Battle lines drawn over low-traffic neighbourhoods
Plus, a theatrical first comes to Sheffield
Good afternoon readers — and welcome to our Monday briefing.
Today we look at the continuing row over the two new so-called “low-traffic neighbourhoods” in Crookes and Nether Edge. Since they began in late May, both areas have been consumed by bitterness and acrimony (mainly on social media), and several of the barriers installed to restrict traffic have been repeatedly vandalised. We covered the story in a members’ piece a few weeks ago — but it’s clearly not going away as an issue. Today’s big story looks at the rationale for the changes that have been made and what is likely to happen now.
As well as that, we also have an amazing drone-shot photo of Sheffield city centre, a fascinating read about a Kelham Island firm trialling a four-day week, and information about a guided tour of one of the city’s most famous buildings.
Catch up and coming up
Our weekend read by Harry Shukman was a must-read explanation of the controversy over the film The Lady of Heaven. You can still read, share and comment on that story here.
Last week we sent out two newsletters to our 691 paying members. The first included a beautiful story by writer Ingrid Birchell Hughes about the 200 love letters her great-great-grandparents sent to each other in the 1880s. And the second included a piece by Dani about Livia Barreira, a Brazilian who came to Sheffield in 2016 and now helps other migrant women adapt to life in the city.
This week we’ll be sending two more including one about a tropical garden created in Millhouses by a man who is afraid of flying and another about a National Trust property that has found itself at the centre of a right-to-roam access row. To get both of those, become a member of The Tribune today to help fund a new way of doing journalism in Sheffield.
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The big picture: A bird’s eye view
Thanks to Sheffield drone photographer Keith Bown for sharing this amazing picture with us. He sent us quite a few but this one of the city centre’s southern edge with Bramall Lane in the distance was our favourite. Download the high-resolution photo and zoom in to see what you can find!
This week’s weather
Our weather forecast comes from dedicated Sheffield weather service Steel City Skies, who say high pressure will extend across the UK, with heat building from the south, intensifying briefly at the end of the working week.
Monday ⛅ bright and less breezy than the weekend with sunny spells and only isolated showers. Highs of 20°C.
Tuesday ⛅ similarly fair with a dry day expected. Light winds and spells of warm (and strong) sunshine. Highs of 21°C.
Wednesday ⛅ warming up further as we draw in increasingly warm air. Sunny spells and patchy cloud with highs of 24°C.
Thursday 🌥 a weak front may threaten more cloud, but we should all remain dry and fine with hazy sun. Highs of 24°C.
Friday 🔥 the hot day, sultry even, with spells of strong sunshine and a slight risk of isolated thunderstorms late on. Highs of 29°C.
Outlook: The heat may hang on, but it's looking more likely that we swiftly cool down on Saturday and temporarily return to a bright and breezy pattern from the northwest.
The big story: Battle lines drawn over low-traffic neighbourhoods
Top line: Low-traffic neighbourhoods installed in two areas of Sheffield are continuing to cause disagreements, with some arguments spilling over into vandalism. But what is the rationale for such schemes and is the conflict likely to continue?
Background: The schemes began appearing in Nether Edge and Crookes in late May, when large planters restricting motor vehicle access to certain roads were installed.
In Nether Edge the main road affected has been Archer Lane, which was used as a “rat run” between Edgedale Road and Brincliffe Edge Road. Other proposed restrictions in the area are yet to appear.
In Crookes, restrictions on Leamington Street, Sackville Road and Newent Lane have been installed along with a “school street” outside Westways Primary School. Other measures have been delayed.
Who is behind them? Much of the blame for the schemes seems to be falling on Sheffield council, but LTNs are actually a central government initiative. Whitehall has asked councils to come up with LTN schemes that are then allocated funding. If local authorities do not come up with ambitious enough schemes, they have been told they will lose the money.
The four Rs: Many of the criticisms of LTNs are based on the idea that traffic is like water: that cars displaced from one place will simply appear somewhere else, producing even more congestion and pollution on already busy roads. However, as council transport planner Matt Reynolds recently told us, what actually happens is that drivers change their behavior:
Drivers ‘remode’, so they make the same trip but not in a car. They ‘retime’, so they make the trip another time of day. They ‘reroute’, so they go a different way and maybe avoid the area completely, or they ‘reduce’, so the journey doesn’t happen.
All-out war: Since the planters were installed in Crookes and Nether Edge, local Facebook groups have descended into acrimony, with cyclists pitted against motorists in an increasingly bitter battle. Several planters have been repeatedly tipped over and in Nether Edge, concrete barriers have now been installed.
What happens now? The schemes are initially six-month trials, after which the council will analyse the traffic data. Drop-in meetings for residents to discuss the schemes will take place in both Nether Edge and Crookes, although dates have yet to be been finalised.
The next LTN scheme to go in will be in the Sheaf Valley, where another “rat run” on Little London Road under the train bridge will be blocked off.
A so-called “mini-Holland” in Darnall has just been approved as has a new active travel route from the city centre to Heeley via East Bank Road.
Analysis: The front page of today’s Star thunders that the Crookes LTN scheme is “throttling businesses and choking pedestrians”, but all the evidence suggests that the opposite will be the case. Experts say that in the medium to longer term, encouraging walking and cycling actually increases footfall. The ultimate idea behind all LTN schemes is to gradually change our urban culture, focusing less on rapid road transport networks and more on liveability. In other places where LTNs have been rolled out, initial hostility tends to calm down as people slowly adapt to the changes. Whether the same happens in Sheffield remains to be seen.
Home of the week 🏡
This two-bedroomed detached house in Norfolk Park has a private south-facing garden and is within easy walking distance of Sheffield train station. It is on the market for £250,000.
Our favourite reads
Could historic square go car-free? 🚗 Paradise Square is one of Sheffield’s best public spaces, but it is currently used as a car park. The grand Georgian square is owned by the Sheffield Town Trust, an ancient organisation that traces its roots back to the thirteenth century. Julie MacDonald, one of the 13 trustees, says the trust could potentially be open to removing the car park — but claims the council have never asked them about the possibility.
Firm launches revolutionary four-day week pilot 🤖 A fascinating piece in Now Then about a Sheffield company that is trialling a four-day week while still paying its staff their full salary. Rivelin Robotics in Kelham Island is taking part in a UK-wide experiment that involves 70 firms and over 3,300 workers: from tax specialists to banks and marketing companies — and even one fish and chip shop in Norfolk. A good BBC video explainer on the trial can be found here.
British Culture Archive: Mick Jones 📸 Not so much a read this one as a look! We have featured Sheffield photographer Mick Jones’ pictures before and now he has his own page on the British Culture Archive. The photos, which were all taken while he was studying at Sheffield College of Art between 1969-1970, show a city populated by mods and rockers, skins and suedes — and provide an amazing record of an era that now seems so distant.
Waterway to have fun
There was a great atmosphere down at Victoria Quays on Saturday for the third Quayside market. Dozens of food and drink stalls coupled with beautiful surroundings and sunny weather made for a great event that seems to be getting bigger and better every time.
Things to do
Tour 🏢 The Park Hill estate is the largest listed structure in Europe and has just welcomed a new group of residents into the second phase of its multi-million-pound regeneration. This Wednesday, June 15, the Sheffield branch of the Modernist Society is offering people the rare opportunity of a two-hour guided tour around the newly-opened section of the complex. Tickets are £10 (£8 for concessions) and the tour will begin at South Street Cafe at 11am.
Theatre 🎭 A theatrical first begins at Sheffield Theatres this Thursday, June 16, when three interlinked plays begin across three venues at the same time. Written by Chris Bush (who also wrote the smash hit Park Hill musical Standing at the Sky’s Edge with Richard Hawley), Rock/Paper/Scissors will be performed simultaneously across the Crucible, Lyceum and Studio theatres. You can see just one play or all three to get every side of the story 👇
When the owner of a Sheffield scissor manufacturers dies, three generations begin feuding over what happens to the factory site. Transform it into a fashionable music venue, redevelop into luxury office space, or continue as it is, hoping the old business might somehow become profitable again? It’s more than bricks and mortar, more than ownership, it’s about knowing where you fit in the world — knowing that there’s still a place for you.
Music 🥁 Legendary punk reggae group The Beat are in the middle of a 40th-anniversary tour, and on Wednesday, June 15 come to The Leadmill in Sheffield. After releasing their first single in 1979 (a great cover of Smokey Robinson’s Tears of a Clown) they became one of the most popular and influential bands of the 2-Tone Ska era that also included luminaries such as The Specials, Madness and The Selecter. Tickets are £22.50 and doors open at 7.30pm.
Tributes have been paid to former University of Sheffield astronomer David W. Hughes, who has died aged 80. Born in Worksop, Hughes studied at the universities of Birmingham and Oxford, before beginning his teaching career at the University of Sheffield in 1965. He stayed there until he retired in 2007.
An expert in the solar system — especially its minor bodies, such as asteroids and comets — the Mars-crossing asteroid 4205 David Hughes is named in his honour. He was also the author of many books including The Star of Bethlehem Mystery, which looked at possible scientific explanations behind the biblical phenomenon.
His expertise and ebullience helped popularise astronomy, especially in the UK, and he was much in demand in the media. At a 1994 Royal Astronomical Society press conference, when asked about the possible effects of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 on Jupiter, he replied: “It’s a comet. It might be somewhere between bugger all and nowt.”
He is survived by his wife, fellow astronomer Carole Stott, and their two children, Ellen and Owen.