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Fargate and High Street to be Reinvented with £15million Future High Streets Funding

Plans for High Street and Fargate's 'Future High Streets' development
Plans for High Street and Fargate's 'Future High Streets' development

Sheffield City Council have won £15.8million of funding to reinvent declining areas of the city centre as ‘Future High Streets’

Fargate and High Street to be ‘Future High Streets’

Sheffield’s Fargate and High Street are to be reimagined as ‘Social Hubs’ with a diverse mix of leisure, entertainment and retail in the city’s ‘Future High Streets’ plans.

£15.8million of funding from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund has been allocated to the streets to help stop their decline and prepare them for how high streets across the world are changing.

The plans take into account a steady decline in traditional bricks-and-mortar retail over the years, as well as the recent impact of Coronavirus.

“The traditional high street is changing  across the country, and it’s important that we adapt to the changing needs of our residents and visitors and develop space and infrastructure that offers opportunities for a diverse mix of leisure, entertainment and retail.

“Our ambition is to create a future-proof city centre, where people can live, work and spend quality time with friends and family in a safe and pleasing environment. To help us achieve this, our Future High Streets Fund proposals focus on adapting the underused upper levels of buildings on Fargate and High Street to become much-needed homes and workspaces, as well as improving our city centre spaces so that they are better placed to host quality events and in turn support our local hospitality, retail and leisure businesses.”Councillor Bob Johnson, Leader of Sheffield City Council

Fargate’s Future High Street includes ‘Event Central’ space

As part of the plans, some currently dormant space on Fargate will be transformed into ‘Event Central’; a multi-use area hosting events and exhibitions.

Additionally, ‘Event Central’ will offer co-working areas and a cafe.

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Outdoor spaces will also be configured to be able to host various events, small and large — with some mockup images showing Tramlines festival-style staging at the top of Fargate.

Plans for Fargate's 'Future High Streets' development showing the Event Central Building
Plans for Fargate’s ‘Future High Streets’ development showing the Event Central Building interior

“The five-storey ‘Event Central’ property, currently used for short-term retailing, will be converted to facilitate a year-round programme of events. Alongside this hub we will reconfigure the top of Fargate to provide outdoor space for major international events, supported by modernised power and utility infrastructure.This scheme is expected to attract 110,680 visitors annually, of which 50% are assumed to be additional.”‘A Future High Street Built Around People’ Bid Document

Currently unused or under-utilised upper levels of retail spaces are planned to be given over to residential and office purposes.

Further improvements to reduce crime and make the area more welcoming

The plans — created with the support of the University of Sheffield — indicate that outdoor spaces across the area will be repurposed to be more welcoming.

The street scene will be refreshed with climate-resiliant greenery, creating attractive ‘pocket park’-type areas.

New lighting and other infrastructure will help deter crime and make the space more attractive to visitors.

“The University is delighted that the support and academic expertise we brought to the Future High Street Fund has made it one of only 15 bids that has been funded in its entirety and that demonstrates the innovative nature of the proposal and also the partnership elements that shine through the bid. 

“We are also delighted that our architectural and Urban Planning students helped visualise a high street that is as much for the young generation as it is for long term residents and reflects all the elements of the feedback we received from partners and businesses in the City. 

“I never doubted that the uniqueness of our partnership and the amazing abilities of council officers in urban development would result in a unique, creative and very grounded bid that presents a city centre that Sheffield will be proud of.”Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City and Culture at the University of Sheffield

Plans for Fargate's 'Future High Streets' development showing event space in an evening
Plans for Fargate’s ‘Future High Streets’ development showing event space in an evening

Future High Streets Connecting Sheffield

The Future High Streets development will integrate with the recently announced Connecting Sheffield scheme, promoting attractive spaces and active travel across the City Centre.

High Street and Fargate will again be elevated in status and connected with other recent City Centre redevelopments such as The Moor, the Heart of the City II project and plans for Castlegate.

There have been legitimate concerns over recent years that Fargate and High Street was becoming disconnected from those other areas and was in a state of rapid decline in comparison.

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“Fargate and High Street was once the heart of retail but has become a barren landscape in need of love. Vacancy rates before spring 2020 were down to 14% in Fargate, a greater proportion of short- term, low quality lettings, with an average spend per shopper slipping from £41 to £35 over the last four years.

“At the same time, just above it, the Heart of the City development is driving huge investment and re-making Sheffield. Below it, the medieval heart of the city, Castlegate is being repurposed as part of the innovation corridor, a tech quarter with pioneering new ventures. Culture, vibrancy, and economic feasibility are essential to connect these two districts and make Fargate/High Street – and Sheffield as a whole – a visionary place of how cities can be planned, built, and lived in. Our Vision is innovative, future proof and economically viable.

“Culture, vibrancy, and economic feasibility are essential to connect these two districts and make Fargate – and Sheffield as a whole – a visionary place of how cities can be planned, built, and lived in.”‘A Future High Street Built Around People’ Bid Document

The scheme has been welcomed by Fargate and High Street’s existing occupants, including Orchard Square.

“The award of Future High Street Funding to Sheffield is welcome and exciting news. Having owned Orchard Square for over 20 years we have witnessed first-hand the challenges that parts of the City centre have faced, particularly over the last 5 years. 

It is essential that the recent downwards trajectory is reversed through investment into the buildings and public spaces around Fargate and High Street, and the Council is to be commended for making this a reality.

Sheffield is a major city with enormous potential and this money will be transformative, helping the City to grow and attract visitors, shoppers and residents for years to come.”John Heller, Orchard Square

Plans for Fargate's 'Future High Streets' development
Plans for Fargate’s ‘Future High Streets’ development showing event space on the pedestrianised area

High Street and Fargate’s Future High Streets to be delivered by 2024

Under funding requirements the Future High Streets development must be delivered by March 2024.

More information on the Future High Streets development can be found at the Welcome to Sheffield website.

“This is really exciting news for Sheffield and our businesses, and comes in addition to our ongoing investment in our Heart of the City regeneration scheme and that of Aberdeen Standard on The Moor.

It has been a fantastic team effort and I’d like to thank our partners at University of Sheffield and all the retailers and property owners who collaborated with us on this bid.”Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Business and Investment

“The Covid-19 pandemic has been an incredibly challenging time for businesses, and I know that the new lockdown restrictions will impact even further on the vast majority of businesses in Sheffield, many of whom have been unable to open properly for months now.

“However despite the current situation, this scheme provides hope for the future and will assist in the recovery of our local economy in the long term. It reflects the confidence instilled in Sheffield’s potential and our place as one of the UK’s leading cities and destination for investment.

“We are really pleased that Government has recognised the significance of our bid and awarded us the full amount of requested funding. This will mean continued investment and regeneration in Sheffield for the benefit of all our residents and visitors.Councillor Bob Johnson, Leader of Sheffield City Council


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