Editor’s Comment: These are the things Sheffield needs in 2018

Artist's impression of the new McLaren factory at the AMRC
Artist's impression of the new McLaren factory at the AMRC
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Have your say

It is the time of year to make resolutions so your Star team has been working with Sheffielders to set our own agenda for 2018.

You could call them demands. I would like to look at them as resolutions for our city but they do certainly put demands on this city’s leaders to crack on in the next 12 months and get them sorted.

The Moor

The Moor

We want to see plenty of development this year and an increase in the number of cranes, which is already pretty impressive.

But there are specific issues which are far too important to be allowed to run on without being nailed down and complete.

Leah’s Yard

Sorting out this heritage gem is more than what it seems. It is representative of getting the whole area around Cambridge Street finally moving.

Leah's Yard, which is within the retail quarter site.

Leah's Yard, which is within the retail quarter site.

The possibilities for the former little mesters’ complex are wonderful if you show a bit of imagination.

It could be the beating heart of tourism in the city centre, a nod to the city’s proud past yet deliciously modern.

How about a combination of museums, independent shops and cafes? Personally, I’d throw in a genuine little mester to delight visitors, just like at Kelham Island Museum.

Leah’s Yard, nestled between the Tap and Tankard and The Benjamin Huntsman pubs on Cambridge Street, has been covered in scaffolding for months due to fears about its structural integrity.

Sheffield Sharks are 'within reach' of a 4 million arena.

Sheffield Sharks are 'within reach' of a 4 million arena.

It must not remain abandoned and an embarrassment. It has been the focus of numerous plans over the years yet no actual action.

It was in such a state in 2012 English Heritage named the Grade II*-listed building as one of the 10 most at risk sites in Yorkshire and the Humber. We must ensure 2018 is the year we end that madness and make the most of a genuinely unique Sheffield asset.

Sharks

Believe it or not there is more to sport than football.

The McLaren factory being built.

The McLaren factory being built.

Sheffield has some brilliant sporting facilities but there are clear gaps when you compare us to other cities of similar sizes. One of those is basketball.

Sheffield Sharks have secured 70 per cent of the £4 million needed to build a 2,500-seat indoor sports arena on the old Don Valley Stadium site. Council officials and politicians must give the help needed to get this building up in 2018.

It isn’t just because ‘minority’ sports clubs deserve our support. It is because the Sharks, like so many under-appreciated clubs, perform wonders in the community with little acknowledgement.

Perhaps most urgently, the Sharks base is integral to the whole Olympic Legacy Park scheme design.

What will the hundreds of school children use as an indoor sports hall without it? Come on Sheffield. Let’s get behind a great scheme that could give so much back...if only we support it from dream to reality.

Eagles

Sheffield Eagles' Scott Wheeldon. Picture: Andrew Roe

Sheffield Eagles' Scott Wheeldon. Picture: Andrew Roe

This city is more than big enough to be home to its own Rugby League club - and get supporters through the gates in big numbers.

We must make sure Sheffield Eagles are back in Sheffield before the end of the year.

Anything else should make everyone connected to sport in this city hang their head in shame.

Eagles have been without a proper home since 2013 when Don Valley Stadium was demolished.

Things are looking hopeful after discussions between the club, Sheffield Council and Olympic Legacy Park Ltd ended with a plan that should come to fruition this year.

The new 3,000 seater stand with semi-permanent terraces will be built in the long term but temporary seating structures, toilets, security, PA systems and other match day facilities will be ready for February to satisfy Rugby League requirements.

Eagles have played at four different venues in as many years, the last being Wakefield. Attendances have fallen by around two-thirds since their move away from Sheffield. Let’s bring them home and then get out there and show them the support they deserve.

More big name stores

This one goes without saying – but I will keep on saying it until there is no need. Sheffield city centre is screaming out for more big name shops. There is a painful lack of clothing stores and it stops so many of us spending our money where we should.

We know H&M are on the move to a much bigger shop on The Moor. There are also rumours around Next. But we need to do all we can to attract more names for 2018.

In terms of improvements, The Moor has really led the way in 2017 and it is so much better than it has been for ages.

Now we need to get our act together and finally seal the New Retail Quarter deal this year in order to make it a reality.

John Lewis must commit and our leaders must do all they can to push them over the line.

Pride and city centre are intrinsically linked. Footfall is growing but it isn’t enough. It must be top of Sheffield’s 2018 resolutions so it can be top of all our shopping lists.

McLaren

This is the least obvious resolution for 2018 – because it was a huge celebration in 2017 and work is well under way.

The internationally celebrated car brand picked Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre to make its carbon-fibre chassis.

They did it because Sheffield was keen, jumped at the opportunity and had the talent needed. Such a massive name is a game-changer and will attract other firms in on the back of the McLaren success.

This puts Sheffield in the premier division of inward investment destinations.

Companies across the globe will be asking why McLaren picked here.

We need to be doing all we can to make it clear that the skills, expertise and enthusiasm at the AMRC are unrivalled.

So let’s take the incredible opportunity which follows McLaren and bring in more of the same.

How did we do last year?

We haven’t got a magic wand at The Star but we have got a very loud voice and are pleased to get stroppy on your behalf. If last year was anything to go by, we should be making more resolutions whether it is new year or not.

Last January we called for South Yorkshire and beyond to back Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

I am delighted that 2017 was its busiest year ever. Do keep thinking local when you book this year’s holidays and fly from the airport which is less than 25 minutes drive from Sheffield city centre.

There are always mixed reactions to expansion plans but Meadowhall’s leisure centre scheme will be an enormous plus for Sheffield.

Planning permission has now been granted, topped off with cash for road improvements in the area.

And, of course, Ikea is now finally open. There have been tangible improvements in Sheffield city centre and it is worth taking time out to appreciate just how far The Moor has come.

The city centre shows no sign of coming off our wishlist any time soon though – so bring on 2018 improvements.

Sheffield football could be described as a city of two halves at the minute.

The Blades have certainly ensured our wishes were granted and continue to do so this season.

Owls fans aren’t feeling quite so positive but, on the bright side, the appointment of a new manager should bring an imminent boost.

Whatever your wishes for 2018, make sure you back your own city.

* What would your resolutions be for Sheffield in 2018? Call me on 0114 2767676 ext 3459, email nancy.fielder@jpress.co.uk or write to Nancy Fielder, Editor, The Star, The Balance, 2 Pinfold Street, Sheffield, S1 2GU.