35 Comments
Jan 6Liked by Victoria Munro

Having lived in KI for 8 years, I agree with these comments. The key issue is at the end to the article - cultural capital. Which I take to mean the knowledge and skills that people share, as well as what they value. The area had cultural capital, in the form of industry, small businesses and the idea that making things was an essential part of society. Some of this still exists in Neepsend, but where are the subsidies and support to continue these activities ? Some small businesses have been driven out by development and finding affordable space for not-for-profit cultural activities is nearly impossible. For example, the Kelham Island Artists Collective which recently suffered damage to its premises now has to raise rents for artists in order to fund the landlord's repairs. There is no support from the Council to preserve this kind of culture in the neighbourhood. The creation of housing developments has introduced a second culture - that of longer term residents. The neighbourhood, as residents have long pointed out, needs a general practice, a school, a decent grocery store - all the things that sustain a neighbourhood culture. The third culture - students - is transitory and they are rarely seen, preferring to spend time up the hill on West Street. It would be good to see a follow up article on what the Kelham Island and Neepsend Residents association (KINCA) is trying to do to build a neighbourhood that works toward integrating all of these. And get council views on supporting cultural capital in the face of investment from developers who are focused on economic profit. Surely there could be some requirements for developers to invest in other forms of culture?

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Jan 6Liked by Victoria Munro

There are many issues with Kelham Island that have never been addressed throughout the artificial creation and gentrification of the area.

1. Infrastructure is a huge one. There is barely any. An obsession with building flats for students and the affluent without the services most suburbs of Sheffield take for granted (roads, parking, public transport, shops, doctors etc etc). Lots of young people buy/rent there and then move out when they realise that being 'central' only goes so far (and it's not central is it? it's hardly easy to get to unless you enjoy walking in the rain), and they might quite like something extravagant like a garden, community or school.

The lack of investment and planning around infrastructure is damning for a council intent on just green lighting as many residential developments as possible. As a result, you get a transient population of young people who inevitably move away after a few years. They are also not the group likely to want to go for a quiet drink on a Thursday when there are much more exciting options elsewhere.

2. Location. It has never been easy to get to. The article mentions taxis to Kelham but on Saturdays it's a succession of taxis. You can walk from town, which might be nice in summer but it's not the greatest walk back is it? Especially ion the dark. Still feels a bit dodgy round there. There are a couple of buses, which have the same problems as the rest of this city's buses. And the vast majority of people would have to get two buses both ways. I don't think this has essentially changed since the last century.

3. Most areas of Sheffield now have a least one decent pub/bar and so the pull of Kelham is far less. Before the gentrification, ale drinkers used to flock to 'Kelham' for the Fat Cat, Kelham, Gardener's etc. Sure, it's good for a pub crawl but on a wet Wednesday in January are people really going to travel there for a pint of something they can get with a short walk from their own home? COVID caused a huge change in habits, with people getting to know/enjoy their own neighbourhoods a lot more. Kelham has restaurants and bars/pubs. But Sheffield is well served in both those areas now.

4. Working from home means that midweek drinks/food is far less likely and less likely in somewhere walkable from an office. There's no real incentive to meet friends in Kelham when it's much easier to get to, and more importantly from, Broomhill, Ecclesall Road, Abbeydale/London Road etc. WFH also means you need space. That is at a premium in Kelham.

5. The entire area is largely tailored to the young and affluent. Those young and affluent people form relationships, get married, start a family and there's next to nothing in that area for families. Let alone affordable property. No park. Limited access to educations, doctors, dentists, supermarkets etc.

6. The people you need to sustain a weekday business largely don't live in Kelham. They live in suburbs which much better infrastructure/facilities and there own restaurants and pubs.

7. Kelham was an area famous for its ale pubs and yet very little has been done to promote it as such. Indeed, it's a really confusing area for navigate if you're not familiar with it and yet nothing much has been done to address this.

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Jan 6Liked by Victoria Munro

Another perceptive article backed up by perceptive comments- I see we are now in the business of witty headlines[Kelling me softly]

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Jan 6Liked by Victoria Munro

Little Kelham has never been flooded and to state otherwise is factually incorrect. Heavy rains in November 2019 came close but the flood defences and catchments that were built post-2007 did the trick and prevented a repeat.

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Jan 6Liked by Victoria Munro

One of the issues that troubled me in the Kelham Island neighbourhood was how the Moorfields flats (and their residents) were universally ignored by everyone. The 27 flats (which are probably the biggest living spaces in Kelham Island) are used for temporary accommodation - asylum seekers, victims of domestic violence and the homeless. Some families end up being there long term. Despite trying to organise wildflower and bulb planting (and better information sharing about community events) I never got much further than litter picking to clean that area up - and chatting with the lovely kids who played on Ward St! The housing officer said she didn't know about the residents group, KINCA. And in return they didn't know about Moorfields.

When the planning application was submitted for The Hive co-living development https://www.hive-central.co.uk on the site of the old aircraft parts factory (Ward St/Bowling Green St) I commented that some of the Community Infrastructure Levy money from the development should be used to improve the area in and around Moorfields - a bit of local levelling up. Otherwise you'd have the whizzy new development (with admittedly tiny living spaces) on one side of the cobbled Ward St and Moorfields on the other.

If I was still there, that's what I would be pushing for. A neighbourhood that doesn’t acknowledge, let alone include some of its most vulnerable residents has a long way to go.

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Jan 6·edited Jan 6Liked by Victoria Munro

I've lived in Kelham Island (well technically the netherthorpe / upperthorpe bit of it rather than on the 'island', which is actually a peninsula, itself) for seven years now.

Personally all that's changed over that time is that the streets have got a bit busier as more people have moved to the area, and I think that's a nice thing as back when I moved here my entire street was basically a gigantic building site.

What will kill this area is Council meddling. The impending parking scheme was mentioned in the piece which is going to put off visitors from coming to businesses in the area and financially penalize hundreds of the least wealthy residents in the area over £2000 a year if they want to continue owning a car (the council have deliberately set up the scheme so wealthy residents living in expensive developments that already come with internal parking / garages will be eligible for a cheap £80 a year parking permit so they can also park on the street if they wish. On the flip side those in cheaper, smaller flats, often people renting or stuck unable to afford to move house are barred by the council from being able to obtain a permit and will have to pay over £6 every single day to park near their home, something they've been able to do here for years for free.

The council consultation on this scheme showed that residents, businesses and visitors all rejected the scheme (552 responses to the consultation, 78% of total responses, were heavily against the scheme, which included 381 responses from local residents, businesses and their employees opposed to it). This consultation was ignored by councillors in a shambolic meeting of the council's transport committee where the main concern seemed to be ending the meeting before a cycle race through the city centre made it difficult for the councillors to go home. The only real debate involved a local Green Party councillor specifically wanted to ensure residents in Little Kelham, the most expensive housing in the area which already has it's own private parking garages, got parking permits for on street parking (screw the rest of us living in cheaper housing in Kelham who can't afford £2k a year to continue parking our cars eh Ruth?)

It's an appalling scheme, which a significant majority in the area do not want, and is going to ruin businesses and the lives of hundreds of residents who simply do not have thousands of pounds spare to pay the proposed daily pay and display charges. God knows what will happen to the area once they start implementing the flawed and economically regressive parking scheme in the next few months, but I can't see it being remotely good for Kelham's future.

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Jan 6Liked by Victoria Munro

Entertaining read. Especially the joke about the west of the city thinking Burngreave is like Beirut. PS When I was at school there was only one T in Pitsmoor.

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I like trees. It's hard to spot anything green in Kelham. It's a place that doesn't seem to have a soul. Very urban chic but no anchor. I'll stick to finding my fun in other parts of the city. (I do like the Traveller's Rest, though.)

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Jan 6Liked by Victoria Munro

Socially, it's a weekend place, not a weekday destination. Add taxi fares to expensive food and drink and the average punter saves their hard earned cash for Friday and Saturday. Locals pay high rents or mortgages so don't have the money for weekday spending.

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Jan 6Liked by Victoria Munro

Not seen a toilet called a "slash-venue" before, but it fits.

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Jan 6Liked by Victoria Munro

Interesting subject, but deux faux pas. It’s Ecclesall Rd & the disclosure that you’re from Leeds, whilst criticising Sheffield’s marketing of itself, is far worse. I’d have said “another Northern city”. It’s like dropping the f bomb in the middle of a kids’ party :)

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Jan 7Liked by Victoria Munro

Ha I'm a subscriber and was surprised to see my brother interviewed! I work on Spital Hill and live in Walkley but rarely go to Kelham Island. It's become a weekend place and just feels dead during the week. If I want food after work I tend to eat on Spital Hill - people really miss out by avoiding the area as there is some great food. I think as others have said Kelham Island and now Neepsend need facilities and attraction beyond the middle-class weekend brunch and drinkers. There needs to be a push for community facilities that include everyone (like Moorfields residents) and new build residents.

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Jan 6Liked by Victoria Munro

The mid-week trade is a killer here. Anywhere popular, no matter how good, is still pretty quiet in the week. To the point where I wonder how some places stay open.

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Thoughtful piece which once again excludes the wonderful Gardeners Rest from its review. Come on Tribune it is about time you focused a piece on this community run pub.

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Many of these businesses don't seem to help themselves either. Given the lack of custom in the midweek you'd think they'd have plenty of time to keep updating their social media pages, but no. It's a general complaint I have about a lot of businesses in this sector, wherever they are in the city.

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Happy New Year Bridget

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