Editor of The Star Nancy Fielder revealed her city wish list for 2017 last week and asked readers for their own. Email yours to her at firstname.lastname@example.org and here’s Star reader Andrew Parkinson’s thoughts...
1 tourist destination
Much has been written about Sheffield being a tourist destination and how we can hold our own against Leeds, Hull and Nottingham etc. We should be competing with Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Lisbon, Rome and Paris etc. We may not have the history to match but it isn’t about that, it’s about having the right ethos and mind-set. We need to learn from others by more than doubling the budget and encourage inward investment. We are proving what is possible with the recent Chinese investment.
2 solution to littering issue
If it is possible to use by-laws to change attitudes I would like to see all businesses and land owners take responsibility for the litter on their land. Some of the worst examples of littering can be seen on and around supermarkets, DIY stores, office buildings, car parks etc. I suggest that if a complaint is made about a quantity of litter the council should have the power to warn the owners to rectify the problem before council workers do the clearing and charge for the work done.
3 HS2 and HS3 must coordinate
If one believes in the Northern Powerhouse then HS3 will make it work and needs to be fully integrated into planning for the HS2 scheme. The Sheffield loop could terminate at a new Parkway station, allowing tram, road and train connections to Sheffield centre, Rotherham, Doncaster airport, Chesterfield etc. There would be enough room here for commuter parking, hotels and retail. If the loop is forced to continue through Sheffield and Chesterfield the high speed aspect would be lost, alongside any benefits.
4 Midland Station environs
Whether or not HS2-3 does enter the Midland station, there needs to be a rethink of the landscape and function of the surroundings of the bus and rail stations. I believe it would be advisable to close off Sheaf Street to through traffic in order to create a new and extended station from the existing station to Pond Hill. A separate platform here could also house the light rail tram within the same concourse. As Sheaf Street is part of the inner ring road at the moment, this needs to be redirected around the station. This would be a major civil engineering project with great benefits as it would take traffic over the railway line as a flyover to join up with the Parkway at a large roundabout and travelling on to the north of the city.
5 Linking bus and rail stations
To facilitate the progress of pedestrians from the city centre to the station a continuation of Surrey Street over Arundel Gate as an elevated walkway/bridge. This could be done in collaboration with the new central library hotel whose east wall refurbishment is long overdue. The bridge could be integrated into the Adsetts Building where a glass covered escalator could carry people down to Pond Street level.
6 South Yorkshire tram
Much of the South Yorkshire taxpaying public do not benefit from the Sheffield tram. If on the other hand the tram was built as a light rail hybrid in the first place every town in the area could have benefitted.
7 Buses rather than trams?
There are many busy routes around Sheffield that could benefit from an extended tram system but the cost is prohibitive. A cheaper solution is for new style buses to take on this role, doing almost the same job but without the track and expense of such infrastructure. The buses could be hybrid electric/hydrogen.
8 plea for long term planning
Much of what I’m suggesting is for the long term but if we could start that now I would like to see the council provide the city with a three-year to 30-year plan for how they see the city developing. As each three, five and 10- year plan is reviewed it would be altered to fit changing circumstances. This way short-termism and blinkered thinking would be less likely. One failed project that comes to mind is the revision of Chesterfield Road through Woodseats. The planners saw it as a traffic calming solution for a busy shopping area. Where in fact what was needed, long term, was a way to ease more traffic through what is a bottleneck by widening the road (compulsory purchasing properties where necessary) and improve the on road and off road parking.
9 Cycle-ways and parks
Many thousands of pounds have been spent on cycle ways around the city streets. Often for the incredulous and frustrated motorist and cyclist they are a waste of time and effort. Like bus lanes they start and stop in the most incomprehensible manner. If the council want to assist the cyclist they need to create dedicated cycle-ways or more likely pathway-cycleway combinations. With so many parks in Sheffield I would like to see if they too can’t be linked together via green paths, i.e. wildlife friendly routes, tunnels and tree bridges.
It would be completely irresponsible to allow further development around Meadowhall without allocation of funds to improve roads and transport in general. Solutions can be found even if it means creating a new junction on the M1. Sheffielders will have to pay for it if they want this development.
11 re-rating for council tax
Is it not time for properties in the city to be re-rated to reflect the increased value people have seen in the past 30 years? Politically sensitive no doubt, but something needs to be done to avert distortions in the markets and disproportionate accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few.
12 Moving the city centre
Considering how many parks and green spaces Sheffield can boast it is a pity there isn’t a civic park or parade on the scale many other cities enjoy. The Peace Gardens, though greatly valued, is now much reduced in size. The Town Hall has little space in front and the war memorial is awkwardly placed. Likewise we don’t value or make full use of our rivers in the way other cities do.
13 Energy generation
Is it not time Sheffield had wind turbines encircling the city, displaying our green credentials to everyone and lowering energy costs? In off-peak periods they could be used to produce hydrogen to fuel council vehicles and buses.
14 Help for phantom businesses
This is a plea to help businesses, perhaps before they even realise they need it. As we know Britain needs to export its goods and Sheffield should be a leading light in that regard. Yet many of the city’s businesses are just ticking over, just getting by and one thing we know in business is that if you are standing still you are inevitably falling behind.
15 Cricket dream
The area below the old ski village would make a good place for a cricket stadium. Imagine Yorkshire cricket returning. One can dream.