Town battles on as it awaits the arrival of Sevenstone
It is a difficult time for the city centre at the moment. While the promise of the new retail quarter has raised hopes that town will once again become a significant northern shopping destination, walking past the empty shops on the Moor and Pinstone Street is presently quite depressing.
Although it was reported last week that footfall in town has increased by 17,000 people a month, for me the city centre still needs all the help it can get to encourage shoppers.
Seemingly, the council has recognised this and is making some effort to give town its best chance of success before the arrival of Sevenstone, with hoardings displaying images of Sheffield being erected around derelict buildings marked for demolition.
And according to this council email, a new website promoting shopping in the city is in the pipeline:
A new website will be launched in April that shows just what’s on offer for shopping in the city centre. It will show potential shoppers what shops are here, where they are, and what they sell. Retailers will be able to update special offers and events, and talk to other retailers through the site. The aim of the site is to promote Sheffield as a competitive retail destination. It’s a joint initiative between the council, Creative Sheffield and the Chamber of Commerce.
So if these initiatives work, what will people think when they arrive in the town? Some visitors from London commented to me that as an urban environment, parts of the city centre look great (I did take them on a selective route of the city). But some areas look very run-down and we know that for shopping, it still has a long way to go.
With current economic conditions causing more retailers to fold and further shop units to stand empty, I can’t help but feel that it will get worse before it gets better. However, I am also sure that in due course we will once again have a shopping destination of which to be proud.