Two of Sheffield’s most historic city centre districts will soon look very different, as a £10 million revamp gets underway.
Fitzalan Square will be transformed, with traffic diverted to its west to vastly expand the pedestrianised section, and buildings at the top of Esperanto Place being demolished to open up views to Norfolk Place.
The Castlegate area will also get a major facelift, with planting, expanded footpaths and new public art among the measures designed to brighten up the district, improve links between the waterfront at Victoria Quays and Kelham Island and bolster flood defences.
Work at Fitzalan Square is already underway, while improvements in Castlegate - which are an extension of the award-winning Grey to Green scheme completed around West Bar - are expected to begin this spring.
Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment at Sheffield Council, said: “Sheffielders will soon be able to enjoy a vibrant transformation taking place in two of the city’s most historic areas.
“Work to improve Fitzalan Square will rightly reflect its proud heritage as the scene of many occasions in the city’s history. And the Grey To Green scheme will allow the Castlegate transformation to continue, instilling new pride in the area whilst also creating sustainable flood defences that keep Sheffield safer.”
Work on the Marples footway at Fitzalan Square is due to take place in March, with the creation of a new public space outside Sheffield Institute of Arts, the former head post office, starting in April and set for completion in late May.
The rest of the paving work in the square will also get underway in April and is due to be finished in August, work on Flat Street is ongoing and should be completed in early March.
The buildings at the top of Esperanto Place are set to be demolished at the end of March, after which council contractor Amey will begin work on steps and landscaping between Arundel Gate and Esperanto Place, which is scheduled for completion later this year.
In the Castlegate area, the former inner ring road from Exchange Place to Blonk Street will be narrowed, opening up access to Victoria Quays by foot and bike. There will also be new meadows and cycleways, expanded footways, street furniture and public art.
Sheffield Council believes this will boost the district’s regeneration, encouraging more cafes, bars and restaurants to open there, joining the Two Rivers Cafe which is nearing completion in the long-derelict public toilets at the corner of Blonk Street.
Work at each site will cost £5 million, with the bulk of funding coming from Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and Sheffield City Council, and additional contributions from Sheffield Hallam University and the Canal and Rivers Trust.