Editor: We need to be ready for big disruption if we want better

We aren’t brave enough and ambitious enough as a city to completely throw off the shackles of the past and come out fighting, are we?

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 6:40 am
Park Square
Supertram bridge
Ponds Forge
Park Square Supertram bridge Ponds Forge

That was my first reaction to the huge plans to develop Park Square into a new centre for homes, hotels, offices and leisure – an overused word used to cover all kinds of things with no real explanation.

Of course, the scheme on today's front page would mean the end of what I was always brought up to believe was the biggest roundabout in Europe and that wouldn't be a bad thing.

I appreciate it is hard to imagine such a great scheme being conceived in the Town Hall and actually becoming reality, but part of that has to be blamed on Sheffielders not having seen anywhere near enough transformational work in our city centre over the decades.

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Park Square hasn’t always been an area abandoned to the ferocity of rush hour.

Before the roundabout, there were homes, pubs, shops… a community.

It certainly meant more to the people of this city than an area that just keeps traffic flowing, and it doesn't even do that particularly well. There weren't the pollution problems, and it is beyond time we took that seriously in this area.

I know the area beyond Castlegate and before Victoria Quays is not one often ventured into by many people. There really isn’t much to tempt you down that way, or so you might think. But there has been some wonderful work to spruce it up and certain parts have been transformed. If we could do something positive like the scheme outlined for Sheaf Square as part of the Station Development Framework, it would pull those wonderful efforts into the bigger picture.

But we need more than just a vision. We need a council with guts and bite, one ready to make this city better for future generations. To put the past behind them and give us what Sheffield deserves.

This exciting possibility would mean years of disruption to roads, trams, buses, just about everything you can imagine. But unless we are prepared to accept a bit of instant pain for a longer term brighter future, we’ll still be chuntering to ourselves about lack of progress in the next millennia.