Editor: Action needs to be taken now on uniquely Steel City scheme

‘Not to be negative, but I’ve seen many of these headlines in The Star over the years.’

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 6:40 am
Updated Thursday, 4th November 2021, 10:12 am
John Lews in Sheffield City Centre is set to close. Picture: Chris Etchells

‘This is great and I’m all for it, so long as they don’t go at it half arsed and it ends up another National Centre for Popular Music.’

‘Less talk more action – Sheffield Council needs to push though the planning and work with the developers and brand to make this a reality quickly! It’s exactly what the city centre needs along with something similar for snooker!’

Those are just three of the many responses I had following The Star’s story yesterday about incredible plans by one of the biggest brands in the world to invest £100m to get the lights back on in Coles and finally tell our story of being the Home of Football.

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Instead of unbridled joy at what should be a game changer for Sheffield, the instant response was that they believed our local authority would mess up the deal of a lifetime, once again.

The Star understands that this idea was sent to the Town Hall in the summer.

We also believe there is already frustration that little has progressed so far.

In his first interview as leader, with The Star just four months ago, Terry Fox said he was prepared to ‘talk to anyone’, ‘go wherever’, ‘grab any opportunity’ and ‘do what he needed to do’ to make the city successful. Yes, please – now is the time!

Consultations, next year, are fine but they can’t be allowed to hold big deals back.

If there truly are several fantastic ideas for Coles, backed by real money, then I can name a dozen crumbling spots within a few seconds of walk of Barker’s Pool which are desperately in need of such vision. Consult all you want over those.

This one, the first proper bid to reclaim the game we invented, needs to move fast. The city won’t be forgiving over anything else.

Of course, we can’t be silly or negligent but these delays are not diligence checks or the planning process – they are self imposed.

This is, after all, the council that treated one of its own elected members utterly appallingly by taking 12 months to investigate a complaint rather than the expected 12 weeks.

What investor would want to wait almost a year before getting feedback?

They should step up and go public with their name as soon as possible and our council needs to focus on moving this forward in weeks wholeheartedly – not after consultations.