Exclusive: South Yorkshire bus cuts threaten to delay £50m project
Plus, buy a bakery for £120,000
Hello again readers — welcome to this week’s Tribune briefing. We hope you haven’t missed us too much while we’ve been absent from your inboxes! If it’s any consolation, we’ve been thinking about the collective you a lot and working on some pieces we hope you’ll find really interesting.
Today, we’re on the buses. This morning, South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard launched his “fight for a fair bus deal”, calling on the government to come good on the “London-style transport network” Boris Johnson promised us in 2019. But today The Tribune can reveal just what our region’s woefully underfunded public transport system could be costing us in terms of investment and jobs.
Also in this briefing, support for the Lionesses, a long-neglected bakery for sale, and flower picking at Regather Farm.
After our brief holiday we’re back to our usual publishing schedule this week and will be sending out two stories to our 1,537 paying members. The first will include an important piece about the growing problem of cat neglect. And the second will delve into one of the biggest stories in Sheffield over the last year: containergate. To help fund a new way of doing journalism in Sheffield based on subscriptions rather than clickbait and celebrities, please subscribe using the button below. It costs £1.34 a week if you pay for 12 months up front (23p a day).
Editor’s note: Because we set The Tribune up in July 2021, every summer we go through a period of getting lots of billing failures. This is usually when members have changed their cards and haven’t updated it on our system yet. If this has happened to you it may be that you don’t want to resubscribe — which is fine. But if you’ve been hearing from us a bit less than usual then this could be why. To update your details or resubscribe click on this link.
Win prizes: As you may have seen, our exciting new referral scheme named its first winner last week. Pedro Fuentes successfully referred five people and won himself a month’s free membership. Readers who refer 10 people will get a Tribune-branded tote bag and super-referrers who get 20 people to sign up will get coffee and cake on us. There is also a live leaderboard so you can check how many you have and how close you are to winning a prize. Get sharing!
The big picture: Cheering on the Lionesses 🦁
An amazing 3,000 supporters came to Devonshire Green to watch the Lionesses play Spain in the Women’s World Cup final on Sunday. The numbers were probably swelled by the two players from Sheffield who were in the England squad — Ellie Roebuck and Esme Morgan — as well as local women Millie Bright from Killamarsh and Beth England from Barnsley. Despite the disappointing result, Sheffield City Council on Twitter wrote: “We are so proud of our Lionesses. What a fantastic World Cup journey you are truly inspirational.”
This week’s weather 🌦
Our forecast comes from dedicated Sheffield weather service Steel City Skies, who say the week will start fairly sunny but with a gradually increasing risk of showery rain as it progresses.
Monday ⛅️ Like the weekend just gone, there's a risk of scattered showers but with plenty of dry and sunny intervals to enjoy. Breezy from the SW with highs of a warm 24°C.
Tuesday ⛅️ Very similar once more, with sunny spells and the risk of an isolated shower. Still breezy from the west and southwest, with highs of 23°C.
Wednesday 🌥 Largely dry once more — we'll be unlucky to cop a shower — though slightly cooler as our warm air mass recedes. Highs of 22°C.
Thursday ☁️ Increasing cloud cover, though bright spells will occur. The risk of showers or longer spells of rain from the west increases later. Highs of 20°C.
Friday 💦 Winds aligning to the northwest by the end of the week, with the odd brighter spell but on the whole rather unsettled with showery rain. Highs of just 19°C.
Outlook: A shallow trough over the UK looks set to provide a changeable and cooler Bank Holiday weekend, with some bright spells but also the ever-present risk of showers.
Exclusive: South Yorkshire bus cuts threaten to delay £50m project
Top line: A huge new high-tech factory in Sheffield that has the potential to create hundreds of highly-paid manufacturing jobs could be delayed because of continuing cuts to our bus system.
Background: Last month, the University of Sheffield announced plans to build a new factory at their Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Tinsley. The £50 million COMPASS facility (which stands for Composites at Speed and Scale), is an extension to Factory 2050, a futuristic facility which opened at the AMRC in 2016.
The cost of the factory is being met by South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, Sheffield City Council, the University of Sheffield and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.
It will also be home to a raft of state-of-the-art equipment secured through a £29.5m grant from the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), an organisation that is researching zero-carbon aviation.
Fundamentally flawed: Planning permission for the new facility was lodged with Sheffield City Council in June, but Rotherham Borough Council say they could not support the plan in its current form. They say that given the current level of public transport provision to the site, the plan would cause too much traffic at their end of the Parkway and near junction 33 of the M1. This could, they added, adversely affect the strategic road network. They continue:
The travel plan accompanying the application is fundamentally flawed in that it quotes a level of bus service provision that is many years out of date. The current level of public transport available is very restricted, both in terms of areas served and the frequency and times of operation.
Sustainable travel: In a statement released to The Tribune, a spokesperson for the university said the travel plan had not taken into account the removal of the A1 bus, which Cawthornes Travel withdrew last month. However, they added that it was not expected that the extension to Factory 2050 will lead to significantly more car travel in the area, and that the university was “committed to sustainable travel and we continue to work with regional partners to seek solutions to the reduction of bus services around the Sheffield/Rotherham border”.
London-style network: At Sheffield Hallam University this morning, South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard launched what he is calling his “fight for a fair bus deal”. He said that 42% of the region’s bus services had been cut due to government funding in the last 10 years and that the “London-style transport network” former Prime Minister Boris Johnson had promised us in 2019 was now further away than ever.
As well as the event at Sheffield Hallam, further events will take place in Penistone, Rotherham and Doncaster later this week, as well as more in October and November.
Residents are also being encouraged to tell the mayor’s team about their experiences of public transport in the region. To take part, fill in the form on the SYMCA website.
Growth ambitions: At the launch, Mr Coppard said the SYMCA was working with Rotherham Council to find a solution to the problem. However, he added that when Jeremy Hunt announced the COMPASS facility in July, he told him that the “world-leading” AMRC was a “huge growth area” for the region and needed to be supported by much better public transport. “We need a public transport system that can support those growth ambitions,” he told The Tribune.
Our take: It’s no coincidence that the COMPASS announcement came at the same time as South Yorkshire was named the UK’s first investment zone — both are key to securing our region’s reputation as a hub for advanced manufacturing. While it’s clearly something of an embarrassment for the AMRC that their plan has run into trouble so quickly, are they really to blame? There is little point in the government giving us money for state-of-the-art factories if people can’t get to them. It’s difficult to imagine a better example of the way South Yorkshire’s woeful public transport system is holding our region back.
Tribune tips: If you want to tell us about a story or give us some information, please email email@example.com. We are always happy to speak to people off the record in the first instance, and we will treat your information with confidence and sensitivity.
Help us out: We’re working on a story about the short-lived Fargate containers, inspired by their possible new lease of life as spaces for community groups. We’d love to hear from anyone who visited the containers when they first appeared, had a business in one, has applied to re-use them or even just anyone with thoughts on this topic! Get in touch with Victoria at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our media picks 🎧
Natural Leader? 🌿 Regular Tribune contributor David Bocking has interviewed Sheffield City Council’s new leader Tom Hunt for his own newsletter, in order to grill him on his plans for “walking, wild spaces and wild animals”. Tom is keen to stress his green credentials: he comes from a family of birdwatchers, although he doesn’t partake himself, and he walks everywhere. He also says Sheffield Council must “be a leader” on climate change which “is no longer a debating point.”
South Yorkshire Police apology over historical homophobic failings 🏳️🌈 South Yorkshire Police has a slightly chequered history with the city’s LGBT community, as we touched on in our piece about Sheffield’s alternative Pride celebrations. As reported by the BBC, the force’s chief constable has sent a written apology to LGBT youth charity SAYiT, which concedes that “the policing approach in the 1980s, early 1990s, and perhaps more recently” has caused “untold harm” to many in the community. She added: "I want you to know I am committed to earning your trust and confidence back in policing."
How the Scouts survived the Korean jamboree 🏕️ The Times reports on the mayhem of the 25th annual Scouts jamboree in South Korea, which was crippled by a heatwave, a looming typhoon and a Covid outbreak. Eventually, all British Scouts were evacuated from the campsite to hotels in Seoul. Almost a dozen Scouts attended from Sheffield, if you’re one of their parents or guardians then I’d love to speak to you — email email@example.com to get in touch.
Property of the week 🏚️
The building that was once Charlton’s Bakery on Chesterfield Road — but has been empty for over a decade — is up for action on 14th September, with a guide price of £120,000. It’s a five-storey building with the potential for commercial or residential use “subject to necessary consents”. It’s also “in need of improvement,” although this is maybe a slight understatement, given passers-by recall seeing a tree growing inside in previous years. You can see chunks of wood from where this tree has been cut down in one of the photos from inside.
Things to do 📆
Documentary 🎥 Head to Theatre Deli this week, starting from today, to learn more about the world’s only language exclusively spoken by women. Nüshu, also known as women’s script, used to circulate in some regions of China and is the subject of a documentary filmed by Yulu Chen. You can watch an abridged version at 11am, 1pm and 3pm Monday to Thursday or enjoy a full documentary screening on Friday and Saturday at 2pm.
Flowers 🌼 Live your cottage-core dreams on Wednesday evening and “enjoy the summer abundance” at Regather Farm with an hour and a half of flower picking. For £27.80 per ticket, you’ll get to pick a bucket of flowers — enough to make two large bouquets or several smaller ones. You’ll be guided on cutting, selecting and conditioning flowers and, if you want to bring a friend, you can share a bucket for an additional fiver. The event will take place from 6pm-7.30pm.
Film 🍿 Starting on Thursday night, Kenwood Hall Hotel in Nether Edge will host The Village Screen, a pop-up outdoor cinema showing classic movies under the stars. Every audience member will receive a set of headphones — to avoid disturbing the neighbours — and the event will also include a silent disco. Films include Grease, Dirty Dancing, Moulin Rouge and La La Land. The movies start at 8.45pm (although doors close at 8.30pm) and adult tickets are £16.