Sheffield park cafe proposals spark backlash as campaign launched to "save our space"

More than 100 people have joined a group to highlight concerns over a new cafe in a Sheffield park as consultation on the plan ends this week.

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 9:47 pm

The proposed café and activity hub would be at the site of the recently demolished ranger’s hut in the park which connects Endcliffe Park and Forge Dam in the Porter Valley.

Linda Henderson, 72, has lived on Oakbrook Road for 33 years and walks her dog in the park every day. She said: “Let us keep this a wildlife space and a place where families and other walkers can enjoy a peaceful area to reflect.”

The ‘Save our Space Bingham Park’ Facebook group’s concerns include the effect on local businesses, the loss of free open green space, lack of space for increased footfall, increased carbon footprint and parking and traffic difficulties.

There is concern about the affect a new cafe will have on local businesses.

Motore Café currently operates on the site as a mobile concession and is owned by Neil Midgley, who said he was always aware the presence of his business in the park was short-term and thought the council had handled it “in a really fair way”.

Lucy Ashton, 49, of Oakbrook Road, has lived by the park all her life and said: “It’s completely overdeveloping an area that just doesn’t need it.

“There are three existing cafés on the neighbouring Oakbrook Road.

She also expressed concern at the apparent certainty of the plans, and said: “It seems like it is at a point where there is going to be a café, and the question is what would you like it to be.”

But Jo Pearce, service manager of the council’s Business and Partnerships team which oversees the Better Parks initiative, assured this was just the first step and said: “There are perceptions that this is a done deal but it’s very much not.”

She said the consultation was based on broader research from the Outdoor City Strategy that showed people wanted a “brew, loo, and something to do” from parks, but the consultation feedback will be used to see what is appropriate for this specific space, and this was only the first step.

She added: “We really genuinely want to listen to what people have got to say.”

Campaigners and the Better Parks team have urged people in the area to respond to the proposals.

The consultation ends on November 19.

Have your say here or by contacting the Better Parks initiative on 0114 250 0500 or [email protected]