Concept drawing for how the new neighbourhoods planned for Sheffield could look. Credit: Sheffield City Council

Josephs hopes for end of ‘constant pitching’ after election

Kate Josephs, chief executive of Sheffield City Council, called on the next government to stop pitting places against each other in bidding for small pots of money.

“There’s not a single person in any sort of leadership role in local government who isn’t on the record as saying the constant bidding for small pots is wasteful,” Josephs told Place Yorkshire. “It’s inefficient, and it actually pits places against each other in a way that is really not conducive to the kind of joint working we need to drive our UK economy forward.

“Sheffield’s done pretty well out of all those funding pots by the way. The reason we’ve done well is because we’ve got a plan and we’ve got a great team and so we’ve been able to bring forward deliverable projects, innovative projects that have attracted funding.”

Kate Josephs said developers were attracted to the city by a firm line on high standards. Credit: Sheffield City Council

Josephs pointed to Sheffield winning £67m of Levelling Up Fund cash in March, to create two new neighbourhoods, in Furnace Hill and Neepsend. LUF rounds invite boroughs across England to compete for funds, and winners typically have two years to spend the cash, limiting the scope of projects that qualify.

“Government money is catalytic. We need government investment in places like Sheffield, where there are viability challenges where you’re redeveloping brownfield land.”

Many council chiefs and directors have called for longer-term strategic investment programmes for economic regeneration rather than one-off contests with smaller amounts of money and short-term spending deadlines.

A relatively small amount of public support can lever in larger amounts of private investment, added Josephs, who has been chief executive of Sheffield since January 2021.

Sheffield has become known for attracting high quality developers to deliver attractive projects such as Queensberry at Heart of the City, Citu in Kelham Island and Urban Splash at Cole Brothers.

She said the secret to maintaining this calibre of projects in the future was “strong and clear-headed leadership about what matters to our communities and what matters to our city.”

Projects must maintain the strong character of the place and developers know they have to meet “a standard that is achievable and exciting.”

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