Sheffield has so much potential in its people and its geography so why isn’t it at least punching at its weight?
If a system is only as strong as its weakest link then given the developments (or lack of) in Sheffield over a number of years the current administration must be a strong contender for the position.
Whenever a concern is raised with the council either everything is rosy and we just don’t understand or we are vilified.
Council spokespeople tell us there are great plans in the pipeline if we’ll just wait a bit and when they come to nought it’s either we misunderstood or we’re told other forces over which they have no control stepped in to prevent it or they quote commercial sensitivity.
What has brought on this rant is the announcement that the Forestry Commission is investigating whether Sheffield should have sought licences to fell healthy trees.
If prosecutions follow, it could potentially cost us ratepayers millions, dwarfing the amount incurred so far, through the council’s determination to force through its tree felling agenda.
It beggars belief that council officers were either unaware of this requirement or failed to inform their council bosses of the need to check.
Add this to other recent issues:
n The Channel 4 headquarters that we were meant to be a shoe-in for
n The amount of student housing given planning permission in the city centre when people who live here 52 weeks of the year are in need of two- and three-bedroom apartments
n The lack of office space (it’s being used to develop student apartment blocks!)
n The failure to access the money set aside for the Sheffield City region because of the inability of the four South Yorkshire Authorities to work together
n The hard landscaping flood prevention schemes planned rather than using schemes that work with the landscape and nature
n The future of the central library building
n The foreign investment in the city – or not as the council refuse to provide information to identify just some.
What about its fondness of the ‘sledgehammer to crack a nut’ approach such as in respect of licencing all landlords in certain areas and motorists.
We can all identify the problems but the correct solutions need better brains than those currently being applied to the problems.
There is so much that is good about living in Sheffield and there are a number of success stories, though many seem to happen despite the council, not because of it.
We are rarely informed of those who gave up because of the intransigence of the council and set up in other cities instead (commercial confidentiality).
The administration seems to fear what it does not understand and is dismissive of what it can’t control and the city is losing out because of this.
Council spokespersons seem to have been selected for their ability to memorise a script rather than for their ability to explain or understand another point of view.
I had hoped that politics had moved on from the days when where blind acceptance of a diktat was the norm, but not here.
Trust comes with transparency and truth and it’s a pity the administration cannot grasp that simple fact.