Spreading the Word...

We now have a Facebook page to develop a community of people both interested  - and, we hope - supportive of our aims. Please join us and and spread the word and invite your friends to like and share...

Find us at Sheffield: Towards Appropriate Redevelopment of the City Centre. It's a clunky title, we know. But we are not looking to sound like a strident anti-development group, more to explore different options working towards a solution that we think would suit Sheffield better.

From our opening post:   

We are here to generate greater public awareness and debate about the proposed redevelopment of Sheffield city centre for a "new retail quarter". The project raises concerns at many levels, including heritage, design and ownership; indeed, its purpose: why is it needed, who is it for? If carried out it will determine the character of Sheffield for ever. There are different options. There is still time to explore them, promote them, and create change... 

But first, the background: most people agree that there is a widespread desire to see development and renewal in parts of the city centre and the Council have put together a comprehensive scheme to answer this. It envisages the demolition of the John Lewis building and most of Cambridge Street and the retention only of facades on the older buildings along much of Pinstone Street. Replacement buildings are on a large scale and mostly for retail (including restaurants), with some provision of apartments and offices. At the lower end of the area the Grosvenor Hotel is planned to be replaced with a landmark office building, which is hoped to attract a major international corporate tenant.

These plans are far advanced and SCC are now engaged in some tricky negotiations with possible developers - and occupants. To realise their concept they have brought in outside consultants and retail experts to tell them how to do it, and have always had the policy to go for a single top-down solution: very large retail units clustered into a critical mass around a couple of anchor points, all as part of one scheme, owned and run accordingly - one developer, one operator. It is ambitious, and the Council believe that it can only be delivered in a single, instant fix. They are hoping to have phase 1 completed by 2019, the rest by 2021. 

To date the public have been given the opportunity to view and express opinions on the plans, in a short consultation in June this year, but remarkably few people have become engaged in discussion about it. 

It is not too late to become involved. To ask the questions: Who will own it? Will it really bring economic benefit? How might it work if instead of the “one-pot” solution the city adopted an alternative path, based on working with local architects, developers and business and community groups, using smaller scale finance in a plot-by plot approach? Might it be better to have numerous separate interests working towards the same much-desired goal of an improved city centre, than to have a single entity dominating our property horizon for foreseeable time?

We are setting up a new consultation process and getting many more people involved this time. We are looking at other options, to work towards a more attractive, sustainable, resilient and lived-in city: a real Sheffield.

This is a big subject and this page is not the place to go into all the possibilities. A website is being built to go into more detail.

Meanwhile please like and share this page; and post: have your say around this significant turning-point in Sheffield’s future...