Our city centre is changing.
It might not have happened rapidly, it definitely hasn’t, but it is gathering speed.
Once again we are looking at little pockets of wonder without anything pulling it together.
The Heart of the City project will be key to that and is finally moving forward. Then we have the enormous HSBC construction which is rising up on the edge of Charter Square.
Of course, The Moor has transformed and that will continue with big names in the shopping world opening their doors over the coming months. New Era is well into the second phase of building work and the university buildings which have breathed new life into Sheffield are too numerous to name.
All this has happened as the restaurant and bar scene has flourished on the outskirts of the city centre. It sounds great but there is a common link, not a positive one. That is literally, the links. Where are they and why are they so bad?
Imagine you are a visitor to Sheffield. You’ve enjoyed a meal on London or Ecclesall Road and fancy heading to the Gay Quarter. It is literally a couple of minutes walk, but not a nice one. It isn’t clear which way to head and you’ve got a huge road to negotiate, including rather grim underpasses. This city really needs to look at how people can flow in-between the best bits. That really is a problem. Once again we are looking at little pockets of wonder without anything pulling it together.
Subways are vitally important and there must be ways to make them into nice places, rather than somewhere you grit you teeth as you head through and hope you aren’t going to be mugged or asked for your small change. How about using the existing pathways under the Manpower Building?
The walk from the station into town, past the theatres and up to Division Street is wonderful. Visitors often comment on it. We must take the inspiration and extend it to make on city centre rather than a series of individual parts.