
That is the approach that I dearly believe will keep pushing us forward.
It has worked in other comparable, neighbouring cities and it needs council leadership which listens because it truly wants the best for Sheffield but understands that means reaching out.
The devolution debacle is behind us but all through this covid crisis, how many times have you seen those who represent Sheffield City Region publicly pulling together with a statement on anything – let alone giving one combined voice to shout on our behalf?
There are signs of green shoots but they will need a lot on tending if they are ever to grow into something that makes us all proud of those shaping – or not – a strong future for us and the generations that will follow.
Speak up for us, shout out, stamp your feet and show the rest of the country that, not only do we have fire in our belly for better, we have the skills and innovation to make it happen. That all-important shift in mind-set, the huge building works taking place even while most of us stay at home and projects like those planned for Fargate give us more than a glimmer of hope.
Leave your cynicism at home and get behind a city centre which can help our independent traders flourish and create something uniquely Sheffield. By the time we emerge, there should be much to see and plenty to celebrate together. All you need to do is starting talking your own city up and spending your pounds where our own economy will benefit the most.