When I grew up in Sheffield, the city was in the midst of its boom years. Steel was king, employing 90,000 people, and forging in the city a vibrant culture of work hard, play hard. It was an exciting time for a community with a strong sense of belonging.
Much has changed since then, with the collapse of industry changing the very fabric of Sheffield – I’m sure you’ve all seen The Full Monty. But, after the decline of the steel industry, the city is on the rise again.
It was an honour to see this regeneration in the flesh in late 2022 when I visited as part of a Legal & General delegation to see our purpose of Inclusive Capitalism in action. We have partnered with developer Urbo and Sheffield City Council to help regenerate the city and, in doing so, support the UK’s growth prospects, jobs, and housing needs.
The site – Sheffield West Bar – is a £300m mixed-use scheme, making it the single largest private investment in Sheffield city centre, and once completed, it is expected to create up to 8,000 new jobs. To date, Legal & General has committed £160m of forward funding and the project is scheduled for completion in 2024.
A combination of office, retail and leisure space and housing, the West Bar development is a fantastic example of Inclusive Capitalism and how we use the power of pensions to drive forward positive change across the UK. The site was previously derelict and will soon be an exciting part of the city’s future, effectively knitting the northern industrial quarter back into the city centre.
Sheffield exemplifies our approach to investing in cities, towns, and communities across the UK: it is about using long-term ‘patient capital’ to drive urban regeneration, but it is also about working with local people, businesses and authorities to ensure that what we create has a positive impact.
I am incredibly proud of the work we do in championing urban regeneration around the UK, from Cardiff to Leeds and Manchester to Newcastle and many other cities. In these areas we are connecting the pensions savings of older generations to investments that will improve the prospects of generations to come. And to see it in Sheffield, given my personal connection, felt particularly special.
Forever a Northerner at heart, I have very fond memories of growing up in the city– and it was a hugely enjoyable trip, not least because I was able to share my sense of nostalgia with fellow Sheffielder, Natalie Bentley, LGRI Global Business Manager. Together, we reminisced about the city of our youth and pored over the renderings and plans of the West Bar development, imagining what it will look like brought to life.
Trips like these – visiting our investment sites – are a brilliant reminder of why we stay true to our purpose and how our work can have a wide-reaching impact on people’s lives while building a brighter future for the greater good.
We’ve already invested more than £33 billion across the UK and hopefully this is just the beginning of connecting the power of pensions to the real economy to make an active difference in peoples’ lives.