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Agenda item

Transforming Cities Fund - Engagement and Delivery Challenges

Report of the Director of City Growth



The Committee received a report of the Director of City Growth, containing a summary of the current position with regard to the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF). 




Tom Finnegan-Smith (Head of Strategic Transport and Infrastructure) introduced the report, which set out information on the Sheffield-related component of the bid, details of how the proposal priorities had been determined, and set out a suggested way forward for Members, stakeholders and the wider City, to engage with, and make the most of, this opportunity.  Appended to the report was (a) the Transforming Cities Prospectus: Global Innovation Corridor – June 2018, produced by the Sheffield City Region (SCR), who were responsible for the submission of the bid and (b) a briefing paper on Transforming Cities Tranche 2, as at October 2019.




Members of the Committee raised questions, and the following responses were provided:-




·             The bid was based on low, medium and high-scale projects, with some being much more difficult to implement.  The priorities for Sheffield comprised projects relating to sustainable travel schemes from areas outside the City Centre, into the City Centre.  Work was currently being undertaken to scope out the different projects and try and find out which communities would make best use of such infrastructure. 




·             It was very difficult at this stage to make any predictions in terms of the level of funding Sheffield was expected to receive.  SCR had been in close discussion with the Department of Transport, and as part of such discussions, had sought advice on the range of funding being requested.  Whilst it could not be confirmed, it was expected that Sheffield’s share of the £215 million funding, which was currently the subject of the SCR bid to the Department of Transport, would be between £50 million and £85 million.  Confirmation of this was expected from the Government by March 2020.  Officers were not sure whether Sheffield’s share would be at the low or high end, but were concentrating on putting forward an effective, strategic business case. 




·             Whilst the split between SCR’s proposed projects represented 50% active travel-related and 50% public transport-related, Sheffield’s split was 60% to 40%, which was based on projects identified through early feasibility work.  Such projects, would be developed further over time. 




·             Whilst it would be ideal if support for all the proposed schemes was unanimous, including Member support, it was accepted that more detail on each of the proposed schemes may be needed.  It was important, therefore, that the specific design standards in respect of the schemes were met, and hopefully also met the proposals in the Council’s Transport Strategy.




·             The reference to the cycle routes being prioritised based on likely uptake of cycling by “ordinary people” was based on the desire to attract more people who didn’t usually cycle, in an attempt to reduce car usage.




·             The timescale for completion of the schemes, as set by the Government, was 2023, which represented a very short timescale, particularly with regard to those major schemes for which Sheffield was seeking investment for.  Such timescales therefore precluded any significant tram or train expansion plans.  Whilst such plans were included in the Council’s Transport Strategy, they represented significant financial investment.  The Authority had commenced discussions with SCR on the proposed expansion of the tram and/or train network in the region, which would hopefully result in a report on such proposals being submitted to SCR in the near future. 




·             It was accepted that there were problems with current bus services in the City, and concerns thereon had been forwarded to SCR, who were currently undertaking a review of bus services in the region.  In addition to the concerns raised with regard to the current state of bus services in the City, Councillor Bob Johnson (Cabinet Member for Transport and Development), at a recent Council meeting, had requested a review of such services.  Bus services represented a key element of the Council’s Transport Strategy, and it was deemed essential that the usage of buses and other forms of public transport, were increased.  The vast majority of the current bus network was commercial, thereby limiting what influence the Council had.  It was accepted that the public needed to have confidence in their bus services.




·             Whilst one of the proposed schemes related to the improvement and provision of more sustainable travel options to Doncaster/Sheffield Airport, it was not envisaged that such proposals would result in an increase in the number of flights. The aim of the bid was to provide such sustainable travel options in order to reduce car usage. 




RESOLVED: That the Committee:-




(a)      notes the contents of the report now submitted, together with the comments now made and the responses to the questions raised;




(b)      thanks Tom Finnegan-Smith for attending the meeting and responding to the questions raised; and




(c)      welcomes the bid being made to the Department of Transport, as well as the work being undertaken by officers, in liaison with the Sheffield City Region in connection with the bid.




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