Sheffield aims to develop its ‘global reputation’

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SHEFFIELD is setting out its ambitions for the next ten years, aiming to develop its reputation as “a city with a global reputation”.

Civic leaders have drawn up a draft strategy designed to act as a framework for policy decisions across all aspects of local business, environment, education, community involvement and culture.

Despite the economic downturn and big cuts in public spending, they say they want to build on the successes of the past decade with the widest possible support from local people and organisations.

The aspiration is to see “a great city where people across the world want to live, learn, work and invest”. At the same time there is a recognition that there is still plenty to do to address the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’.

The document updates a previous strategy in the light of the council’s emphasis on community involvement, changes in public sector priorities as a result of the coalition government and the latest State of Sheffield report.

It has been drawn up by Sheffield First Partnership, which represents local public, private, voluntary, community and faith sectors.

“We know that we are building on success,” says the report. “Sheffield is now a city with a global reputation. It is at the cutting edge of new technology, with two internationally renowned universities, a city of young people which continues to grow in population, a friendly place with vibrant and friendly communities, a thriving city centre and beautiful parks and open spaces.

“We are not, however, complacent. We know that the benefits of our success have not been shared equally across the city and that, as a result, the experience of and outcomes for local people can be very different.

“There are challenges ahead but there are also significant opportunities. This strategy seeks to focus on those opportunities as they represent the future for people living, learning, working and investing in the city.”

Five key ambitions are outlined – to make Sheffield distinctive, building local pride; successful, developing the local economy; inclusive, creating a place where everybody has the chance to fulfil their potential; vibrant, celebrating diversity, creativity and innovation; sustainable, protecting the city for future generations.

Details were being presented yesterday (Wednesday) to the council’s cabinet – at the same meeting that an £80m cuts package was on the table. Over the next three years, Sheffield is faced with saving £219m, which critics fear will unravel the fabric of the city.

While there is a recognition that Sheffield has made big strides in recent years in terms of its economic performance and policies such as improving the city centre, it is also accepted that the city is still riven by inequalities. In particular there is still a big gap over health, with residents in the more prosperous suburbs living much longer than those in economically and socially deprived parts of the city.