Plans to improve Sheffield city centre in £4m BID

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Improvements to make Sheffield busier, safer, cleaner and easier to use are laid out in plans for the city’s first business improvement district.

The BID scheme – which will go to a ballot next year – would mean around 640 businesses pay a levy to raise cash for improvements, expected to total £4m over five years.

Shoppers on Fargate, Sheffield

Shoppers on Fargate, Sheffield

Now the draft prospectus has set out how that money could be used, and extensive consultation has found that making the city centre busier is the most important aspect for firms.

Suggestions include enhancing festivals and events, creating a marketing strategy that will sell Sheffield as a tourist and business hotspot on an EU scale as well as using empty shops to make the city busier.

James Prince, BID chairman and managing director of Sheffield’s John Lewis branch, said: “Making the city centre busier is by far the biggest single element that has come out – the majority of people want a busier city centre.

“We’ve got a whole programme of events which are successful, we want to look at those and analyse them to see which sectors they benefit so we can put in place an enhanced events offer.

“There are a couple of areas of the city centre that have empty units, and that is down to compulsory purchase orders and regeneration, so we would like to work with the council to make these areas as attractive as we can while we wait for long-term investment.”

The ‘safer’ section of the Sheffield BID draft prospectus recommends working with organisations to get drinkers off the streets and into a ‘wet room’ to get them the assistance they need.

To reduce business crime, the police presence could be increased as well as the number of city centre ambassadors, who could also work longer hours.

Night time marshal schemes could also be looked at as part of the project.

To make the city ‘easier to navigate’ and use, improved signs, better parking including a coach park, and developing disability access are suggested.

A cleaner city centre could involve a free graffiti and street cleaning team available to businesses.

The BID will aim to help the public and private sectors together to improve the city centre.

Around 1,000 businesses will be represented, giving them a bigger say and influence in the city.

Feedback is now being sought on the draft prospectus, which is the last stage of consultation.

The majority of money will be spent on improvements, with 18 per cent paying for a manager and an assistant.

n Visit www.sheffieldbid.com to have your say.