Opinion

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New start, fresh hope

After all the talk about Sheffield’s city centre shopping scheme, we have action. The council and developer Hammerson have parted company on the Sevenstone project after the company failed to commit to a construction date. We think this is in everyone’s best interests. Hammerson has delivered nothing and there was no prospect of this changing, so it is right that the council should look for a new partner. This opens the authority’s options and means it can now look at a scheme which puts greater focus on the established strength of the city centre, namely the excellence of its independent retailers. One of the main criticisms of Sevenstone was that that it didn’t look after independent retailers and was focused on big stores. But a walk down Division Street reveals a delightful choice of original stores. They draw on the creativity which has always been Sheffield’s strength and we feel the new shopping scheme should celebrate this spirit. With Ikea and Next coming to Sheffield, this is a key moment in the city’s development. We need our city centre to thrive as a shopping centre and if it complements these big names everyone wins. We are optimistic about the future as so much good work has already been done in the city centre. The Peace Gardens, Winter Gardens, Millennium Gallery, station redevelopment and the Moor are great examples of regeneration. Now is the time for a shopping scheme to match and we trust the council will vigorously find a new partner to give this city what it deserves.

Fare play to youth MPs

The youth MPs who successfully campaigned for cheaper bus travel deserve our congratulations. It is good to see young people getting involved with politics and learning the value of lobbying. Credit also to bosses who listened to the case and reduced the cost of public transport during the summer holidays. All parties benefit from this, which shows why there is strength in unity.