A consultation is starting on the next phase of a scheme that aims to brighten up nearly a mile of roads in parts of Sheffield city centre.
The second stage of the council's Grey to Green project will cost £6 million, focusing on the streets around Castlegate and bringing trees, plants and flowers as well as pedestrianised zones, better cycle paths and other measures.
Just under £3.5 million was spent on the initial phase, which was completed in 2016 and encompassed parts of the former inner ring road between West Bar and Lady's Bridge, winning several awards.
Colourful floral meadow beds, designed with help from Prof Nigel Dunnett of Sheffield University, were put down together with five public art 'totems' and a drainage system that soaks up water to cut the risk of flooding. The under-used carriageway along West Bar was narrowed from four lanes to two, and the team also contributed to Love Square, a 'pocket park' on an empty site at the bottom of Snig Hill that will soon be home to a café in a recycled shipping container.
The council says the programme has already stimulated investment. West Bar Square - a £175 million development of offices, a hotel and more - is on the way, apartments have been created and the empty Crown House building opposite the law courts has ropened as student flats.
Work on stage two is to start early in 2019, with completion expected by the end of the year. Among the proposals are the closure of Castlegate to vehicles except for loading, a bus gate on Blonk Street, a weight restriction on Exchange Place and different access arrangements on Castle Street and Waingate.
The scheme will tie in with the ambition of reviving the area following the closure and demolition of Castle Market. The council wants to uncover the River Sheaf under the old market site, creating a new park, and to excavate what remains of the castle. The old Co-op department store on Angel Street is becoming a £3m hub for digital firms and campaigners hope the abandoned Old Town Hall on Waingate can be revived too.
Coun Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment, said: “These are exciting times for Castlegate and the wider area. Everywhere you look you can see the energy of new ideas and opportunities, and extending Grey To Green is a key part of this.
“The initial scheme has completely transformed the former inner ring road and created a magical walkway full of unusual plants and flowers. It has deserved its many successes and given Sheffield’s Outdoor City credentials a real boost. Now the skills of the council’s team of designers and external partners will be brought back to breathe new life into Castlegate and the surrounding area.”
The project is being paid for by the council and Sheffield City Region. Money from the EU is also being sought. Phase three will extend the Grey to Green principle towards Kelham Island, once funding becomes available.
The consultation starts on Thursday, March 1, and finishes on March 23. Drop-in sessions are happening on Tuesday, March 6, from 11am to 2pm, and Wednesday, March 7, from 4pm to 7pm, at OVO Spaces in Terminal Warehouse Two on Victoria Quays. For details email project co-ordinator Lucia Lorente-Arnau on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0114 2736673.