Retail plans

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On Wednesday I visited the demonstration of the proposed Retail Quarter, and was impressed by the concept and the young people who were explaining it. But one thought struck me, which I mentioned but was not able to spell out in the space allowed on the feedback form.

The Quarter should be a great place to visit between May, (if we are lucky) and October, (if we are lucky). But did the planners consider how it will attract shoppers and visitors during the rest of the year? We do not enjoy a Mediterranean (or even London) climate.

Meadowhall not only offers the big High Street chains and free parking, it also offers all-year-round comfort and convenience. The concept of Sheffield as ‘open’, (which was explained to me on my visit), is fine, but would it be compromised if car-users were able to carry their bags and trolleys from shop to car park without facing cold, wind and rain? Or coffee-drinkers? Open squares and alleys are great when it’s warm and dry.

Surely it’s not impossible, or undesirable, to create some space in which visitors can enjoy being ‘out-of-doors’ without freezing or soaking themselves? Ask the owners of the bars and coffee-shops whether they will have to provide space-heaters and awnings to attract their clients into the nice open spaces

Please, planners, think hard about the choice facing a winter shopper – city centre, Meadowhall or shop online? I know what I would opt for. I’ll be interested to see how many Sheffielders agree with me.

Professor Philip Davies