Letters: At last, looks like the council is listening

editorial image

What good reading your report on the “£500m plan to ‘future-proof’ city” made.

At a time of ideological austerity, growing inequality and poverty, it was uplifting to see a plan for Sheffield’s future that abandons the dreadful notion of a ‘Retail Quarter’ for a much livelier, all-embracing view of what a city centre can look like: making use of the existing street plan, trees, open spaces, mixed use, small independent traders amongst the big names and, the icing on the cake, a new vision for Leah’s Yard - bringing Sheffield’s makers into the city centre.

At last, this looks like a city council that is listening to its citizens and is developing an ambition for Sheffield as a city that must leapfrog Leeds and Manchester, not look like a catch-up version. I don’t know Mr Harris, the commercial director of Queensbury, but he certainly seems to want to understand what is unique about Sheffield and, literally, to build on that.

The devil will be in the detail. Can I make two suggestions about the detail? The first is street sculpture. I was recently in Aachen, and what was it that made people smile and caught their eyes and cameras? Small-scale, human-size sculptures.

Aachen was full of them - quirky, humorous, good quality brass sculptures each of which told a story of Aachen and its people. More than the monumental mediaeval buildings, it is these street sculptures that I remember. How about teaming Pete McKee with a local sculptor to realise The Snog in 3D? Second detail: awnings, porticos, arcades, colonnades. It’s great that we will have proper tree-lined streets on the existing Sheffield pattern rather than boring, glass box malls.

In deference to our weather, however, could we line these streets with attractive porticos?

Nothing so grand as Bologna, but maybe more in line with the wonderful, funky arcades and awnings that most New Zealand towns construct to give a bit of shelter. These could be made in a distinctive style, so they become identifiably Sheffield; something to remember the city by if you’re a visitor and something to cherish if you’re a resident.

Mark Doel

Psalter Lane

Please don’t let Grange Farm just ‘go to rot’

Many thanks to Sheffield Newspapers for bringing the disgraceful saga of the Norwood Grange Farm buildings at the Northern General Hospital to the public’s attention.

Sadly the Hospital Trust would appear to have the attitude of ‘let’s let it rot’ rather than give a developer the chance of creating some much needed housing. I fail to understand and am horrified at the blasé mentality of their remark of ‘it’s ONLY worth £1m’ which sums up the thinking of whoever is administrating the NHS budget.

We regularly read stories in the national press of procurement of basic essentials such as painkillers, dressings and scissors etc being twice the market price in spite of the massive bulk buying involved. Added to the constant advertising for management posts which is now notoriously top heavy and the chronic shortage of nurses, I despair at where our beloved NHS is going. A classic case of too many Chiefs and not enough Indians.

I apologise to our Society’s members for expressing these personal views and for digressing from the original point which was the problem of car-parking. This is not going to go away and must be dealt with as soon as possible. The problem gets worse by the week and very soon you will die of old age or bleed to death whilst trying to find a parking space.

The demolition of some historic buildings on the site to create a paltry few parking spaces has been pointless and lost some important history in the process. Such sticking plaster (pardon the pun) won’t heal the wound and apart from anything else a multi-storey car-park would reduce the stress levels of staff, patients, visitors and local residents. It beggars belief that the largest hospital site in Europe does not have a multi-storey facility and relies on street parking as a back-up.

I would urge the Trust to bite the bullet and get the ball rolling as building costs will only rise as time goes by and I trust that they had three quotes before arriving at their £15m costing figures. I disagree with their assertions that the Listing of these buildings has devalued them and if you take the time to read Historic England’s long report on these and Chesterman House and Wycliffe House you would realise just how nationally historically important they are. The full story can be found in the 2016 edition of our Cruck magazine which is still available at Sheffield Scene on Surrey Street or direct from us.

As to Phil Brennan’s suggestion that the HHB invest in the buildings – we’re only a tiny charity with nothing in the bank so, sorry – can’t help.

Howard Greaves

Hallamshire Historic Buildings

The tree protesters are not a violent lot

Disproportionate Policing? The behaviour of Sheffield police officers saddens and worries me, they seem to be acting as a patsy between the Council and Amey.

But I cannot imagine it was ever Sheffield police’s real intention, to put themselves in the spotlight for all this dubious attention

Recently officers have looked both impatient and harrassed, whilst some seemed uncomfortable and distinctly embarassed

Labour MP Louise Haigh admitted in the press last Thursday :“It is simply untenable for the fellings to continue in this way”

Really, if they do not want to completely lose their reputation, parties need to sit around a table for a sensible re-negotiation

Because at heart I’m certain, both sides secretly must all agree, we do not want 33 police officers standing beneath one tree

Or indeed, much worse, on one occasion the news did tell, of a disabled and shocked pensioner finishing up in hospital

You know, by and large the tree protesters are not a violent lot, but a frightening ‘silver command’ is apparently what they got

Campaigners definitely do not wish to keep turning up the heat, most of us don’t want this style of policing to remain on the street

JW

Street tree supporter