A Sheffield resident took a tour of the city centre after many years – and this is what he thought
I visited Sheffield city centre for the first time in a good long while, and would like to share my day with you. I dare say if my daughter hadn’t bought us a Christmas voucher for Bills I may never have gone in.
I dare say, if my daughter hadn’t have bought, my wife and I, a Christmas voucher (for Bills), I may never have gone in, but having booked we decided to have a reasonably good look around.
I’ve heard more negative, than positive, and looked at pictures in The Star, regarding the centre.
I decided to park my car on Sussex Street as it’s free. Up to Exchange Street and along where the market used to be, the first time I have been on here since it was demolished. My first reaction, oh my God, I think there was one shop trading second hand white goods, then graffiti, filth, a couple of rough sleepers, wasteland, boarding, and boarded up, empty shops. I felt I needed to protect my wife.
On to the Haymarket and a lady pushing a shopping trolley could see we were looking around, and said what a disgrace it all was. Where once was BHS, Timpsons and other household names, was fly posters and graffiti, rough sleepers.
Up past KFC, where we had seen, both C&A and Primark come and go, and a glance across Fitzalan Square where one shop was trading. On to High Street, a little better, some fantastic architecture albeit empty and dirty, with cheap shops underneath, then up Fargate.
Chapel Walk, dark and gloomy, I didn’t go down. Rough sleepers walking around, with their sleeping bags, drinking strong drinks and scrounging cigarette butt ends.
We reached Norfolk Street, a glimmer of hope, as we looked in both directions, along Leopold Street, it looked reasonably modern, though much changed. The Peace Gardens looked pleasant, though the majority of it was concrete, shops opposite, empty, though the buildings above them magnificent, a reminder of our once proud city centre.
Many shops on the Moorhead were empty, (we had dined at Bills, very pleasant). So much change, on the right hand side the new HSBC building, nearing completion.
On to the Moor, yet more construction, on the left, big stores, empty and dirty. From there on, it looked reasonably good, many new places and difficult to remember, what was there before it, though some long term survivors, looking like they needed a face lift.
A good look round the market, where there are several stalls unoccupied, though business looked brisk, and we enjoyed walking round it.
I met an old friend, whom i had not see, for about 30 years, basking in the sunshine, at the top of Fargate, we chatted. As I left him, a female scrounger approached him, begging tobacco, he refused.
As we descended Haymarket, an ambulance, attending a young man, battered and bloodied, from some sort of altercation, and finally, a drug user, doing whatever it is they do, opposite where the market used to be.
So there we have it, my time, in Sheffield City Centre.
I probably saw, what i was expecting, a lot of negative, a lot of positive, about 50/50, i would say.
I’m not one for change to be honest, I like to see the old buildings survive, even if not in their original use, but,i realise, change there must be, to keep up to date.
I don’t doubt Meadowhall, has taken a lot of the custom, it’s everything that the City centre isn’t, pleasant, clean, warm dry, modern and free parking.
At the end of the day, there is only the same amount of customers to go round and as more of these, out of town locations are built, or extended the city centre will suffer more.
I may visit again.