Covered malls, free parking and a ban on 'chuggers' - your ideas to improve shopping in Sheffield city centre

Shoppers on The Moor in Sheffield city centre, where more high street names have been promised soon
Shoppers on The Moor in Sheffield city centre, where more high street names have been promised soon
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Covered malls, free parking and a ban on 'chuggers' - these are just some of your ideas to improve shopping in Sheffield.

Meadowhall was named one of the UK's top 30 retail hot-spots in a recent survey, which had Sheffield city centre languishing in 223rd place.

Amanda Phillips, centre manager for The Moor

Amanda Phillips, centre manager for The Moor

Sheffield climbed 24 spots in consultancy firm Harper Dennis Hobbs' annual league table of 1,000 shopping centres, which took into account not just size but factors like the number of vacant outlets and the proportion of 'undesirable' shops.

But it still has some way to go to catch its out-of-town rival Meadowhall, which climbed four places to 28th in the rankings.

Amanda Phillips, centre manager for The Moor, said the ongoing regeneration there was attracting more shoppers and with a raft of high street names on their way she expected the shopping parade to help Sheffield ascend the rankings again next year.

"The Moor is leading the regeneration of Sheffield city centre. The new developments, providing an increased retail and leisure offer, has resulted in a significant rise in footfall that is growing month by month," she said.

"By the end of this year we will have added a further raft of high street names and leisure operators and I would expect next years ratings to reflect this. As one of the main cities in the UK, Sheffield deserves a vibrant retail core and offers a great opportunity to operators."

The Star asked readers how they thought shopping in Sheffield city centre could be improved, and we received plenty of suggestions.

Several readers suggested free parking, though others pointed out parking in Sheffield was cheaper than in comparable city centres.

Others called for covered shopping malls, which they said had proved popular in Manchester and Leeds.

There was also support for reducing the number of so-called 'chuggers' stopping shoppers to ask for charitable donations, as well as for scaling back the quantity of betting shops, money lenders and discount stores.

Lauren Baldwin commented on Facebook: "Sheffield is still so very much backwards considering it's the fourth largest city in the UK. Perhaps if we added a Selfridges or Harvey Nichols or even an outdoor covered centre like the Trinity Centre that would be an improvement."

Joanne Waddingham blamed high rents for the proliferation of charity shops in the city centre, and said more outlets selling 'unusual items and clothing' were needed.

Alan Portwood was one of several readers to blame the fragmented layout of shops in the city centre - especially the lack of an easily navigable route from shops to the bus and railway stations.

"All the shopping centres in other major cities link together and are great. Sheffield is too spread out and doesn't even feel like a major city in shopping centre terms," he said.

Stuart Burton said the council should 'build on the success of Meadowhall' rather than 'trying to hold back development there whilst shovelling money into failing city centre shopping'.

Gareth Johnstone was perhaps the most pessimistic about the future of shops in Sheffield city centre, writing: "Demolish it and start again.

"No pound shops. charity shops or chuggers in the city centre, attract high-quality stores, give market stall holders an incentive to offer fresh food seven days a week, introduce late-night shopping as standard, get rid of chain restaurants/ast food and bring in local entrepreneurs in a range of pop-up eateries. Number one, free parking around a concentrated city centre."

But Nick Smithson was more upbeat, praising the redevelopment of The Moor, saying the new retail area behind John Lewis was 'coming along nicely' and hailing parking as the cheapest he'd known for a major city.

"I personally don't want a faceless/generic city centre like Leeds/Manchester etc. Keep Sheffield green and quirky with the warm, friendly small-town feel, rather than the cold, threatening city feel," he added.