City regions shortlisted for Transforming Cities Fund

Sheffield City Region’s bid for a share of the government’s £1.7billion Transforming Cities Fund has moved a step closer following an announcement that it has been shortlisted along with nine other city regions. The Sheffield bid, led by mayor Dan Jarvis is backed by all four local authorities in South Yorkshire, as well as the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.

“I welcome this announcement from the government, which reflects the strength of our bid to the Transforming Cities Fund,” says Jarvis. “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.”

Sheffield’s plans include bus priority improvements and active travel promotion, improved transport hubs and smart ticketing, based on three corridors: the River Don corridor between Sheffield city centre and the Unity site north of Doncaster; the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District on the border of Sheffield and Rotherham; and the Dearne Valley Corridor, spanning Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster and including employment sites such as the Barnsley Digital Campus and M1 Junction 36.

The plan’s backers say it would generate economic growth in the region, adding £21billion to the national economy by 2040.

In total, ten city regions have been shortlisted and will each receive an initial £50,000 investment to develop their plans further. The shortlist comprises: Derby & Nottingham, Leicester City, the North East, Norwich, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Sheffield, Stoke-on-Trent and West Yorkshire.

The announcement, made by the prime minister this week, is a further stage in the Transforming Cities Fund process with previous award winners already progressing plans, including the Brierley Hill tram lines extension in the West Midlands.

Meanwhile, Southampton bus operator Bluestar has welcomed the successful shortlisting for its home city.

“The prospect of additional investment in priority measures to help sustain a successful and growing bus network is very encouraging,” says Andrew Wickham, Bluestar managing director. “We are keen to work with key partners here in Southampton to deliver innovative new sustainable travel options. This might mean re-allocating road space – away from private cars – for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.”