What is the Future of Our High Streets?

Fri, May 14, 2021
5:30 PM – 7:00 PM BST
Online

As part of the Civic Trust’s ongoing work focussing on Sheffield’s ‘high ‘street’ and its development, we are pleased to invite our members and supporters to this affiliated event, part of the Festival of Debate.

This event brings together Sheffield Council officers and academics to discuss the future of the places we live, work and shop.

About this event

Covid-19 has only heightened pre-existing issues with the make-up of our high streets and city centres. The steady growth of online sales, matched with falling revenue in high street retail amidst soaring costs in rent and business rates, has resulted in key questions about the future of our city. This is compounded by the now-widespread adoption of remote working and the likely drop in the use of office space in Sheffield city centre.

This event brings together Council officers and academics to discuss the future of the places we live, work and shop. Sheffield’s recent hard-won bid for significant investment into the city centre could present some welcome solutions, but it’s clear that radical revisioning is required. What lies ahead for Sheffield’s high streets?

Speakers:

Julian Dobson – Hallam University & Event Chair

Professor Vanessa Toulmin – Director of City & Culture, Partnerships and Regional Engagement University of Sheffield

Nalin Seneviratne – Director – City Centre Development SCC

Jesse Matheson – University of Sheffield – CoPERI & Senior lecturer in economics

Sara Boonham – Sector lead for Town and City Regeneration at Gleeds

Rosie Dodgson – The Sheffield Civic Trust

Endcliffe Park US Air Force fly-past scheduled

UPDATE: BBC Breakfast will be filming in Endcliffe Park from 6am, and there will be a memorial service in the park starting at 8am.
The flypast is scheduled to start at 8:45am, weather permitting.
Further details can be found here: https://sheffieldnewsroom.co.uk/news/mi_amigo_flypast/

He has shouldered responsibility for the crash for 75 years, as the plane was trying to avoid crashing into him and other children in the park. He has visited and maintained the memorial every day since it was erected, telling them how much he loves them and is forever grateful to those who saved his life.

War Memorial in Endcliffe Park to crew of U.S.A.A.F. bomber which crashed in 1944

Dan Walker, BBC Breakfast presenter, saw Tony planting new flowers at the memorial and uncovered his story. Dan then began a campaign to get a fly-past for Tony.

The US Ambassador has confirmed that a fly-by will take place on 22nd February, 75 years to the day, to commemorate the event, in Endcliffe Park. Further details are due to be announced shortly.

Sheffield Central Library: Whither civic pride?

Blog post by Mick Nott, an active trustee with Sheffield Civic Trust.  Mick writes here in a personal capacity, but the Sheffield Civic Trust are also looking to gather views and responses on the Sheffield Central Library proposals, so please get in touch.

Sheffield Central Library: What was decided?

  • In November 2016 Sheffield City Council’s (SCC) Cabinet committee gave the Sichuon Goudong Construction Company (SGCC) 12 months exclusivity to determine if it was feasible to convert the Sheffield Central Library (SCL) building into a 5 star hotel and Art Gallery.

  • Sheffield Central Library houses the main library, the local studies centre, the Graves Art Gallery, and a theatre (available for all to hire from SCC).

What was the decision?

  • The decision is that the SGCC will have 12 months, until November 2017, exclusivity to develop proposals and plans to develop SCL as a 5* hotel and Art Gallery.

  • Cabinet councillors state that the SCL is no longer fit for purpose in the 21st century.  It is:

    • expensive to repair and maintain to essential health and safety standards(£500k in the last 3 years, £2.2m over the next 3 years);

    • in need of substantial funds (£30m) to refurbish as it stands to bring it up to standards of service, access, particularly disabled access, and structure for a C21st library service.(All figures given by councillors at recent meetings).

What else was decided?

  • It was decided that at the end of 12 months neither party would be obliged to agree to continue with the possible development.

  • The SCL would not be sold in any case; it would be leased. The nature of any possible lease, e.g. length, repairs etc, has not been decided.

  • SCC has accepted the SGCC proposal that the Art Gallery should remain within the building and could be moved to a lower & more accessible floor if the development takes place.

What was not decided?

  • No possible site has yet been identified for a new central library.

  • There are possible funding sources for a new library but these have not been definitely identified yet.

  • A new library would not be PFI funded.

  • A replacement for the SCC-owned and managed Library Theatre cannot be guaranteed.

What is promised?

  • If this development were to go ahead then SCC would build a new central library fit for purpose and perhaps reuniting the library, local studies, and archives together.

  • The new central library would be no more than ½ mile from the location of the current SCL.

  • There will be no discontinuity in central library services

What is the background to these decisions?

  • In July 2016 SGCC and SCC signed an agreement to cooperate in the development of the city of Sheffield.  SGCC has promised to contribute £220m over the next 3 years to develop projects in the city centre and a total of £1bn over the next 60 years.  This agreement had been negotiated for 18 months, that is, since Jan 2015.

  • Central government has progressively and severely reduced central grants to Local Authorities.  There will be no central government funds granted to local authorities from April 2020.  From April 2020 Sheffield, like all local authorities, will be funded solely from its business rates, council taxes and any revenue they can raise from assets and services.

  • Councillors have stated that a development like this could provide an income of £1m pa in business rates.

What was the reaction?

  • This news was broadcast in the local media and there has been a significant public reaction.

  • A public petition to keep the library as a library has been signed by over 10,000 people. A facebook group has been set up too.

  • Councillors have noted the public size and strength of response and have held a series of four public meetings (nb the same presentation four times) so far to explain and respond to public questions and statements from members of the public.

  • The two councillors who made the presentations have also contacted individuals who left questions at the end of the meetings.  The councillors say they want the process to be transparent and are eager to talk to individuals concerned.

Why do I think Sheffield Civic Trust (SCT) should care?

  • Sheffield Civic Trust is not only concerned with individual developments or particular buildings it is also concerned with: the structure, appearance and feel of the city; how people can move around the city; what the city provides culturally, administratively, commercially, and residentially for its own citizens and visitors.  A place where people like to play, shop, work and live!

  • SCL is a key part of the cultural life of the city and sits at present in the heart of the city.  The last grand development to be realised in the city was the Heart of the City project.  This includes, Sheaf Square, Howard St, Millennium Galleries, Winter Garden, Peace Gardens, St Paul’s including Millennium Square, Tudor Square, Barkers Pool and the surrounds and work was also done on the City Hall.  But SCL seems not to have received the same civic attention that perhaps it deserves or deserved.

  • The current SCL is located within the Heart of the City.  It is next to Tudor Square and its main access is from Surrey Street which is part of the Gold Route – a route planned through the city from the railway station to the University of Sheffield that provides good access for all pedestrians and cyclists to every part of Heart of the City.

  • Sheffield is one of the ten core UK cities and it should be a matter of civic pride that what the city provides as its civic offer satisfies its citizens, attracts visitors and can be evaluated to match the other core cities.  The SCL is part of this offer with the library (including the archives), the Graves Art Gallery and the Library Theatre.  To be considered a core city then I think Sheffield needs to provide a national if not international standard of library services. It should have a national quality art gallery and it should provide a theatre that is accessible for the use of amateur as well as professional groups.  Sheffield doesn’t have a 5* hotel.

  • There have been significant changes since the planning and funding of the Heart of City.  There has been the universal economic crash.  We now live in an age of austerity.  In England national policies have successively cut central funds and will eventually stop giving any funds to local authorities.  We will not receive any EU funds.  Local authorities will still have duties and obligations set by central government and the levels or increases of business rates and council taxes will also be determined by central government.  Local Authorities will become managers of central government policy.  The only discretionary funds they will have will be what surplus they can raise once they have fulfilled their obligatory duties.  Other funds will also be available from developers whether they are public companies or  private companies or individual philanthropists.

  • There have also been changes in planning regulations.  It is much easier for developers to build what they want and much harder for local authorities to challenge what developers want.  Regional economic and transport policies are much more likely to be determined by enterprise zones, which are dominated by unelected business members, and nascent city regions whose political configurations and democratic voice and responsiveness are unclear.  Housing policy is centrally determined and local authorities have to sell assets like council houses.

  • The prospect of a local authority being able to plan future developments that are coherent and consistent with previous developments, and for the public good of all, seems to have slipped away.  I need to find out more but it could be that this process may have already started in Sheffield with the development of the New Retail Quarter and the siting of the HS2 station.

And I think this brings me back to July 2016 when SCC signed an agreement with SGCC about investing in developing Sheffield.  The nature of this agreement is not clear.  It could be that SGCC is a preferred bidder.  In response to questions about whether other bids had been received or sought with respect to developing the SCL, the councillors said no other developer had come forward with any proposals.  I think SCC have a duty to realise the best value or return from its assets that it can:

  • if SGCC come back in a year with a plan that says its proposals are feasible and a projection of a sum of money that these plans could produce then, in the absence of any alternatives, how will councillors be able to evaluate that other better returns could be realised?

They won’t be able to: I’ve asked.

And SGCC has paid no money upfront for exclusivity – other than I presume any monies offered or promised in the agreement signed in July 2016.  So none of us will know if the best deal possible.

My understanding of free market theory is that a free market will determine the best price.  If there isn’t a market you can or ought to create one.  SCC could have done this by publicly tendering or offering the possibility of developing SCL to any developer interested and if it got at least more than one offer it would be able, after due diligence, to evaluate which proposal was better value for its revenue and its citizens.  It’s unclear to me whether SGCC now has some form of monopoly on how Sheffield develops.

Councillors have declared that they want the process about the development of SCL to be open and transparent with the citizens of Sheffield.  How open can SCC be when they are collaborating with SGCC, a private company, that would probably want or see a need to maintain commercial confidentiality?  We could have a city where exclusivity and secrecy may not be working but competing with democracy and transparency.

Private companies’ developments are not necessarily bad or wrong.  They also may want to build for the public good, and often they want to maintain a good public image.  Councillors are not malevolent.  It is a thankless task because they take the blame when and if things go wrong.  Councillors’ ability to make a pro-active contribution to civic life is limited by central government edicts and starvation of funds.  However SCT needs to recognise that the city’s future development may be dominated, if not monopolised, by private capital with little democratic input.

As a civic trust then SCT should work on developing a view or manifesto for the spaces, transport, buildings and services that Sheffield should have and deserves to have as a UK core city.  A manifesto would provide the guidance for SCT to monitor, evaluate, advise and make representations about the development and preservation of the city.  Let’s be part of determining and building civic pride!

Mick Nott, January 2017

Sheffield Housing Expo launched at train station

  • Expo showcases new design ideas to solve the housing crisis 
  • Our new exhibition ‘New Urban Housing Ideas for Sheffield‘ forms part of Design Week 2016

The Sheffield Housing Expo – an exhibition of innovative new housing design – has been launched at Sheffield Train Station as part of Sheffield Design Week 2016.Our exhibition called ‘New Urban Housing Ideas for Sheffield’ showcases 10 award-winning examples of urban housing from across the UK and Europe. They were selected and curated by Adam Park, Simon Chadwick and Tom Hunt, trustees of the Civic Trust, to show how new urban homes can be environmentally sustainable, affordable, and designed to the highest standard. They include a beautiful social housing block in Dublin, the first co-housing project in London, and the reimagining of a Sheffield terraced house. It presents photos and drawings of each project, key information about the designs, and explains why we have chosen them. The Expo is on display at the train station, opposite Marks and Spencer, until Sunday 30th October.

Here’s why we’ve put on the Expo:

We need more new homes. Everyone knows this. But the conversation can’t stop there.We want to shift the debate from ‘we need more homes’ to ‘we need more and better homes‘.

Our exhibition showcases 10 examples of urban housing from across the UK and Europe. They have been chosen because they show how new homes can be environmentally sustainable, affordable, and designed to the highest standard.

But most importantly they provide great places to live. They show how new urban housing can create new urban communities.

We’ve chosen urban housing because Sheffield has lots of sites, big and small, empty and in use, where we could imagine housing like these 10 examples being developed. New estates of semi-detached houses on green fields aren’t the only types of homes that can be built.

Sheffield has a proud tradition of innovative housing and we want to be proud about new homes in our city again. Across Sheffield construction is taking place and cranes are back on the skyline – but let’s not just keep on building more of the same.  It’s about increasing the quantity – and the quality.

So this exhibition is our challenge to the Council, to the architects, planners and investors, and to all of us.

Let’s be more demanding, more ambitious. Let’s learn from the best and then be better.

The housing crisis can be solved. Let’s build more homes but let’s also put Sheffield back at the forefront of housing design.

The architects involved in the exhibition include Project Orange, Ash Sakula, Niall McLaughlin Architects, Pitman Tozer Architects, Claire and David Kemp, Henley Halebrown Rorrison, Architecten-en-en, and O’Donnell and Tuomey, and Peter Barber Architects.

The exhibition was designed and produced by Sheffield Civic Trust in collaboration with The University of Sheffield School of Architecture.

‘The first of the new?’ Guest post on the new proposals for Sheffield’s Retail Quarter

Guest post by Julian Dobson, first published on Julian’s website Living With Rats

srq-sandstone-edge-concept

The latest consultation on the future of Sheffield’s city centre closed last month. By the turn of the decade, it’s hoped, the city will have a brand new shopping quarter optimistically described by some of its proponents as the ‘first of the new’.

Sheffield Retail Quarter, as it’s currently known, is the latest in a saga of plans and projects that can be traced back at least 20 years. It was once known as the ‘New Retail Quarter’, but ‘new’ rapidly became a hostage to fortune.

Over the last decade the area adjoining the landmarks of City Hall at Barker’s Pool and the impressive Victorian town hall has been the focus of a £600m redevelopment plan led by developer Hammerson and anchored by John Lewis, the department store of choice for cities worried about their retail rankings. The scheme, branded as Sevenstone, floundered and was aborted in 2013.

So what will we end up with after nearly a quarter of a century of consultancy, masterplanning, public consultation and political lobbying? There are some signs that concerns have been taken on board: the latest consultation emphasises the quality of urban design and materials, a mixture of uses, walkability and the protection and restoration of neglected historic buildings.

Other signs might suggest that not much has changed. The aspiration for Sheffield to be a ‘top shopping destination’ is still foregrounded; at bottom, this may still be an old-style ‘build it and they will come’ big-box mall, though in a city centre rather than on the edges. A shed with frills is still a shed.

What should or could the ‘first of the new’ look like? One response might be to examine who shapes the development, and who owns and benefits from it. Is Sheffield’s retail quarter just another tradable asset for the property industry? In which directions does the value flow?

What was really radical about Ebenezer Howard’s garden city proposals was not just the green space and urban planning, but the insistence that assets should be held in trust for the benefit of the community. It’s an insistence that contemporary practice tends to forget.

Questions of ownership lead on to issues of access. If Sheffield’s retail quarter is to be the first of the new, you might expect to see a very different range of uses and occupants to those found in most urban shopping centres. Will we see the innovative and experimental businesses that are normally squeezed out of so-called high value locations? To achieve that, space needs to be available at low rents and on flexible terms.

The ‘first of the new’ should surprise and delight in ways other retail areas don’t. You can’t plan in serendipity, but you can plan for it. One way to do that is to ensure that enterprising uses that seem to have little commercial value can exist cheek-by-jowl with hard-headed profit-making. Community and civic uses, places for sociability and idling, spaces for growing and performance should all be part of the mix.

That demands an approach to planning that prioritises animating and curating space, moving beyond the regulation-and-enforcement protocols of use classes and paper trails. Regulation needs to be in there, but it’s neither the start nor the end of the process.

That necessitates planners being closer to the streets, not more distant. It will take a brave local authority to invest in engaged and positive planning in the current climate, but the benefits are there to be grasped. When planners know their patches as intimately as the people who use them every day, we might all end up with better city centres.

Follow Julian on Twitter @juliandobson

“How can we see the wood for the Trees?” – one woman’s quest for clarity about Sheffield’s trees.

Image: Save the 12 Trees on Rustlings Road, Sheffield petition (http://chn.ge/1K7XJu2)

Post by Lee Heykoop, SCT board member

Beautiful , mature trees in the city are the gift of someone’s vision a generation or more ago. Besides the shade that makes a city tolerable when there’s a heatwave, I would be lost without trees marking the seasons- taking me through Spring, into deep Summer and out into Autumn. They are real live elements of the city. Is this why it is that trees affect so many people?

Recent ‘tree issues’ in Sheffield have been heated. And while the intricacies are too detailed to summarise here, the aspects this article will focus on are:-

  • The criticism and the Council’s response
  • The quest for clarity
  • Persistence to find out if a contractor of the council is empowered to deal with trees even if their action can result in damage or loss
  • And despair at changing things for the better
  • A possible solution to pavement damage—the Stockholm Tree Planting System

Letter from the Fulfilment Team:
I have found a barrage of criticism answered by a seven and a half page letter from our council’s ‘Fulfilment Team’. It’s function is clearly to explain, and answer questions and spread a feeling of fulfilment to ease away all concerns. So why am I left wondering if this is the whole truth and who is it actually from? Who are the Fulfilment Team? There is no personal signature (no personal responsibility). It is signed from ‘Streets Ahead’. Does Amey have any input into this?

Accountability and Contract details:
To return to my reluctance about being reassured, the letter addresses the issue of requests from the public to see the Amey contract. No problem, it reads, the contract is online. Or is it? Enter the e-correspondence trail from David Jones’s Freedom of Information request in February 2014 which ends with these entries this June:-

  • 10th June – Vincent Bowen: the link given by Sheffield Council (to the contract) doesn’t work
  • 11th June – David Jones: it worked a year ago, shame it doesn’t now
  • 15th June – Paul Whitlow: try this one https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/business-ec (the link now leads to a ‘page 404 not found’ message, and a search of the council’s website got me no further than Amey’s contract ‘Data Sheet’ which appears to be company statistics/ promotional material.
  • 16th June – Keith Alford: he had read the contract the previous year, but so much had been redacted that ‘the document was of little use to any resident of Sheffield who wishes to check the scope of or specification of the work’ against the contract requirements.

Is there a Sheffield Tree Strategy which applies to the Highways?
Contained in the long apologetic letter mentioned above, there has been no mention of strategies for new street planting, only replacement trees. A more proactive view is voiced in Sheffield City Council ‘s, ‘Sheffield’s Tree and Woodland Strategy: consultation document’. It is a shame then that this dates from 2001, and that there doesn’t appear to be an actual Tree Strategy for Sheffield – it looks like this document was never adopted by SCC. The shame is that a Tree Strategy would have set out a vision for trees; it would have described the different aspects of that vision, giving examples; it would have been referred to in the contract as indicative of the performance level to be achieved.

Going anti-clockwise
I admit I read the Fulfulment Team’s letter before I read in full what it was responding to—namely the 29 page document from the Save Our Rustlings Trees campaign group, which I commend. They know (they say this) that the topic is wider than trees just on their road. It is an excellent document and deals with all aspects regarding trees:

  • What the law requires of Local Authorities (LAs)
  • Policy documents e.g. Trees in Towns II; the UK Forestry Standard and its Guidelines; National Tree Safety Group.
  • Health and Safety and where guidance does not expect more from responsible landowners
  • Questions about contractual requirements that SCC make on Amey (and yes where are these contract particulars)
  • SCC’s lack of recourse to professional expert advice which would help, guide and instruct contractors – as would a Tree Strategy. But where are these?

What should we do?
My personal view is that, alongside excellent maintenance of existing tree stock, I want to see some strategic improvements and strategic new planting and re-planting in Sheffield. And this might be coordinated with pavement and road repairs so as to utilise the Stockholm tree planting system; a method that solves the future possibility of pavement heave. First comes investment in expertise and quality and from these are generated sustainable (including monetary sustainability) approaches.

Are we there yet?
Given that Sheffield City Council don’t have a Tree Strategy, don’t consult (or not enough) with experts, and don’t make the content of the contract with Amey public, I don’t have confidence in their capacity to manage such an important, living, asset.

Setting the context for Sheffield’s future housing challenges

Guest blog post by Professor Gordon Dabinett, Professor for Regional Studies, Sheffield University, and co-author of the State of Sheffield 2015 report

At the recent Sheffield Civic Trust housing event, David Rudlin director of URBED outlined his views on how Garden City extensions might be relevant to the future challenges faced by Sheffield, based on the premise that the city needs more houses.

Sheffield has certainly undergone a significant transformation in the last twenty years. Despite facing a legacy of declining heavy industry, it has seen the creation of new employment opportunities and businesses; the two Universities have significantly increased student numbers and capital investment; neighbourhoods have been renewed; and the city’s image radically reshaped with a series of high profile regeneration projects. Like most other medium sized cities in Europe and the UK, Sheffield has experienced recent population growth, reflecting the outcome of migration to the city and increases in the living age and birth rates.

The recent Census of Population 2011 has provided a detailed picture of this population change in Sheffield, as the resident population increased by 7.6% from 513,200 in 2001 to 552,700 in 2011, reversing the previous decline. In particular there has been a significant growth in the number of 15-24 year olds living in the city, and there over 55,000 university students. The community profile of the city has also changed: in 2011 there were 109,500 people from ethnic minorities, more than double the 55,200 in 2001. These changes largely mirror the country as a whole and other English Core Cities.

The general trends mask what are very different experiences across the city though. The Sheffield Fairness Commission in 2012 revealed significant inequalities, with areas in the south and west of the city in the least deprived 20% of the country, whilst nearly a third of Sheffield’s population lived in areas that fell within the 20% most deprived in the country, largely located in the north and east of the city. As a result, Sheffield on average remains one of the least deprived major cities in England, but also one of the most unequal.

Whilst the city population has continued to grow, some wards saw a decline in their populations between 2001 and 2011, such as Woodhouse (-3.1%), Southey Green (-4.4%) and Birley (-6.6%); other areas experienced significant growth such as Burngreave (+14.7%) and Darnall (+11.6%).  These later two wards also have the highest proportion of their populations who are 15 years old or younger (over 25% compared to 16% in the city as a whole), and consequently more households are made up of married couples with dependent children in these areas. These neighbourhoods are also the most culturally diverse, with the BME communities accounting for 62% and 49% of the population in these areas respectively. The most spectacular growth over this period has been in the city central ward where the population increased by 19,098 people which more than doubled the population of this area to 36,412 people.

The changing population of the city has clearly had impacts on the provision of housing in Sheffield and how local housing markets might provide desired residential offers for a diverse set of demands. There is a high degree of ‘place attachment’ in Sheffield’s housing, and the city is largely regarded to be a self-contained housing market area, since 72% of residential moves take place within the city boundary. There are important links to neighbouring districts, especially Rotherham, Barnsley and adjacent Derbyshire. Migration patterns are subsequently localised, and whilst Sheffield loses population to surrounding districts, it gains population from those undertaking long-distance moves (mainly young professionals with families) and international migrants (including students).

Furthermore daily commuting figures show that in both absolute and proportionate terms, the flow of people commuting out of the wider Sheffield city region for work is greater than the flow commuting in for work, and both flows have increased over the last decade. These patterns in part reflect the city region’s employment gap or low employment density, which results in many residents having to seek work elsewhere, in particular north to Leeds and Wakefield, and south to other areas in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Within the city region, Sheffield has the highest proportion of residents who also work within the same local authority area (78%), but it also has the highest number of workers who commute in from elsewhere everyday (nearly 64,000). In contrast, Barnsley and Doncaster have the highest number of residents who work outside the city region, and North East Derbyshire and Bolsover have the highest proportion of residents who commute to work outside their own local authority (75% and 70% respectively).

I would therefore suggest that to be able to respond actively and positively to the recent growth in population raises not only the question of where new homes should be built, but also the far more complex and significant questions:

  • What sort of city might Sheffield be in the future, and what changes will occur in the many and varied neighbourhoods that currently constitute the city?
  • As new and more jobs are created, what new links will emerge between home and work in the wider city region, and how will commuting patterns change?
  • What is the future for public services and the related wellbeing of diverse and ageing populations in an already unequal city?

‘Côte de Jenkin Road’ Hill Climb – Tour de France Celebration Event

Test your pedal power on Wincobank’s famous Jenkin Road on Saturday 4th July 2015

Jenkin Road will be closed to traffic on Saturday July 4th

for a chance to pit pedal power against the hill that tested the Tour de France elite cyclists in 2014

10am – 12 noon Community Event – a fun challenge for anyone, any age to ride or push their bike to the top of Wincobank Hill without risk of danger from traffic

10am – 11am: Half Hill Climb – from Jenkin Drive to the top

11am – 12 noon: Whole Hill Climb (well, nearly) – from Lincoln Street to the top. Certificates for all finishers and a prize for the best dressed bike and rider The access points will be open from

12 – 12.30pm to allow residents to get in or out . Provision will also be made for emergency access during the day. .

12.30 – 2.30 pm Côte de Jenkin Road Time Trial

https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/details/134197/Cote-de-Jenkin-Road-Hill-Climb

Come and cheer on the super serious cyclists as they race against the clock from Lincoln Street and finishing at the top

Be at the Community Fete on Wincobank Common for

  • refreshments and the presentation of souvenir certificates.
  • help decorating your bike, scooter or buggy for the Whizzy Wheels Parade!
  • Fun Fundraising – Community Information – Games and Activities

Live on the route? Get decorating... Be the best dressed house.

You don’t live on the route? Help us decorate the railings – with artwork, bunting or your organisation’s banner – deliver in advance to ensure it can be safely secured.

Would you like a stall at our Community Fete? There will be a small charge of £10 for not-for-profit-organisations towards the hire cost of a table, chair and shelter or £20 for commercial stalls. Hope you can join us!

For further information or to book a stall

please contact Penny Rea 07980 143776

pennyrea@yahoo.com

Please note – this is the current plan all details are subject to change if unforeseen circumstances dictate

Sheffield Retail Quarter Consultation

On June 11th over 50 people came to our consultation event on the new Sheffield Retail Quarter plans. We heard presentations from architects and planners working on the scheme, and the Q&A session that followed covered a wide range of issues from public transport and cycling provision, public space in the new scheme, design quality, to the retention of older buildings and lots more. Read our tweets on our timeline @sheffcivictrust

The public consultation has now finished but Sheffield Civic Trust is currently finalising our formal response to the plans. There is still time to send us your comments about the Retail Quarter, especially if you were at our event and want to share any views. Please send us your views ASAP to info@sheffieldcivictrust.org.uk. We’ll then share our formal response on the blog and in our July newsletter.


Posted below are two individual submissions to the consultation from our members Matthew Conduit and Simon Chadwick who have sent us copies of their submissions. If you have made a submission to the consultation and would be happy for it to be shared more widely on our blog then please send it in to us. 

  ______________________________________

I attended the launch of the revised retail quarter plans at the City hall, but have been away during the consultation events.  Therefore, please see some key comments below for consideration:

The essential element in extending Fargate, culminating in a new square at Charter Square etc. all makes sense.  But I do worry about how the quality and variedness of the architecture is managed, especially given the sheer volume of some of the blocks proposed. The ‘John Lewis’ / car park block is very scary in size and volume in particular.

I would be interested to know more about how the design of these new buildings is to procured. In the interests of ‘mix’, is there any intention to procure the overall scheme via various parcelled design packages, so varying design approaches to different elements and blocks, and the overall nature and quality of the street scene, is achieved?

I really do fear that a global approach to the whole scheme in design terms will lead to everything we have seen before in other cities (e.g. Liverpool, Leeds etc.).  Massive blocks with the usual ‘curtain’ wall treatment and changes in materials, levels and planes mimicking separate elements/buildings.  Without a mix of different design approaches, there is a danger of the scheme looking and feeling like one massive shopping centre development, rather than an extension to a mixed urban and vibrant street scene.

If I look at the 3D visuals in particular, all I see is where I’ve been before – not Sheffield. We deserve to strive to be something else.

The retail quarter represents a great opportunity for Sheffield to both engage a range of architects and designers, and reflect the strong and diverse cultural traditions and economy of the city. A mixed design procurement approach would also ensure that some smaller, less ‘corporate’ design studios have opportunities, and will hopefully help breath some variation and design integrity into the overall development.

Many thanks for your time and attention.

Regards

Matthew Conduit

Sheffield Civic Trust member and Heeley resident

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I know I speak for many City Centre residents when I say that we are very grateful to have been invited by Sheffield City Council to attend a presentation regarding the New Retail Quarter development hosted by Sheffield Civic Trust on Thursday 11th June, however, I write to stress my disappointment that the issue of design quality seems very far from the top of the agenda.

This development is vital for the future success and prosperity of the City, but it is also a great opportunity for Sheffield, not to go into competition with Meadowhall, not to go safe and to emulate Croyden, Guildford and the rest of the Westfield back catalogue, but to make a vibrant and innovative contribution to the culture and character of the unique City of Sheffield.

The masterplan is currently at the outline planning application stage, so naturally, we are not expecting a detailed design proposal, however, there were significant omissions in what was presented-

Generally speaking, there is some logic to the Leonard Design street pattern, however, the primary move of striking a vista directly from the top of Fargate to the new department store (John Lewis) in the centre of the masterplan does not seem to be supported by the model which illustrates that this view is not obtainable from this point.

The streets and spaces show an ambiguous hierarchy and the urban ‘agenda’ seems quite unclear. A greater analysis of these proposed places and spaces needs to be undertaken to establish quality. Equally, a rigorous precedent study should be executed to establish and test the design drivers of the scheme- (and not just reference to other Westfield projects)

The new city ‘square’ in the centre of the masterplan forms a forecourt to the new department store, and the key focal point of the new scheme but the scale, proportions and spacial logic of this proposal are not well illustrated. What is clear, however, is that this new space is regarded considerably more highly than the existing civic square at Barkers Pool. The proposed triangular block to the South of Barkers Pool presents a long, low facade to the City Hall, diminishing and eroding the civic scale of the space.

The City Hall is a building of exceptionally high quality and requires an appropriate, formal response to it. The YRM John Lewis store does do this to an extent, and any proposed replacement would need to execute this responsibility.

Sheffield is a place of vibrancy, energy and style. It has a unique, quirky character which is evident in its streets, squares and its architecture. The City deserves and demands design of the highest quality- not just in the design of the facades of the new buildings, but in the proportion and scale of new streets and public realm- the detail and materiality of hard and soft landscaping, lighting, paving and furniture.

Sheffield is extremely well represented annually at the RIBA Yorkshire Regional Awards. Sheffield Civic Trust has introduced the Sheffield Design Awards to recognise and to champion great design within the city. Sheffield has two excellent schools of Architecture and a proud Victorian and Modernist legacy. An architectural competition would attract an array of design talent, engender an aesthetic diversity, a freshness of approach and create great publicity for the project. It would also demonstrate that SCC is determined to put design quality at the top of the priority list.

Innovative, progressive, sustainable developers are used to architectural competitions and can appreciate the added value this method will bring. The overly commercial development partner, focused entirely on the ‘net lettable’ of a safe, secure design solution will bring mediocrity and blandness. Sheffield is not Guildford and it is not Croydon. Sheffield deserves far better than this.

Moreover, there is a tantalising opportunity here for the City Council to be more prescriptive about the density of the proposed city blocks. To envisage a new urban neighbourhood, creating an intricate network of high level garden spaces, covering the rooftops of the new retail blocks, and serving innovative new housing developments, allowing families, couples and single folk of all ages to inhabit the city centre as they once did. This would create the 24hr city that we all hope for- local shops and cafes serving a genuine urban village, giving life to our streets and cultivating a safe, comfortable environment through ‘natural surveillance’ and increased footfall.

The balance has to be right. If we focus too heavily on pandering to a development partner, we will end up with a bland, generic ‘anywheresville’ solution. We need to have room within this process to take a few risks, to demand innovative, progressive urban housing- dynamic, unique public spaces and a visionary development that will ensure the valuable character of Sheffield and its citizens is permitted to emanate. THIS is the USP of the project.

Once its built, its built. We owe it to Sheffield to get this right. DON’T condemn Sheffield to tired, commercial mediocrity for the sake of expediency. Lets do this properly. Put high quality design at the top of the agenda.

Regards

Simon Chadwick

City Centre resident and Trustee of Sheffield Civic Trust