Sheffield City Region is one of 10 areas in the UK to be shortlisted for a share of Government money to transform the way people travel.
The Prime Minister announced that the city region’s bid to the £1.7bn Transforming Cities Fund is one of those selected to go through to the next stage.
The bid was submitted by Dan Jarvis, mayor of the Sheffield City Region, and has the support of all four local authorities in South Yorkshire, as well as the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said: “I welcome this announcement from the Government, which reflects the strength of our bid to the Transforming Cities Fund.
“It is critical that we improve the transport system in our region, to create better access to major employment sites, reduce congestion and better integrate different modes of transport.
“Our proposal to develop a Global Innovation Corridor which connects residents and businesses to our internationally-significant assets will help to achieve that, and grow our economy.
“I now look forward to working with the Department for Transport as we develop our detailed plans.”
If successful, the cash will allow Mayor Jarvis to drive forward the Global Innovation Corridor, connecting people, businesses and ideas, and linking together key sites such as Sheffield city centre, the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District, Doncaster Sheffield Airport and Barnsley’s Digital Campus.
This would catalyse economic growth in the region, adding £21bn to the national economy by 2040, and creating a city region characterised by global excellence in advanced manufacturing and engineering; superb national and international connectivity; thriving urban centres and well-connected communities.
Sheffield City Region’s Transforming Cities Fund bid focused on three “corridors”, which together have the potential to unlock new employment sites, better connect residents to those employment sites and increase the flow of people, businesses and ideas These areas are the River Don corridor between Sheffield city centre and the Unity site north of Doncaster; the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) on the border of Sheffield and Rotherham, and the Dearne Valley Corridor, spanning Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster and including key employment sites such as the Barnsley Digital Campus and M1 Junction 36.
The funding would pay for transformational transport changes in these areas, including bus priority improvements, enabling active travel, providing transport hubs, introducing smart ticketing, new park and ride sites, and much more. This would lead to quicker journey times, reduced congestion, improved punctuality and reliability, and benefits associated with active travel, such as improved health and wellbeing.
Councillor Roy Miller, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place at Barnsley Council, said: “This is great news for Barnsley. It supports our drive to invest in, and regenerate our borough to create a thriving and vibrant economy.
“It’s essential that we work to improve the key connectivity corridors for our residents and businesses. The Barnsley element of the Transforming Cities Fund will help us to further the work that we’ve already done along the A61 Corridor and the Dearne Valley Corridor.”
Rotherham Council Leader, Councillor Chris Read, said: “Rotherham’s ambition is to create the right conditions for growth and regeneration.
“As Yorkshire’s fastest growing-city economy, and UK’s tenth fastest growing economy, we are working closely with our neighbours to ensure a strong transport, digital and environmental infrastructure supports further economic growth for the region.”
Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport and Development at Sheffield City Council, said: “This announcement is excellent news for Sheffield and South Yorkshire. This project has the potential to radically improve transport in our communities, with cleaner air and more reliable public transport for all of Sheffield.
“We are really excited about the next stage and the way it will help us to build a strong economy that works for everyone.”
Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director – Policy and Representation Richard Wright said: “I welcome the announcement but do need to point out that we would have been on the first list of regions where money was allocated if we had done our devolution deal earlier. We are now in a competitive bidding situation with other regions which is extremely frustrating.
“Let’s hope we can bid for and use this money on local transport schemes which both protect what we have and add to them to drive more sustainable and environmentally friendly transport schemes across the region. The refurbishment and extension of Supertram must be a priority. It both relieves congestion and improves the environment. ”
The next stage will be for Sheffield City Region to submit a full business case to Government by next summer, along with local authorities in Derby & Nottingham, Leicester City, the North East, Norwich, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent and West Yorkshire.
The ten shortlisted city regions will each receive an initial £50,000 as well as bespoke support from government to co-develop the strongest cases for investment. Once finalised, funding decisions will consider the relative strength of each bid and their impact on improving connectivity, supporting employment and driving up productivity.