Property experts throw support behind £10m Sheffield travel shake up that will 'create jobs'

Property experts have thrown their support behind plans for a traffic ban on a major road in Sheffield city centre, saying high quality public spaces create jobs.

By David Walsh
Tuesday, 22nd December 2020, 12:30 pm

Sheffield Property Association has welcomed the £10m Connecting Sheffield proposals which include the permanent closure of Pinstone Street to traffic and the re-routing of 27 bus services.

Members believe a more attractive environment attracts new employers leading to new offices, hotels and city living, which boosts shops, cafes and bars.

The S-PA has more than 70 members who represent the big land owning and development businesses in the city, along with a wide range of professional property organisations who work all over the country.

Pinstone Street in Sheffield was pedestrianised during the pandemic, which could be made permanent.

Chair Martin McKervey, said the plans showed ‘real ambition’.

He added: “We welcome the proposals. Alongside the Heart of the City project, they show a level of real ambition to improve the look and feel of the city centre and should help to facilitate growth in a sustainable way.

“High quality public spaces and an attractive environment, with a range of options to get about, is a key part of attracting new employers to the city. This then stimulates the development of new offices and hotels to create jobs, and increases demand for city centre living. All of this is key to supporting a thriving retail offer and new cafes, bars and restaurants to make the city centre a dynamic place for everyone to visit.”

Connecting Sheffield proposals also include a network of new cycle routes, the closure of Surrey Street to traffic, the partial closure of Arundel Gate, priority bus gates on Furnival Gate, extensive planting and landscaping, a pocket park on Furnival Square and a bus hub on Rockingham Street.

Map showing location of new bus stops after 27 services were re-routed from Pinstone Street.

They are supported by organisations including bus companies, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, Cycle Sheffield, the Greens, the Lib Dems, Sheffield City Region and scores of people among more than 500 who have commented on the project’s website.

Sheffield City Council says they create simpler, more direct bus routes to cut congestion, improve reliability and air quality.

Pinstone Street was closed to traffic in June. Bus services have moved to Arundel Gate and Rockingham Street, sparking protests from some passengers and businesses over the extra distance to shopping areas including Fargate.

Transport for London’s ‘Travel in London Report 13’ details the success of a pedestrianisation scheme by Wandsworth Council in summer.

Dame Sarah Storey has won 14 gold medals to become Britain’s leading female Paralympian of all time.(Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

It closed several streets to traffic including Bedford Hill which had unanimous support from hospitality businesses which could put tables and chairs out. On average shops reported trade was up 30 per cent year on year for July and August.Meanwhile James Cleeton, director for England South at walking and cycling charity Sustrans, states: “Evidence abounds showing that in fact pedestrianisation generally has a positive or neutral effect economically.”

Shop vacancy rates are five times higher on streets with high levels of traffic and retail turnover in pedestrianised areas generally out-performs non-pedestrian areas, he claims. And retailers tend to significantly overestimate how many customers travel by car, and hence overestimate the number of parking spaces they require.”

Connecting Sheffield is set to be paid for through the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund which awarded £166m to the Sheffield City Region.

Dame Sarah Storey, Sheffield City Region’s active travel commissioner, said she was delighted by the strategy which was ‘exactly what is needed for local authorities to deliver an integrated transport system that works for everyone.’

Martin McKervey, chair of the Sheffield Property Association.

She added: “When Mayor Dan Jarvis appointed me, it was to develop region-wide plans for a better connected place where walking and cycling becomes the natural choice for short journeys, or as part of a longer journey involving public transport.

“We are therefore very supportive and having already secured initial funding through the Transforming Cities Fund and Active Travel Fund will be able to see the first Connecting Sheffield schemes inside the next year or two.

“Connecting Sheffield will play a key role in delivering on many parts of the region’s Active Travel Implementation Plan and importantly ensure people are involved in the plans being implemented.

“When I was appointed active travel commissioner I made a pledge to be led by communities and this is a significant objective of the Connecting Sheffield strategy so I urge everybody in Sheffield to share their views and experiences.

“It’s vital we hear from everyone so the information can be combined with what we’ve already learned from our interactive map and shape the schemes accordingly.

“Health and well-being must be at the heart of our recovery from the pandemic and strategies that reduce pollution by reducing car ownership, increase activity levels and create neighbourhoods where disabled people aren’t trapped in their homes by inconsiderate parking, are going to be vital in getting local economies moving and reducing our overall health bill.”

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