Sheffield MP’s ‘twilight economy’ call

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Sheffield needs to strengthen its ‘twilight economy’ - as well as pressing ahead with the development of its New Retail Quarter - in order to compete more effectively with other big cities, an MP has said.

A public consultation will be launched soon over the council’s prospectus for the long-delayed quarter, which has been redesigned into an open-air scheme promising a blend of independent shops and big-name brands.

But Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield said the plans needed to be ‘part of a larger mix’.

“There’s still some thinking to do about what the shape of it might be,” he said.

“Maybe the pause has given us an opportunity to reenvision what the city centre might look like, getting the mix right between retail and leisure, which is increasingly important.”

Mr Blomfield added: “There is a reasonably good daytime economy in the city centre, and sorting out the New Retail Quarter is part of that, and we have a fairly buoyant night-time economy too, but we need to look at what I would describe as the ‘twilight economy’ - the way in which the city remains lively as it transitions from somewhere where people work, to somewhere where they enjoy themselves.

“Some other cities have been more successful at this than we have. The city centre has to be more than just young people clubbing and pubbing.”

Tapping into the city’s cultural scene, and offering more independent restaurants were a part of this, he said.

“We’ve got two brilliant theatres, which I would argue is the strongest theatre offer outside of London. A lot of our cultural offer is very strong - the Showroom cinema, galleries - but we just need to join them up a bit better.”