Romance for Sheffield’s Love Square garden and cafe is rekindled

An artist's impression of Love Square
An artist's impression of Love Square
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The ambition of creating a new ‘pocket park’ on a disused plot of land off West Bar in Sheffield is gathering momentum again.

Plans for Love Square, at the bottom of Snig Hill on the corner of West Bar and Bridge Street, were first announced in 2014, when the project was shortlisted for lottery funding from the Grow Wild organisation.

The scheme, led by Professor Nigel Dunnett of Sheffield University’s Department of Landscape, lost out to Manchester and Liverpool.

But now a planning application has been lodged with Sheffield Council.

Hopes are still high that the small ‘eco-park’ can become a reality, now that the first phase of the Grey to Green project - brightening up the roads from West Bar to Castlegate with trees and landscaping - has been completed.

The university is working with the council and Urbo Regeneration - the firm behind the £250m West Bar Square development of offices, shops and apartments - on Love Square. The colourful wildflower park will house a temporary café made from two converted shipping containers, donated by the university.

The café, designed by Studio Van Hoorebeek and with a planned opening date of this summer, will be clad in timber, with windows looking out over the park, a green roof and habitats for insects and birds.

There is a ‘clear need’ for such an outlet to serve nearby businesses such as Home Office and Irwin Mitchell, and it is estimated that 3,000 walk past the Love Square site each day, a statement to planning officers says.

“This is a unique, small scale, temporary proposal and as such, in conclusion, it is estimated to have extremely minimal negative impact upon the retail trade within the city centre,” it adds.

“If anything, it may well encourage people to venture further up the hill and into the centre, coffee in hand.”

The site is ‘neglected, ignored and unkempt’ at present, says the statement.

Love Square is intended to be a temporary feature while West Bar Square is built over a 10-year period.