THE STAR SAYS: It’s time to be positive on ambitious ideas

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Sheffielders have good reason to be sceptical of shiny new developments that promise to transform their city.

Long-suffering residents have now waited more than a decade for a new retail quarter in the city centre.

Sevenstone failed, while projects in other cities flourished, and the new retail quarter will not be completed in full until 2021 - provided that it actually goes ahead in the first place.

So there will be many who view today’s coverage of the Sheffield Business Improvement District with a critical eye.

We don’t blame them - for ambition is a good servant, but a bad master.

Weatherproofing parts of the city centre - perhaps with a giant umbrella or retracting roof, who knows - sounds like pie-in-the-sky stuff at first glance.

A city tour bus, well I can think of many people who would claim visitors would have little to see, and others who would say it would never happen.

But other cities up and down the country have attractions like these. Sheffield deserves them too.

And the business improvement district is going to happen.

After two years of work, it launches in September. Interviews this week will pick a manager and a first year plan of work has been produced.

The project leaders, and Sheffield’s businesses, deserve credit for getting it to this stage.

BIDs around the country have been successful.

In Sheffield there are many ideas in the plan which answer long held concerns about the basic needs of the city centre.

Toilets opened for public use - at last, after years of shoppers sneaking into coffee shops or department stores to spend a penny.

Finally, there will be a review on parking.

New signage, extra police, graffiti removal, using empty shops - this isn’t reaching for the stars, but it will make a massive difference to those using the city centre on a daily basis.

If these things can happen, and they look set to, then who is to say that our city centre can’t be made a year round destination?

Let’s look at the possibility of getting a roof on Fargate and bringing shoppers back to the city centre when it rains. Let’s tell the tour bus companies why they should come.

Yes, it might be too expensive, but we will never know unless it is examined in the first place.

Now is the time to be - cautiously - ambitious.