KING Edward VII stands proud – but the scene below him has room for improvement...
Fitzalan Square, home to the monarch’s statue, was once one of Sheffield’s busiest areas, home to the main post office and a hub for comings and goings between the bus station and markets.
It was also a gathering point for rallies in years gone by, including during the 1926 General Strike.
But the ornate post office building is now derelict. The old police station and hot food kiosks in the centre of the square are unused. And skateboarders who gather regularly to practise have taken chunks out of the stone plinth on which ‘King Ted’ stands.
Newsagent Adbul Hanash, who has owned Central News on Fitzalan Square for five years, said: “The area still has quite a lot of folk walking through, but it needs to be made somewhere people want to come to.
“The main thing would be to do something about the old post office, which is a beautiful building but in such a state.
“The square could also do with some railings around King Edward VII’s statue to stop the skateboarders doing any further damage. And the old food kiosk and police station could do with being brought back into use.”
Passer-by Ian Damms, of Frecheville, added: “The old post office is a bit of an eyesore. There are also sometimes a few down-and-outs on the benches in the middle. It could do with improvement.”
But at Castle Market, views were mixed on ideas to create a new park and expose the ruins of the old fortress beneath the current complex, once stalls are moved to a new market on The Moor. Heather Crabtree, aged 19, from Maltby, a shop assistant in Sheffield city centre, was enthusiastic. She said: “I think it is a good idea, although the site will be a bit out of the way when the market goes.”
But others questioned the council’s decision to move the markets in the first place and said the money required to build the park could be better spent elsewhere.
Single mum Kayleigh Trowbridge, 23, of Firth Park, said: “My ex would say the new park is a good idea because he is into historical things, but the remains of the castle which have been found so far are just a few blocks on show in a room under the market. The project would be a waste of money when cuts are being made elsewhere and I don’t think they’ll find very much more of the castle if they excavate the site. The market should not be moved.”
A Sheffield Council spokesman said of the Fitzalan Square proposals: “There are pre-application discussions taking place with the owners of the old post office and we are expecting a formal application towards the middle of next year.”