Plans welcomed for Sheffield's first Gay Quarter which could open by the end of the year
Sheffield's first dedicated Gay Quarter made up a clubs, bars and a sauna could open its doors later this year with work already underway to transform an area at the bottom of The Moor.
The project at Moorfoot includes a bar called Queer Junction and Fraternity, a combined gay club and sauna.
Dubbed the 'Gay Quarter', those behind the project said they hoped it would provide much needed leisure and social spaces for Sheffield's 'large and growing' LGBT community.
The project's Facebook page said the bars would open around the existing Dempsey's bar, on Hereford Street, and Queer Junction could open as soon as April.
Fraternity is expected to open in July, with three more units due to open later this year, including a pub with small pool hall, retail space and a restaurant.
Ben Hawker, of Hillsborough, welcomed the plans but added he hoped the venues would be used.
He said: "There is very little for the LGBT+ community but the other problem is that people in Sheffield don't really use what is there.
"There are two bars now but there used to be six and they closed because no-one went to them so it's a difficult problem to solve."
A planning application to transform a former bank at 135 The Moor into a bar with outdoor seating was submitted to Sheffield Council in February and planning bosses are due to decide on it by April 30.
A separate application for the sauna at 137 to 139 The Moor was approved in March 2017 and councillors also approved licensing applications so the venues could open 24/7.
Mr Hawker, who studied computer science at the University of Sheffield and is currently working towards a PhD in artificial intelligence and robotics, said: "I split my time between Manchester and Sheffield and in Manchester everyone knows about Canal Street.
"But when I came to Sheffield I had no ideas about any of the gay bars or venues and I think that's part of the problem."
Mr Hawker, 26, said he hoped the bars would be used by everyone in Sheffield.- not just the LGBT+ community.
"There are some really nice bars on Canal Street and everybody says the bars are unique - that's the kind of offering the Sheffield Gay Quarter needs to have," he said.
"I think one thing that people underestimate in these kind of places is they are quite good for people to sort of test the water before coming out. Dempsey's is quite full-on so doesn't really offer that."
The Star's Facebook users also welcomed the plans and said they could lead to fewer people travelling to Leeds or Manchester instead of Sheffield for nightlife.
Andrew Bogg said: "For a start I think this is great news. It will attract people to Sheffield instead of Leeds or Manchester. Secondly these bars are not just for the LGBT+ community because anyone will be welcome but if you don't like the fact people may be holding hands or even giving a little kiss to someone of the same gender or someone who is trans then probably steer clear - a choice you can make.
"There is no agenda here nor is it segregating but it is providing places people can feel comfortable in expressing who they are in a safe place. So to all the straight people out there making a big song and dance about this have a think about what you are doing, this is not about making you feel uncomfortable because you have a choice, but it is about offering place for others to feel safe."