Calls for delayed Sheffield city centre strategy to be published – 17 months after it was first announced

Politicians are calling for a delayed city centre strategy to be published – 17 months after it was first announced.

Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 12:57 pm

The Liberal Democrats want to know what’s happened to a strategy for the central area of Sheffield which was first announced back in February 2020.

At the time, the council asked for people’s views to help consultants Deloitte Real Estate and Planit-IE, whose input would provide “a fresh perspective” on how to make the city centre a more attractive place to live, work and socialise.

The council said back then: “There has been a lot of investment in recent years and the strategy will help us build on that momentum.

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Lib Dem councillor Martin Smith is calling on Sheffield Council to published a delayed city centre strategy.

“It will also help us respond to the climate emergency we declared in 2019 by showing how city centre living can help us to live more sustainably and look after our city for future generations.”

But the Lib Dems are now questioning where the strategy is and have called for it to be published within the next three months.

Coun Martin Smith, Shadow Executive member for business, said: “A thriving city centre is vitally important for the economic and social future of Sheffield because it supports jobs, attracts inward investment and provides a focus for the cultural life.

“The pandemic has had a devastating impact with decreasing footfall and a significant increase in retail closures and we are concerned the permanent closure of John Lewis will deliver another long-term blow.

“Only six months after the then Cabinet Member for Business and Investment announced that a £3m deal had secured the John Lewis store in the city centre, the company proposed its closure.

“Last year the council announced it was working on a new strategy for the central area and we want the council to commit to publishing this.”

The Libs Dems’ comments come in the same week that Nalin Seneviratne, director of city centre development at the council, objected to Meadowhall’s plans for a £150m extension.

He says it will put Heart of the City 2 and the wider social and economic regeneration of the city centre at risk.