We all love Sheffield so here are our ideas for a better city centre

Skyline, by Lee Hibberd
Skyline, by Lee Hibberd
Have your say

Frustration ... that is the word that springs to mind when you ask Sheffielders about their city centre.

We all want it to be amazing and none of us quite understand why it isn’t.

At The Star we want to widen the debate to hear suggestions from people who live here.

Don’t get us wrong – there are lots of brilliant initiatives, events and shops already but we all want and need more, much more for Sheffield to truly boom.

We are leading the city centre debate in The Star and at www.thestar.co.uk as well as on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Lots of you have already been in touch – but we would love to hear from even more.

Wednesday’s Grand Prix proved a good starting point. Readers were quick to say it was “brilliant” but also highlighted the fact that while the city centre was packed with people, not one shop on Fargate had opened late for the event. They pointed out that stores in Leeds and Manchester are open until 8pm most evenings and would love the same to be true in Sheffield.

Everyone who got in touch wanted to stress that they absolutely love Sheffield and they have lots of ideas to make it better.

Their question was, Sheffield has lots worth celebrating so why not do that? Phil Ashford ‏believes we stop trying to ‘catch up’ Leeds or Manchester and capitalise on Sheffield’s uniqueness.

Joyce Bullivant agreed: “Put together some of the crafts people and artists in a special retail centre. Made in Sheffield is a unique selling point. We need new music venues, new museums and made in Sheffield retailers.”

Elizabeth Frampton is keen to see an Iceland frozen food store and a good old- fashioned tea shop, while Alyshea Jade is hoping for Selfridges or Harvey Nicholls, Mango and Jack Wills.

David Holmes also wants to raise the standard: “Why not have posh shops like Harvey Nicholls with a greeter on door?”

Transport is always a hot topic. Mamie Shafi believes cheaper bus fares would be a help, as does Gareth Lane: “Bus fares are a real problem for people on the estates increasingly trapped by expensive travel.”

But Rob Hadfield wants the opposite: “Less buses or even none for cleaner air and more shops like Nottingham town centre.”

Susan Sigger is one of many unhappy with the cost of parking: “I used to work on High Street in the early 80s and loved being in part of a thriving shopping centre. Free city centre parking would go a long way towards tempting me back.”

Meanwhile, Emma Nevinson summed up her idea for improving Sheffield with one word: “Ikea!”

Mikey Palmer is also keen to see Sheffield welcome Ikea and hopes the council is listening to our readers’ suggestions.

He believes Sheffield’s biggest plus point is the area around the Winter and Peace Gardens – and would like to see us creating “a fantastic shopping experience”.

Lee Swords has a radical suggestion. He wants to see the ‘deadwood’ bulldozed and replaced with Sheffield’s very own Central Park.

Jason Brockley is pleased with what is happening so far: “I am not really fussy about what shops, just as long as it doesn’t become really trendy and pretentious like Division Street.

“I think it’s nice that The Moor is being redeveloped and the style of the buildings brought a little more into this millennium. I always thought the buildings on The Moor were dull and ugly.”

And finally,Boris Q Plerne is not alone in thinking developers should not be allowed to keep the whole city hanging on: “Tell Hammerson to commit or go, they have kept us waiting far too long.”

It is not about talking Sheffield down – I want to be proud of my city

I am so sad to see Sheffield city centre in this state of permanent upheaval, of our council never quite getting it right with their planning, and I have no reason to think the new Sheffield City Centre Masterplan will be any different.

We have witnessed large- scale incompetence with the disastrous Sevenstone plans and our council’s reluctance to issue an ultimatum to Hammerson to either commit to the project or withdraw and let another developer take over.

Sheffield continues with its lack of vision and dithers while other cities such as Leeds get on with making their cities successful.

This is not about talking Sheffield down – I want to be proud of the city in which I was born. I am old enough to remember when Sheffield city centre was an attractive, vibrant place to visit, full of quality shops and restaurants, and had character.

I had to smile when I heard it announced that a cinema is to be built on The Moor, just below Debenhams, where demolition of some shops has recently taken place.

We did in fact have several city centre cinemas which have all been demolished over the years by the council.

One I am thinking about, The Gaumont in Barker’s Pool, would be fit for purpose even today as it was a multi-screen cinema with large seating capacity, and had an elegant lounge area where one could have tea and coffee before the film, and an excellent restaurant. This cinema, and another called The Hippodrome, were quite unique and multi-purpose, as they could also accommodate a full theatre company and stage shows, and I remember seeing Tom Jones perform there.

One of the main features of The Gaumont, like many other cinemas, was that both the outside and interior of the building were elegant and this is what greatly enhanced a trip to the cinema when they were at the height of their popularity.

What a travesty that these wonderful places were reduced to a pile of rubble and lost to future generations, like many other little gems this city once had.

I find the neglect of many of our older buildings – such as the old GPO in Fitzalan Square and the old court building on Castle Street – an absolute disgrace.

Recently on my way to the station I had to use the underpass that leads from the bottom of Arundel Gate to the top of Pond Street. To my disgust it was in the same filthy and rundown state it was 20 years ago, and the council have been promising to clean it up for years.

You will no doubt have gathered that the state of deterioration in the city centre, which is like a continual building site, is a sore point.

Susan Richardson