Creative sector to play vital role in Sheffield economic masterplan

Design and the creative industries will play a key role in the economic advancement of Sheffield, according to a masterplan launched this week by the city’s development agency, Creative Sheffield.

The masterplan contains a number of goals, including the creation of 30 000 jobs across the creative industries, e-learning and digital sectors, as well as financial services.

Creative Sheffield marketing director Brendan Moffett explains, ‘The headline goal is not just to create 30 000 jobs in Sheffield, but to increase the quality of jobs that provide a higher productivity to the economy. The CDI sector grew by 19 per cent last year and is high value in terms of the economy, so naturally it will be a key focus,’ he says.

The masterplan has also set out how a number of construction projects, including the £600m Sevenstone retail centre by developer Hammerson in the heart of the city and the creation of the 56 000m2 Electric Works digital complex (pictured), which opens in November, will meet the demand for office space among the CDI sector in Sheffield.

‘There is a genuine requirement for high-quality office spaces and this is something Sheffield is looking to address,’ Moffett adds. ‘We want Sheffield to have a mix of business professionals service market, with a high value location that is an alternative to the South East. It’s a good time for companies that are perhaps looking for savings in the face of the credit crunch.’

A swathe of UK architects are working on office and retail construction projects in the city, with the chance for design groups to get involved at a later stage, suggests Moffett.

The physical enhancement of the city will also centre on improved transport links between it and the established economic hubs of Leeds and Manchester, while street furniture and wayfinding projects are also underway.

City ID, Pearson Lloyd and Atelier are working on the Connect Sheffield project, which aims to improve wayfinding within the city.

The masterplan also sets out guidelines to maintain the momentum of innovation and design in the city, an area that Creative Sheffield claims can make use of the city’s heritage as a manufacturing base for the automotive, aerospace and medical industries.

The visual promotion of Sheffield is yet another key element of the masterplan. Moffett explains that the development agency is in the process of selecting a branding group from a five-way creative pitch to create an identity that will distinguish Sheffield’s ‘originality and heritage’.

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