Vision calls for ‘new type of leadership’

Richard Wright, of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce at the HS2 Summit. Picture: Andrew Roe
Richard Wright, of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce at the HS2 Summit. Picture: Andrew Roe

The launch of the new city region vision threw up a discussion about the kind of leadership needed for a devolved economy.

An election for the first city region mayor, due to take place in May, has been postponed after a legal ruling before Christmas that Chesterfield residents had not been properly consulted on the town’s inclusion in the devolution agreement.

Heated debate over the location of Sheffield’s HS2 station has also coloured perception of the devolution deal, with concerns from Mexborough politicians over the potential demolition of homes.

At last week’s launch event, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce executive director Richard Wright was full of support for the idea of a collaborative vision, and suggested the city region could become ‘self sustainable’ in 25 years.

But, with Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore and other politicians in the room, he added: “This is going to need a completely different type of leadership going forward.”

Responding, one of the vision’s authors Kevin Murray said it was important to have input from people of different backgrounds and levels of experience.

“Often that leads to a more healthy and collaborative community,” he added.

“It’s not a top down style.”

And Professor Sir Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “We don’t see this as replacing the leadership at all.

“We see this as giving the context for local politicians to do more.”

Coun Dore welcomed the vision and the collaborative approach for which it calls.

“This is a style of working which is urgently needed in the Region and to which I am entirely committed,” she said.