DCSIMG

Sky is the limit for BID to improve Sheffield city centre

Sheffield City champions, from left, Prof Vannessa Toulmin, of Sheffield University, Sheffield Council head of city centre management and events Richard Eyre, Creative Space  managing director Toby Hyam and James Prince, managing director of Sheffield's John Lewis department store.

Sheffield City champions, from left, Prof Vannessa Toulmin, of Sheffield University, Sheffield Council head of city centre management and events Richard Eyre, Creative Space managing director Toby Hyam and James Prince, managing director of Sheffield's John Lewis department store.

  • by Ellen Beardmore
 

Imagine a water slide whizzing down Fargate - or Chinese New Year celebrations taking over the city centre.

The ideas may sound outlandish, but could come to life under new plans for Sheffield’s second business improvement district.

The proposal, in which hundreds of businesses unite to raise over £800,000 to spend on improvement projects, is going through public consultation.

In reality projects are more likely to include tackling the pressing problems of parking, street drinking and championing independent businesses in the city centre.

But the sky is, potentially, the limit, say the team of champions working behind the scenes on the project.

City centre manager Richard Eyre said: “This is a fantastic opportunity.

“There are 150 BIDs across the country, some install more hanging baskets or put events on. But it is aspirational as well - they had a big water slide in Bristol, we could do that if we wanted.

“We could think of things to put Sheffield on the map.”

The BID will go to a ballot of businesses later this year and, if a majority approve, could involve around 1,200 companies over five years.

Business owners will pay between £300 and £15,000 to be a part of it.

If approved, Sheffield Council would agree to maintain current city centre services such as ambassadors and Christmas lights at the current level for that period.

It would also mean businesses - ranging from independent shops to large retailers, and those in the night-time economy – had an increased lobbying power.

Project champion Toby Hyam, MD of Creative Spaces Management, which manages The Electric Works, said:“We need other businesses to see the city centre as a fantastic asset, not just those in South Yorkshire but across the UK.

“It’s about making a vibrant city centre.”

The project is looking to recruit more champions to the cause. They already include others such as Professor Vanessa Toulmin, the head of engagement at The University of Sheffield, who has worked on BID projects and wants to improve the city centre to attract students.

James Prince, manager of Sheffield’s John Lewis store and champions’ chairman, said most feedback had been positive.

He added: “I think this is the single biggest opportunity we have for the city centre in the next three to five years, before the retail quarter is brought to fruition.”

The next public consultation will be on Tuesday, July 1, at John Lewis. Visit www.sheffieldbid.com

 

Comments

 
 

Back to the top of the page