Kane Yeardley, owner of the Forum, Common Room and Old House bars and cafes
After 4pm, the people who work and have money to spend go shopping to Meadowhall, even if it’s out of their way. They often stay, eat and go to the cinema. They know that the majority of shops in the city centre close by 6pm. People from the suburbs bypass the city centre for Meadowhall because the parking is free and they are fed up with nipping into Sheffield and getting a ticket. The council is getting a lot of revenue from parking and tickets, but they are missing out on the trade in the city. Parking in the city centre should be free after 5pm to encourage a mentality of ‘I’ll just nip into town to shop or eat’. Shops should stay open until 8.30pm. Restaurants and bars should all look to do an after work drinks and food offer – so it’s cheaper to eat and drink than Meadowhall. Central government should finance a business rates discount for shops that stay open until 8.30pm to help them with the cost of staffing - for 18 months until trade picks up. We do after work deals on drinks between 5pm and 9pm – in the Forum, Common Room and Old House.
Nick Taylor, owner of Taylor Taylor hair salons
It’s in a bit of a state at the moment, and it’s desperate from 8.30am to 12. There is nobody about. They have got to try to encourage people to come into the city centre in the morning. Traders are only trading for only half a day. There is more parking than ever, but it is too expensive. We need cheaper parking, especially when it is quiet. The lack of retail is horrendous. If you go to Meadowhall there must be 30 to 40 retailers who aren’t in the city centre. We are crying out for a retail quarter. I went to Leeds and they have got a new shopping centre. Why hasn’t it happened in Sheffield?
Peter Bradley, Dean of Sheffield Cathedral
We need even more quirky, individual, shops in the city centre. I enjoy shopping on Abbeydale Road and London Road - there’s always something new to see, and the city centre needs to be like this too. There are already some shops like this such as the Sheffield Shop, the Ice House on Campo Lane and the wonderful Tamper coffee shop in Westfield Terrace, but we need more. Then, we need to make the city more friendly for tourists and other visitors. Even people who have lived in Sheffield all their lives have often not discovered all that there is to enjoy in hidden places such as St Matthew’s Carver Street or the constantly changing exhibitions in the Site Gallery, S1 and the other art spaces. How can we sell our city to visitors…and to ourselves?
Green councillor for the Central ward, Jillian Creasy
Whatever happens to the economy in the future, more and more shopping will be done online. The food market on the Moor and small independent outlets selling speciality goods and services will thrive, but the main growth should be in housing and entertainment. Let’s expand the amount and mix of city centre housing and foster a 5pm–9pm scene as well as the current 9pm–5am “vertical drinking”, to complement theatre, concerts and cinema. And let’s have more public spaces including greenery and trees, which combat pollution and the urban heat island. People can enjoy the city centre without having to buy consumer durables.
Oliver Dempsey, Snig Hill Gallery
Sheffield city centre is a micro-version of a city centre. Its size belies the fact we are still in the top five. This isn’t to be ashamed of or derided. We shouldn’t look for a well ordered cohesive alternative where one new bit of development seamlessly becomes another. The best cities in the world are made up of a collection of centres offering different delights and entertainment. We have a ton of great restaurants around London Road, a large white collar centre at Snig Hill, riverside and the canal basin, boutique shopping at division street and Ecclesall Road, High Street brands throughout Fargate and The Moor. Wouldn’t it be a more fascinating city with a Central Business District, a restaurant quarter, a market square ...? Perhaps it’s investment in the connecting bits that matters - to lead us through our great city. The component parts are already there.
Businessman David Slater
If Sevenstone is going to happen, Sheffielders should embrace the development and the investment. It could have been less ambitious yet more successful. It’s ‘yes’ to Sevenstone - but now! City centre strategy should be based on lifestyle and include retail and commerce as part of the mix. Does the 21st century need big department stores? The public domain needs expanding, with more green space and attractions and less concrete and glass. A Castlegate visitor attraction is a must. Sheffield can build on its heritage as well as promoting Sevenstone. More visitors mean more shoppers. I do not support demolition of classic buildings - the best street in Sheffield is the Georgian Norfolk Row. A fresh approach is needed to marketing Sheffield, including how to link Sheffield’s assets and attractions and incorporating Meadowhall.
Castle market trader Ian Bingham
Providing free parking for shoppers would make a drastic difference. Parking is the main thing for people coming into the city centre, especially when they are buying something big and they want to park the car bang outside. People feel they are not paying for car parking at Meadowhall, although they are. They don’t want to feel that they are getting ripped off. When we move to The Moor, we’ll have more car parking than we have now. There is a 650 space multi-storey car park next door. It belongs to Scottish Widows and we were hoping to get cheap short stay parking for customers. We always wanted our own free car park, but we haven’t got that.
Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield
The city centre was transformed under the last Labour government. Public funding, including substantial European grants, encouraged private investment. Shops, restaurants, bars, hotels, offices and flats flourished as the city centre became a thriving place to live, work, and play. The world financial crash of 2008 may have thrown us off course, but there’s still a positive future. The development of The Moor and new markets, with a focus on local food, will be a big boost. Retail remains a key part of the city centre mix and we need to progress Sevenstone. But alongside a stronger presence from the big chains, we need more small and local independents. The city centre’s distinctive offer is about great places where people come together for entertainment, food, culture, work, living and retail – and as citizens, not just consumers. We see it at Tramlines, packed continental markets, wedding parties outside the Town Hall or families and office staff enjoying the sun in the Peace Gardens. At its best, the city centre can beat Meadowhall and online shopping every time.
Peter Sephton, Sheffield City Centre Residents Action Group
We are concerned that Hammerson has delivered their development in Leeds, but failed to make any apparent progress in Sheffield. The city centre, along with most other parts of the country, has suffered seriously from the economic downtown. Too many of the central premises are being taken over by pawnbrokers and betting shops and this is starting to change the character of the shopping experience. A strategy is needed to help the city centre regain the retail mix that makes our shopping centre an attractive place to visit. We hope the council’s City Centre Management Plan will address some of these issues. When it’s finished, The Moor will add a great asset to the central area, but we have to realise that the centre has to offer competition to Meadowhall. It has to provide something different. If the John Lewis development can’t go ahead, SCCRAG has been pressing for more than a year for other options to be considered and one that we suggested was IKEA. A complete review should be undertaken with the aim of providing something that will attract people into the central area, such as incorporating green space, low-rent premises that can attract local business, a playground for little ones, a covered space for mums to watch over them, creating a village green atmosphere and keeping down rental costs to get interesting uses of shops.
Blue Moon cafe owner Nick Dunhill
Landlords could lower their expectations a bit and reduce rents, which would encourage a few more independent people into the city centre. At the moment, the city centre is full of multiples. You can’t always cast the landlords as villains, though. They have their own financial requirements to meet. But it does seem that Sheffield is just a carbon copy of other big city centres throughout the country. I think the council have done their bit by reducing some car parking charges, but it would help if they made it free on Saturday in line with Meadowhall. That’s where Meadowhall has the edge.
Kelham Island Tavern owner Trevor Wraith
Sheffield city centre is my favourite city centre because of the way it is laid out, with open spaces like the Peace Gardens, Barkers Pool and Fargate. It’s not claustrophobic like Leeds or Manchester. But many shops are like those in any high street. I’m an independent business, and I’d like to see more small, independent shops. But people have to use them for them to survive. They don’t have the buying power of the big chains, and they have to compete with places like Meadowhall, the Parkway Asda and the new Tesco off the Wicker. I’d like the council to consider giving the smaller in dependant shops favourable rating levels.