Lidl on price, Lidl on…heritage, biodiversity and flood mitigation?
Plus, football fans turn city orange and yellow
Good morning readers — and welcome to our Monday briefing.
The Porter Brook is one of Sheffield’s five famous rivers. The waterway helped power the city’s industrial revolution but in more recent times (in the city centre at least) it has all but disappeared as a result of development. Now, a supermarket chain’s plans to build a huge new store near the ring road is putting them at odds with campaigners who want to see the river opened up once again. Today we look at the company’s proposals and how some hope to see them changed.
As well as that we have an update on the latest active travel scheme to be rolled out, an interview with one of the original founders of The Leadmill and some great photos from the weekend’s Women’s European Championship game between Sweden and the Netherlands.
Catch up and coming up
Last week we sent out two newsletters to our 724 paying members. In the first, two experts explained to us why Sheffield’s population had hardly grown in the last 10 years. And in the second, we spoke to Victor Mujakachi who came to the UK to study but found himself destitute after a warrant was issued for his arrest in Zimbabwe. An extract from that first piece is below.
“Everybody sees all of these big tower blocks going up in Sheffield city centre but when you go out into the richer suburbs of Sheffield, the west and the south west, very often there has been almost no new building at all,” he says. “They’re just not building any homes in those places so they’ve actually had a very stable population now for a long time. That’s why the overall population isn’t going up.”
This week we’ll send out two more including a piece about Sheffield’s long-delayed Local Plan (the document that says where development can take place), which the council has promised us an update on today. To get both of this week’s newsletters, become a member of The Tribune today to help fund a new way of doing journalism in Sheffield.
Editor’s appeal: We are still operating The Tribune on a shoestring budget and with a tiny team. To help us grow into the kind of newsroom that can employ a wider range of writers and produce high-quality journalism in Sheffield for years to come, please consider subscribing using the button below. It costs just £1.34 a week if you pay upfront for the year.
The big picture: Old and new 📸
Thanks to David_GM_Photography on Instagram for letting us use his brilliant photo of Sheffield’s Old Town Hall nicely juxtaposed with some of the colourful street art in Castlegate. For the latest about the fascinating but at-risk building and its mysterious new owner, see this piece in The Star.
This week’s weather 🥵
Our weather forecast comes from dedicated Sheffield weather service Steel City Skies, who say there will be a hot start to the week before a decaying cold front freshens conditions up. Largely settled weather is expected throughout, though.
Monday ⛅️ A hot day with sunshine turning hazy. Temperatures peaking 30-31°C with a cloudy and stifling night following.
Tuesday ⛅️ Still very warm with cloud on the increase as a decaying cold front arrives later on in the afternoon. A very low chance of rain from this. Highs of 27°C.
Wednesday ⛅️ A fresher feel with a settled day expected with bright spells and variable cloud. Highs of 23°C.
Thursday ⛅️ Largely the same with a cooling westerly breeze and high pressure bringing a continuation of settled and bright weather. Highs of 24°C.
Friday ⛅️ The pattern remains with high pressure controlling our weather and bringing another fine day with highs of 24-25°C.
Weekend outlook: Very warm on Saturday with sunshine, before a potentially very hot Sunday, depending on timings of an intense plume of heat to the south.
The big story: Lidl on price, Lidl on…heritage, biodiversity and flood mitigation?
Top line: A giant supermarket chain has been accused of disregarding Sheffield’s heritage and environment for the sake of “a few spaces in a large car park”.
Background: In March this year, German discount supermarket giant Lidl announced plans for a second Sheffield store on the site of the former Mothercare building on St Mary’s Retail Park off Eyre Street. The building was most recently used by Office Outlet and Theatre Deli.
The company’s plans would see parts of the existing building demolished and replaced by a 2,400 square metre superstore.
As well as the building there would be spaces for 70 cars including accessible, parent and child, and electric vehicle charging spaces.
Hidden rivers: You probably wouldn't realise it just by visiting the site but a major Sheffield river runs next to and under Lidl’s proposed new store. After making its way down the Porter Valley and along Ecclesall Road, the Porter Brook crosses the ring road and goes through the city centre to meet the River Sheaf underneath Sheffield railway station.
Opening up: One section of the Porter Brook has already been opened up in the area but is overgrown and uncared for. A further part of the river sits under what would be the southern edge of Lidl’s new car park. However, despite the fact that the development sits on top of or adjacent to the Porter Brook, no mention of it at all is made in the planning application.
Objections: The Sheaf and Porter River Trust have lodged an objection to Lidl’s plans, which they say would frustrate their hopes of connecting up the Porter Brook and making a continuous walking trail. They also argue that they contravene council policy on opening up rivers where possible. A statement said:
Whilst the trust does not object to the supermarket as such we are very surprised and disappointed that the plans submitted conceal the fact that the Porter Brook runs under and through their site and offer none of the improvements required by council planning policy.
Campaign: The trust is urging people to lodge their own objections to Lidl’s plans via the council’s planning portal on application 22/01163/FUL. They also launched their own campaign at the Sharrow Festival on Saturday. They are asking the company to:
Acknowledge the exposed Porter Brook within their site and include proposals for its restoration for improved habitat, amenity and future management access.
Uncover the hidden Porter Brook where it runs under their car park and install channel and bank naturalisation measures as well as signage and interpretation.
Our take: As The Tribune wrote earlier this year, our historic tendency to cover up or build over rivers is now being reversed as their environmental value is reassessed and they become places where people want to spend time. If Lidl’s plans were altered to accommodate the river, the firm would lose around a third of its car park — but if the area was a nicer place to visit it might actually get them more customers. They’d also be doing their bit for the planet as well.
Home of the week 🏡
This beautiful five-bedroomed and two-bathroom Broomhall end-terrace overlooks the Botanical Gardens and has a private south-west facing rear garden. It is on the market for £525,000.
Our favourite reads 📚
‘Strip everything out, find a new venue and go back to basics’ 🎸 A nice interview in The Star with John Redfearn, one of the original founders of Sheffield’s beloved Leadmill music venue. In the piece, Redfearn argues that the venue has strayed too far from its original roots as a cooperative “community arts hub” and that he would ask the council to find them a new building and take The Leadmill back to the basic principles upon which it was founded.
Here's the real reason behind Sheffield's "devastating" bus cuts 🚌 Now Then have a good in-depth look at the recently announced bus cuts that will see a third of services in the region disappear because private bus companies don't consider them profitable enough. Matthew Topham of the Better Buses for South Yorkshire campaign says the “devastating” cuts are a direct result of the decision to take bus services out of the hands of local councils in 1986.
Fans flock to 'dress rehearsal for final' ⚽️ A lovely piece on the BBC website reports from Sheffield’s first game in the Women’s European Championships on Saturday. Thousands of Dutch and Swedish fans descended on the city, turning much of Sheffield bright yellow and orange, while the party atmosphere was aided by the glorious weather. The game itself, which was watched by a world-record crowd for a non-host nation fixture (21,342), ended in a 1-1 draw.
Social media has been awash with great photos and videos of Dutch and Swedish fans enjoying Sheffield on Saturday. The next Women’s Euros match due to take place in the city is Sweden against Switzerland on Wednesday at Bramall Lane.
‘We need an urgent modal shift’ 🚴
Bollards and warning barriers for the Sheaf Valley active travel scheme under the Little London Road railway bridge have already been vandalised, thrown in the river, and replaced, reports David Bocking.
The consultation on the Sheaf Valley walking and cycling route is ongoing, but there was strong support for active travel at last week’s national Cycle City, Active City conference in Sheffield. South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard and Sheffield’s director of public health Greg Fell suggested that drivers may have to get used to a policy to reduce space for urban car trips and open more roads to walkers and cyclists.
Greg Fell said that far from a war on motorists, the war was actually against “the harm caused to our children’s lungs, or to our planet that we will give to our grandchildren”. He said evidence from Denmark showed that while car travel is a net drain on society, cycling is a net gain, by about the same amount.
“We need an urgent modal shift from private cars to active travel and public transport,” added Oliver Coppard. “We need to be brave,” he added, in a room full of councillors from Sheffield and beyond. “We can’t afford the status quo.”
Things to do 📆
Theatre 🎭 Starting tonight and running until Saturday, July 16 at Lyceum Theatre is The Play that Goes Wrong, a multi-award-winning international smash-hit comedy that is returning to Sheffield after a previous sell-out run. The Cornley Drama Society are putting on a 1920s murder mystery, but everything that can go wrong does. As the accident-prone thesps battle on against all the odds to reach their final curtain call, hilarious results ensue!
Listen 🎧 Firth Park-born author Johny Pitts returns to Sheffield in Open Book, a BBC Radio 4 programme which reviews newly-released fiction and non-fiction books and unearths forgotten classics. In the show, Pitts speaks to Helen Mort, Catherine Taylor and Désirée Reynolds about the city’s rich and varied literature. He also talks to David Forrest from the University of Sheffield about local hero Barry Hines, who came from Hoyland near Barnsley.
Football ⚽️ The Women’s European Championships continue this week with more games in Sheffield and Rotherham. On Wednesday, July 13 Sweden take on Switzerland at Bramall Lane and on Thursday, France play Belgium at the New York Stadium. Switzerland and the Netherlands are back in Sheffield on Sunday, July 17 while one of the tournament’s quarter-finals will take place in Rotherham on Saturday, July 23 and one semi-final will be in Sheffield on Tuesday, July 26.