"We want the people of Sheffield to have a big say" - vow of company tasked with new vision for city's closed John Lewis

The company bosses tasked with providing a vision for the future development of Sheffield’s John Lewis store say they will put residents at the heart of their plan.

By Steven Ross
Monday, 12th July 2021, 6:00 am
John Lewis in Sheffield City Centre did not reopen following lockdown. Picture: Chris Etchells
John Lewis in Sheffield City Centre did not reopen following lockdown. Picture: Chris Etchells

When Sheffield Council put out a plea for help creating a plan to develop the former Cole Brothers store after the retailer decided to prematurely end their lease, Fourth Street responded.

Fourth Street is a placemaking company which provides strategic and commercial advice to unique destinations and unusual property developments.

Dan Anderson, director, told the Sheffield Telegraph that no plan had yet been agreed on but he recognised the importance of getting it right.

Dan Anderson, director of Fourth Street, thinks that Sheffield is full of potential

Dan said: “It’s an important building and it’s sensitive for locals.

“We are just doing research into what can be approved, what has feasibility, to get to a point where we can find questions to take to people.

“Of course we want the people of Sheffield to have a big say.

Dan said that following a period of research, Fourth Street would consult with Sheffielders to understand what direction they would like to see taken with the store.

Messages and hearts outside John Lewis in Sheffield show the depth of feeling locals have for the store. Picture: Chris Etchells

He added: “We don’t want to go out with an open question, we want to understand what is in the realms of possibility, and then ask what people would like. That makes more sense.

“We love Sheffield, I think Sheffield is absolutely full of opportunity. It’s a great place to live.

“It’s an important building, people have strong feelings about it.

"There’s a tug of urgency to make sure a future for it is defined. But it’s so important that we can’t rush it and we need to go through it step by step.

"The important stage will be the consultation period with local people.”

Fourth Street has previously carried out work for Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, and Sheffield Central Library and Graves Art Gallery, among other locations.

Dan said that while Fourth Street had conducted a small study into the gallery in Sheffield’s central library building several years ago, there were no plans to combine it with John Lewis into one city-wide project.