Sheffield has been visited by more than 600,000 people over the last three years thanks to a partnership between city centre businesses, a new report has revealed.
Since October 2015 when Sheffield Business Improvement District was set up, these extra visitors have spent more than £12 million in the city, according to the body’s annual report.
The report said events like the Tramlines fringe and Cliffhanger climbing event in July, and last August’s Bricktropolis Lego trail all had a positive effect on visitor numbers.
But it also notes continuing challenges for city centre businesses and outlines ways in which the partnership is tackling problems like graffiti, litter and anti-social behaviour.
Sheffield BID manager, Diane Jarvis, who launched the report at the company’s AGM, said it showed that both businesses and visitors valued the work they do.
She said: “We know people come into the city centre to shop but we also want it to be a leisure destination that can compete with other centres.
“We get a lot of visitor feedback saying what a great job the BID is doing for the city centre by giving people more reasons to come here.”
The report said Sheffield BID invested more than £110,000 last year in improving the safety of the city centre, including the funding of a dedicated police sergeant and mobile cameras deployed in known crime hot spots.
It also invested almost £80,000 in street cleaning, with two street ranger vans carrying out more than 33,000 cleaning jobs and the clean team removing more than 20,000 square feet of graffiti.
Around 50 businesses attended the AGM, along with representatives from Sheffield Council including Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment and head of city centre management, Richard Eyre.
Mr Eyre said he was pleased that plans to increase the amount of public space chimed with the aspirations of businesses in the city.
He said: “Twenty years ago we brought the Peace Gardens to Sheffield. We could have sold that land but we invested in it.”
“The example model is the Peace Gardens and we want to deploy that to Fargate, the Cathedral and High Street.”
Coun Iqbal said the importance of creating high quality public spaces to attract more visitors to Sheffield was written right through key city centre development projects like Heart of the City II and the retail quarter.
“The area around the new HSBC is now really starting to take shape and it looks amazing,” he said.
“We are now looking at the future of Fargate which I would like to see as a kind of gateway to the city.”