Sheffield is famous as the so-called Steel City – the city that provided the technology and the materials that helped to build the world. But in the 21st century what is it doing to help build its own future? In this report we will look at some of the development and regeneration schemes in Sheffield at the moment.
Background and economy: Sheffield’s economy was originally grounded in heavy industry around steel and engineering but of late has become more reliant on services including financial, legal, telecoms, health, education, creative and digital. However, there is now a movement to build on the city’s historical strengths in technology and manufacturing with the local authority rebranding it as a many-faceted 21st century ‘City of Makers’.
Sheffield has a high projected population growth: ONS projections suggest the current population of around 575,000 will reach 652,000 by 2039.
Government and devolution: The Sheffield City Region or SCR has struggled to assemble a devolution deal. Dan Jarvis MP was elected as City Region Mayor of the SCR Mayoral Combined Authority in 2018 but currently has few effective powers. However, the Mayor and council leaders from Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster, recently agreed terms for a deal that is undergoing public consultation before being pitched to the Government.
SCR says that a devolution deal will bring local control over economic development, transport and skills, including adult education, and provide £35m annually in additional local funding.
Meanwhile the SCR partnership comprising the Mayoral Combined Authority, local LEP and SCR Executive Team is vigorously promoting a number of projects across South Yorkshire. Sheffield schemes include the Heart of the City II city centre development, a ‘grey to green’ redevelopment of Castlegate, plus Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park where the vision is to develop a world class hub for innovation in sport, health and wellbeing.