Plan to breathe new life into vacant Sheffield city spaces backed by public

Urban drawing - Devonshire Quarter
Urban drawing - Devonshire Quarter
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A scheme to breathe new life into underused public spaces and buildings in areas such as Devonshire Quarter, Wellington Street and the Wicker has been backed by members of the public.

Wicker has been backed by members of the public.

The plan involves using Sheffield Community Land Trusts - grassroots organisations run by members of the public - to transform vacant retail units, office spaces and industrial sites into places to work, live and play.

Students from the University of Sheffield’s School of Architecture presented their proposals at various sites across the city, including Sheffield railway station, last Tuesday.

They spoke to more than 200 people and a university spokeswoman said the “overwhelming response was of support for community led initiatives as an alternative approach to regeneration.”

Dr Cristina Cerulli, lecturer in the School of Architecture, said: “We are really excited that we were able to discuss our ideas about Community Land Trusts and a more community-led development of Sheffield’s city centre with a whole range of people, who were very positive in engaging with our ideas.”

The students have identified five city centre sites where they believe the CLT’s could work.

Their proposals include creating a more diverse Devonshire Quarter, instigating a community-led approach to enable Wellington Street to fulfil its potential as a vibrant street and introducing flexible spaces for graduates to live and work in the Fargate area.

Transforming the Wicker into a gateway to the city centre through a long term affordable housing strategy and a women-led urban development of houses and public spaces on the borders of Burngreave, Wicker and Darnall are also part of the scheme.

The CLT’s were first developed by Sheffield based social enterprise architecture practice Studio Polpo.

Students are now working with the studio to engage with the community to discuss ways of getting the CLT’s fully up and running.

The exhibition of work will remain at Sheffield railway station for members of the public to see until June 13.