'We're prepared to roll up our sleeves and take risks,' says council amid concerns over how well Sheffield competes with other cities

Sheffield Council says it is prepared to ‘roll up its sleeves and take risks’ to redevelop the city after concerns were raised about how it competes with other cities.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 4:00 pm
Updated Friday, 17th January 2020, 2:40 pm

Councillors and officers were discussing the future of the city centre at a scrutiny meeting earlier this week, when concerns were raised about how the city competes with other places.

Councillor Mohammed Mahroof, who sits on the economic scrutiny committee, said: “We are competing against many towns and cities, not just within the country but worldwide as well, who are also going through difficulties with their city centres.

“What makes you feel as though we’re in a prime position to attract development when the options for a developer are quite wide? And how are we promoting Sheffield to a wider audience not just in this country but globally?”

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Concerns have been raised about how well Sheffield city centre competes with other cities

He also said the city had been talking about regeneration for a quarter of a century and had seen too many ‘false starts’ during that time.

Tammy Whitaker, head of regeneration and property at the council, said: “I think the thing with Sheffield is we are prepared to roll up our sleeves and get on with it and sometimes that means taking risks and means that we will have false starts - we won’t always get it right. But we need to have a go and try and I think we as a city are very good at that.

“In terms of competition, our city could be Leeds or Manchester but for us in Sheffield it’s about finding what’s important here and selling that in a wider arena.

"I’m a Sheffielder, I’m very passionate about the city and there are things I think are very unique about Sheffield that you don’t get elsewhere. It’s the Outdoor City, the green infrastructure and the fact we have a massive amount of stuff to do.

“I think we do have USPs (unique selling points) and it’s very important to shout about the city and one think we’re not very good at in Sheffield is shouting about our successes and we kind of quietly get on with it.”

In a presentation, Ms Whitaker highlighted several projects they were working on to regenerate the area including Heart of the City II, Castlegate and Fargate.

Coun Bryan Lodge, who also sits on the committee, said the council had moved on significantly over the years.

"When you listen to what Mahroof was saying he paints a pretty bleak picture but when all the other things are taken into account it offsets a lot of those things.

"I've been a councillor for 17 years and in that time we've had both Lib Dem and Labour administrations. I think what we should all be looking at is how the city centre has changed in that time and it's a different place to what it was.

"I think some of that is down to how as a council we've implemented policies like the public realm work we've done is second to none.

"Sheffielders in general are great at knocking things... but we really need all of us to recognise how much it's improved and be more positive about it because that can only help us in attracting other developments and business.

"I think we should be looking at and appreciating what we have got rather than comparing with other places."