Sheffield is starting to see the results of a £5 million scheme to make the city centre more vibrant and successful.
Companies voted to establish a Business Improvement District in the city centre last year, and since then a series of measures have been introduced, using money raised by firms paying a levy on top of their business rates.
A six-week ‘spring clean’ to rid shops and offices of graffiti has just begun, paid for by the BID. Four teams will clean more than 60 sites, and business owners can request the services for free.
The clean-up will run alongside the planned annual deep clean of the city centre’s streets by Sheffield Council, which the BID also plans to further extend, beyond where it normally goes.
Meanwhile the Starflyer - a 220ft carousel ride - was brought to Fargate with support from the improvement district, anti-terrorism courses have been run for workers and there is an ambition to introduce free wi-fi internet access across the city centre.
A mobile app through which shoppers can recoup the cost of car parking is being piloted, and a city centre police officer - Sgt Matt Burdett - is being funded by levy payers, too.
The BID, led by a board made up of businesses, residents and other representatives, has also drawn up a list of ‘preferred suppliers’ which companies can consult, ranging from builders and painters to cleaners and IT experts.
Diane Jarvis, the district’s manager, said projects such as the crackdown on graffiti were an important part of Sheffield ‘showing its best side to visitors’.
“Cleaning up unwelcome graffiti makes a difference – it shows the city cares about how it looks – and it helps to make the city centre a better place for those who live and work within it,” she said.
The BID will generate £800,000 over five years, with an additional £200,000 coming from the council every year. Firms should email email@example.com for details of the clean-up.