The big read: Exactly how Sheffield Council spent millions of pounds in every city community is revealed

Details of how and where millions of pounds were spent in Sheffield communities can be revealed by the Sheffield Telegraph today.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 6:00 am
The majority of the funding in Nether Edge was related to housing redevelopment of the former Abbeydale Grange school site

Data showing exactly what Section 106 money – which is sought from companies to improve local neighbourhoods when a development is built – was allocated to has been confirmed through a Freedom of Information request to Sheffield Council.

The figures also show which Sheffield wards generated the most income from developments in the last three years.

Nether Edge and Sharrow came top, with a whopping £3,251,990 generated there, over even the central City ward, where the highest number of developments was agreed, totalling £1,752,962 altogether.

The highest amount of spend for one project was allocated to the Grey to Green project in Sheffield city centre

The majority of the funding in Nether Edge was related to housing redevelopment of the former Abbeydale Grange school site on Hastings Road, and totalled £2.9m. The school was closed despite a long campaign to save it.

Dore and Totley, Stannington and Ecclesall were also in the top five wards for generating income between 2018 and 2021.

However the top five wards when it came to spending the Section 106 money in the same time period were not the same as the top five for income.

The top five wards for spend were City, East Ecclesfield, Ecclesall, Manor Castle, and Gleadless Valley.

One of the community projects to benefit from Sheffield Council Section 106 money was the tennis courts at Bingham Park

City ward had £1,332,171 of spend allocated, including the highest value project on the Grey to Green phase 2 in the city centre where £727,183 was spent.

Another £577,505 was given to a ‘knowledge gateway’ transforming the corridor running along the Lower Sheaf to the Porter Valley.

A grant for Manor Lodge and Pipworth Rec drainage made up £306,919 of funding for the Manor Castle ward.

Multiple projects benefited in Ecclesall to the tune of £293,909 including Mercia School, Dobcroft School expansion, Millhouses playground, Bingham Park tennis courts, Bents Green pitch drainage, Ecclesall Woods improvements and Bannerdale Site improvements.

In East Ecclesfield £254,199 was spent on Colley Park and Chapeltown Park improvements.

In Gleadless Valley £192,055 was allocated including playground improvements and surfacing, new build council housing and older persons independent living.

The lack of correlation between income and spend means that some wards such as Stannington, which had the second highest number of developments agreed and generated income of £1,699,260, only received a share in play improvements funding which was split over 20 parks or recreation grounds.

In total there was more than £10,825m income received during that time period and £4,156m spent.

Earlier this year it was confirmed that there was a community chest of almost £12.3m unspent at Sheffield Council, some relating to funding agreements that stretched back more than five or ten years.

Officers said then that £7.6m was committed to projects but the rest hasn’t been earmarked for anything.

Sheffield Council said Section 106 legal agreements include clauses that dictate how income is used. Decisions to proceed with a project are formally taken by the Co-Operative Executive each month.

The S106 contribution may not always cover the whole cost of a project and it can take time to develop one that meets requirements.

Most clauses request the contribution to be spent in the vicinity of the development, but some contributions like affordable housing can be used elsewhere in the city

The £6m unspent funding is made up of different contributions.

Each contribution will have a covenant tied to it, usually stating what it has to be spent on.

The council says it can take time to spend as it has to be worked up into a project. Often spend isn’t applied till the end of a project and then at the end of the financial year.

For the full data detailing how much was spent in each Sheffield ward, and what it was spent on, see the print edition of this week’s Telegraph.