Letters: Building relationships with investors
It is so positive to read about the visitor numbers soaring at locations up and down The Moor (The Star, 11 January). Anyone who has visited the new shops, The Light cinema and the Moor Market cannot fail to be impressed by what has been achieved. The whole team at The Moor deserve the city's thanks.
So what is next? This is an important question as it prompts a lot of answers. Across the city so much is happening. Sheffield is on the up.
The Heart of the City II project is making great strides. The new office for HSBC is nearing completion. Planning applications have been submitted for two new blocks that will combine new shops, offices and city centre residences. The arrival of the National Videogame Museum and the plans being driven forward by Kollider are transforming Castle House on the edge of Castlegate. Fargate looked great over Christmas. The number of shoppers and visitors, particularly at the weekend, showed that people love a Christmas Market and being in a busy and vibrant city centre on the run up to the big day. On the edge of the city centre, Kelham Island is now regarded as the best community in the UK by the highly influential Academy of Urbanism.
Despite the successes this is no time to be complacent. Equally it is important that the right type of investment is made in the right areas. The Council has a role to play in facilitating investment but it would be ill-advised to hope that Council monies can be simply poured into areas of our city centre like Fargate. The Council have a record of making things happen, as they did and continue to do with Heart of the City, but only when there is a strong argument that the Council will get that money back or make something bigger happen.
Rather, if we want to see more successes like The Moor, if we want to see more regeneration along Fargate and around Castlegate, then we need to welcome investors to our city to show them what we have to offer and how they can achieve success. That's what has happened on The Moor and what is seeing the number of cranes on the skyline grow every day.
This is not about selling the city to developers looking for a quick buck. It's about building relationships with investors who look after our pensions. It is about working with investors who want to invest in a city for 30 to 40 years. Those organisations recognise the importance of getting things right and helping a city to grow and provide benefits for all residents. It is those investors who will help Sheffield to attract even more visitors keen to enjoy all that our city centre has to offer.
Martin McKervey, Chair
On behalf of the Sheffield Property Association