Independent shops in Sheffield could be ‘championed’ to compete with Meadowhall under plans for a new business force.
Other proposals for the city’s second Business Improvement District (BID) include an ‘anti street-drinking’ policy to crack down on problem areas such as Devonshire Green and behind Sheffield Cathedral.
The views of staff from around 650 firms in the city centre are being collated this week in the final stage of business consultation and a draft proposal has been introduced.
James Prince, managing director of Sheffield’s John Lewis store and chairman of the BID champion group, said: “Our plans for the legacy section of the project are in the early stages but one of the ideas is creating a way to champion and start up independent businesses in the city centre.
“There are many strong local businesses, particularly on Division Street, and we want to develop them.
“One thing Meadowhall will never have is that range of independent businesses so it is a point of difference - what we can have is lots of little quirky shops.
“As a BID our role would be to champion them. This is 650 businesses coming together for the first time.”
Nightclubs, pubs and bars as well as shops – from larger retailers to small family firms – are involved in the scheme to boost trade.
A priority for the night-time economy was cutting back on street drinking, while other ideas to improve trade include more city centre events, solutions to parking and extra city centre ambassadors.
Mr Prince added: “There are certain areas of the city centre which are blighted by street drinking, including Devonshire Green and behind the cathedral.
“We want to work with all the authorities to create some way for these people to go where they need to and get help.”
A public consultation on the BID will take place on Tuesday, June 3 in the Winter Garden from 6pm. A ballot will be held towards the end of the year to decide if it should go ahead.