Standing on the hill behind the railway station you get a beautiful vista to look out to. I am sure that first time visitors to the city or those passing through on the train must get an impression of a booming city centre with all the tower cranes that are up.
However appearances can be deceiving and in Sheffield’s case they are very deceiving. Correct me if I am wrong, but are any of those cranes currently up in Sheffield, including the city centre (and there’s a lot of them) going to create any long term meaningful jobs for the people of Sheffield and the wider region?, no.
If a bank / insurance company wanted to re locate say 1500 jobs to one of the regions then Sheffield would be at the bottom of the list, we simply don’t have any office blocks available in the centre to accommodate them, this cant be right.
For a city and wider region with a population of over 1.8 million we no longer have a business district, and that just about says everything, that is wrong about Sheffield city centre.
Heart of the City is a handful of office blocks (they look nice if a little stumpy) that due to their floor plans are not suitable to attract large occupiers, the very thing that Sheffield needs. And yet half the floors in these developments are just gathering dust. I believe the council will have to bail out St. Paul’s in a couple of months?
The Moor looks 100 times better than it did 10 years ago but hasn’t attracted any new stores of note. The Light complex looks fantastic and the public realm around the moor and opposite HSBC will add to the area.
NRQ has been a shambolic embarrassment for the last 20 odd years, but a last we are seeing buildings going up, although just a fraction of what was originally planned. The fact that the Council have removed “retail” from its name shows that they have come to realise that there is no appetite for even middle of the road shops to move in to the city centre.
Fargate is struggling and someone on here says he hopes that more shops in that location move to the Moor and high end shops open up on Fargate, well we can dream but lets be realistic here, its not going to happen.
Castlegate is an utter embarrassment to the city, yet still no dig and no plans for the area.
West Bar Square, well I hope to be proved wrong but something tells me revised plans for a smaller scheme of residential and student flats will be the order of the day in this location.
You can build as many resi / student towers in the city centre all you want, but the reality is, that they are just papering over the cracks.
If Sheffield wants a city centre of note and not just a large suburb masquerading as a city centre then its priority should be attracting large scale companies and their employment to the centre. Large scale workers in the city centre will bring high end stores, will bring electrification of the Midland Main Line, will bring 5 star hotels to the city, will bring high speed trains and roads to Manchester, and the list goes on. Continuing the way Sheffield has been going over the years will bring nothing of note to the city. Businesses have all but given up on Sheffield city centre and now the Government is following suit.
I can but hope that in 2018 this record investment in Sheffield city centre that is talked about is going to address the underlying problem that the city centre has, not just another rehash of student developments that have gone before.
No doubt things are looking rosier outside the city centre with the likes of AMP, but without a booming city centre, not only Sheffield but the wider region suffers. The priority above all in 2018 must be to address this.
A Merry xmas and happy new year to u all.:cheers: