This is why 2019 is important to the regeneration of Sheffield city centre

As the redevelopment of Sheffield continues, we ask those in the know how important 2019 will be for the city centre.

Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 12:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th January 2019, 14:32 pm
Amanda Phillips, centre manager of The Moor.

Richard Wright, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce director of policy and representation

Like it or not, Sheffield is the heart of our region and its success is critical if we are going to prosper and compete in this international economy.

Peter Sephton, chairman of Sheffield City Centre Residents Action Group.

A successful economy is much more than just business. It's about our universities attracting the right research monies and students here, it's about visitors coming here to spend time and money, and it's about the existing population investing their own resources here because they have decided they want to live here and raise families and educate their children here.

Getting the Heart of the City development right and maintaining its build momentum through the uncertainties of 2019 is critical.

City centres set the tone of a city and they need to be relevant to the next 50/100 years, not a legacy of the last 50/100.

Sheffield is fortunate to be building Heart of the City now and not looking at something that was specified and built over the last 10 years.

Coun Mazher Iqbal, Sheffield Council's cabinet member for business and investment.

It gives us the opportunity to develop something that links to the greater strategy for the city and to send a message to the world about what we are. 

The city council has been very brave in taking on the development role themselves but it does allow us to take the longer term view and not seek the usual shorter term return on investment. It does, however, mean they have accepted an enormous responsibility. 

The initial signs are good - phase one is now well advanced and phase two announced.

The mixed use and flexible development seems much more relevant to the future.

Richard Wright, of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce.

There has been an attempt to keep some of the best bits of the past but add modern things that compliment them.

I personally would like to see a few more 'destination' experiences that attract people from further afield. I know we will never have a Jorvik centre but what is Sheffield's equivalent?

Give people a real reason to come and have a good day out and spend money whilst they are here.

The city centre does not achieve in isolation though.

Other developments like Parkwood, Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District, the railway station, Castlegate, the digital district and Kelham Island add to the mix but the stuff that binds them together is the city centre.

It makes us into a city.

Yes '“ 2019 is very important.

Amanda Phillips, The Moor centre manager

2019 is an important year for Sheffield city centre. 

Regeneration takes time and a lot of planning. I have been centre manager for The Moor since April 2017 and came in at an exciting time '“ much of the planning had been done, projects were well underway, and phase two of the redevelopment was being completed. Primark had opened in October 2016, and The Light Cinema, Pizza Express, GBK and Zizzi opened as I arrived.    

Aberdeen Standard Investment have been redeveloping the Moor for 10 years. Before Sheffield, I was in Norwich and London's Covent Garden, so I have experienced very different retail environments. Regeneration is not all about retail, but city centres need a credible retail offer. The Moor intends to deliver a major part of that in 2019.

The public become impatient when they can't see things happening but now that The Moor has evidence '“ new shops and leisure outlets, free events to attract people to the area and sections of hoardings, that all indicate there is more to come.

There is an excitement about the expectation of what The Moor will be. By the end of 2019, Next will have opened in the old BHS and phase three will be trading that will include H&M complete with digital screen as well as Lane7 plus other well-known names. 

So, The Moor is doing well and has recorded 13 million footfall during 2018 so our regeneration is working. 

But The Moor can't stand alone and needs the rest of the city to be developed. Sheffield has great areas, but they all need linking up.

HSBC will have moved in during 2019 and as part of the Heart of the City II and situated adjacent to The Moor will make this part of the city centre even busier.

The cranes all around the city are evidence of investment and hopefully some great new buildings.

We'll see more residential accommodation as well as offices spring up during 2019 which will mean more people in the city centre to service.

The regeneration and development plans for the Castlegate area and on Fargate will be important to the city centre this year. 

I see 2019 as a crucial planning year and needs all the decision makers to work together collaboratively on ensuring a collective vision for the whole of our city centre and focusing on delivering it.

Peter Sephton, chairman of Sheffield City Centre Residents Action Group

Cranes on the city centre skyline is always an indication of how the economy is performing and currently there are plenty, showing confidence in the future.

This is the fastest growing residential area in our region, proving that regeneration is taking place.

The residents' association SCCRAG estimates 20,000 people currently live in the centre and we believe this could grow to 30,000 over ten years, bringing extra spending to help the economy.

The universities are vital to our success, but we need to encourage families, retirees and young professionals to move into the centre, creating a balanced community that doesn't disappear during long academic holidays.

The council is investigating the residential balance to create the best demographics for a vibrant community, as a blueprint for future planning objectives.Getting this right will help the economy grow after a period of decline that all town centres have suffered.

The city centre is a great place to live and residents love its convenience, liveliness, the friendly nature of its residents, the strong sense of community and belonging.

Everything we need is in walking distance, which is good for fitness, health and happiness.

Ten thousand more residents will further enhance the liveliness of the centre, as will new additions to the The Moor shopping centre.

However, one thing needed to make the centre better is for the council to positively support city centre living, because it resists changing out-dated attitudes that inconvenience and penalise residents over access, parking, licensing, planning and traffic management. There needs to be a more positive attitude from officials if residential growth is to continue.

One question from residents is how public spaces are made interesting enough to attract people to visit. SCCRAG has been proposing new facilities ranging from giant chess sets, a pocket play area for toddlers and a Harmony Pavilion, which is a group of percussion instruments that make harmonious sounds like wind-chimes when struck by hand or drumstick. It's very popular in other locations worldwide, fully inclusive and we believe can be funded by sponsorship.

Visit our website at www.sccrag.org to get involved with life in Sheffield City Centre and have your say on what you think will encourage more people to live, work and play here.

Coun Mazher Iqbal, Shefield Council's caibnet member for business and investment

The city centre is the beating heart of the city region's economy. It is the home to knowledge intensive industries which provide high value jobs and services for residents across the region and it's our civic and cultural core, where people visit, meet, spend leisure time, learn and live.

It is a place that connects us '“ the hub from which transport reaches out to regional, national and international destinations. City centre are places we remember and shape how visitors feel about them. They are shop windows to the world.

City centres are never finished; they are continually evolving and changing to meet the needs of a growing population and adapting to changes in how we live our lives. In 2018, the regeneration of Sheffield city centre continued at pace, with multiple cranes visible across the skyline all year, illustrating the momentum in the property market.

2018 saw one the busiest years on record for major planning permissions and high profile developments  were completed in the Heart of the City (HSBC office), a transformed Moor, Alsop Fields, redevelopment of the former NUM building, rapid occupation and take up at Sheffield Digital Campus, New Era Square and many, many more.

Residential interest in Sheffield city centre is strong with major private rented sector schemes approved during 2018 and the stunning Kelham Island quarter gaining further national and international acclaim.

Despite macro economic uncertainty brought on by Brexit, there is sufficient development activity on site or in the pipeline to be confident that 2019 will see Sheffield city centre build on this positive momentum.

Future phases of Heart of the City, Sheffield Hallam and University of Sheffield campus redevelopments, Grey to Green 2 at Castlegate, Park Hill and the opening of Kollider at Castle House will all ensure pace is more than maintained.

Alongside this, long term masterplanning for HS2 at Sheffield Midland station is underway and 2019 will see more details released.

We expect to see a further 10,000 more city centre homes built in the next ten years, with the objective of providing a wide range of housing types and tenures for a balanced population of people at all stages of life, household make-up and levels of income.

Sheffield City Council is actively looking to increasing density in the city centre both in terms of the number of people living and visiting as well as the number of business and buildings.

We will positively encourage taller buildings in the right locations to help developers with viability and to create the busy, active and vibrant city centre economy we want to see.

We will see the city centre business districts expand to physically coalesce, creating more dense office and workspace environments, whilst maintaining their unique identities as distinct places.