“Listen to us.” That is the message from city centre independent retailers if the new £480million New Retail Quarter is to be a success.
It would seem logical that retailers are consulted before work begins but will their views be taken into account?
The message is clear; investment is welcome but input from businesses is needed to make sure it hears from the very people who are operating stores right now in the city centre. Every day these shops are opened to serve the public and have to contend with parking charges and a city centre which is pretty much closed as a retail destination from 6pm.
The argument goes that big brands aren’t going to come into the city centre and pay big rents for half a day’s trading.
Meadowhall, where they’re already planning their own multi-million pound refurbishment and will be welcoming thousands of students for a world record attempt later this month, is open 10am until 10pm and offers free parking.
No one said the challenge of reinvigorating Sheffield city centre is going to be easy but to make life easier the people who know the conditions best should be consulted, listened to and be very much part of the process.