‘Depressed’ Sheffield shopping precinct could be boosted by new digital hub for start-up businesses

A “depressed” shopping centre could be revitalised with a bespoke digital hub for entrepreneurs and start-ups.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 9:06 am

The centre on Manchester Road, Stocksbridge, would be a high quality, digitally connected space focusing on digital, tech, creative, professional, scientific and technical sectors.

Council officers say it would help diversify the Stocksbridge economy into high productivity, high value sectors and boost the declining High Street.

A report says: “In common with many other district centres, Stocksbridge and Manchester Road are suffering from a significant loss of trade, partly to the adjacent Fox Valley retail park, partly due to changing retail habits, as well as loss of purchasing power locally.

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The town centre.

“The high street has a depressed appearance, with empty shop premises and a lack of quality public space.”

Officers say the co-working space would help freelancers, home based workers and the self-employed to “gel”.

Individual flexible office units would allow businesses to scale up and grow while a modern library would offer digital services.

There would be flexible space for adult education by providers such as Northern College, with learning tailored towards local sectors and skills required by micro businesses

The space would also accommodate pop-up financial services, events, meetings and community groups.

The report adds: “A vibrant cafe will drive footfall and create a buzz which puts Manchester Road on the map as a great place to meet and spend time.”

Feasibility works costing £200,000 will be carried out to get an accurate cost of developing the scheme, along with any risks.