City Centre Development
Council urged to press ahead with retail plans in city centre masterplan
A significant group of business leaders has welcomed the initial ideas and consultations on the new City Centre Master Plan, but called on Sheffield City Council to press ahead with plans for new retail development both in the City Centre and in the Lower Don Valley
Sheffield Chamber of Commerce Council members, a group of 40 business leaders from across the city, listened to the local authority on a wide range of draft proposals to improve the core of the city over the next decade.
Generally, they were supportive about the scale of the ambition and fully backed the strategy to develop a distinctive city offer that stood out from Meadowhall locally and from Manchester and Leeds further afield.
It raised concerns that the council needed to press ahead with the Sevenstone development, without Hammersons if they were not prepared to commit immediately, improve transport accessibility to the centre but also to welcomed other proposed investments such as IKEA and NEXT in the Lower Don Valley, recognising that that area had also to keep developing and the need to attract people and jobs to Sheffield.
Sheffield City Council has embarked on a six-week consultation period with businesses and members of the public about the masterplan The final plan which is due to be presented for Cabinet approval in October will contain a full implementation programme. which will inform funding bids and key partnerships.
David Child, chair of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce Council, commented: “We thank the City Council for discussing the masterplan with us and we encourage more people to get involved in the consultation period.
“Sheffield city centre has made tremendous progress in recent years but is lagging behind other major UK locations with its retail offering and we would urge the council to show real ambition in delivering development in this area.
“As a Chamber we will be providing constructive feedback to the City Council to help deliver a strong and ambitious vision for the future of Sheffield, which will provide benefits to businesses and residents to enjoy working and living in the city.”
The Chamber group highlighted a number of key areas for the City Council to consider within its proposal, including:
- Significantly improving the road network to reduce congestion on key routes into the city centre, as well as enhancing vehicle access to the train station.
- An early decision for Hammersons to press-on with the Sevenstone development as soon as possible, with a desperate need for a start to be made on site by their suggested 2015 date at the latest
- A need to improve the City Council’s Buy Local policy
- Linking developments in the Lower Don Valley such as NEXT and IKEA with efforts and opportunities to attract people towards the city centre
- Marketing the city centre offering better
- Financial support for start-ups and independents to take up city centre occupancy
A Sheffield City Council exhibition displaying the masterplan is taking place at the Millennium Galleries, with information also available on the council website.