Paving paradise to put up a parking lot
Plus, flamenco comes to the Peace Gardens
Good afternoon readers — and welcome to our Monday briefing.
I tried, but the opportunity to quote Joni Mitchell in a piece about a Park Hill car park proved too great to resist. Who knows, maybe the great Canadian singer-songwriter was thinking about active travel when she wrote Big Yellow Taxi back in 1970. As you may be aware, I am a resident of the divisive 1960s brutalist building — but that’s not the only thing that attracted me to this story. The proposal by developer Urban Splash to turn two of its green fields into a car park feels like a bit of a test case for how we’re going to approach these debates in the future. Ultimately, it’s a question about what our cities are for: cars or people?
As well as that we have a beautiful new build townhouse in Oughtibridge, our second Whitworth cartoon, and Miss Saigon begins at the Crucible.
Catch up and coming up
Around a month ago, a Sheffield neighbourhood realised they hadn’t received any post for weeks. For our weekend read I spoke to some amateur postal sleuths and asked whether Meersbrook’s problems could just be the tip of the iceberg? You can still read that piece here.
Last week we sent out two great newsletters to our 1,509 paying members. The first by Victoria looked at the long-running saga of the former Cole Brothers/John Lewis building and the highly-anticipated plans for its future. And for the second Victoria and I revisited the story of Alison Teal, amid rumours her legal case to be confirmed as the Green Party’s candidate for Sheffield Central is being supported by a wealthy benefactor. An extract from that first piece is below.
Two years after a heartrending break-up, Sheffield City Council is finally moving on. The scars remain — how could they not, when the partner you’ve done everything for just ups and leaves? — but it’s time to get back out there. At an extraordinary meeting last week, there was only one brief comment, from Green party councillor Douglas Johnson, that spoke to the simmering resentment the council feels towards its ungrateful ex: John Lewis.
This week we’ll send out two more including Victoria’s first writer’s edition in which she talks of her first impressions of our city, and another about Sheffield’s Megatron underground storm drain in the age of the climate emergency. To help fund a new way of doing journalism in Sheffield based on subscriptions rather than clickbait, please consider subscribing using the button below. It costs £1.34 a week if you pay for 12 months up front (23p a day).
Editor’s note: Given how hectic managing The Tribune can be, it’s easy to miss important milestones. But last week was a big one. On 6 July, 2021, we began our paid subscription service, testing out an unproven theory that people would be prepared to pay for local news. As I wrote on Sunday, it was a nervous moment, with no guarantee that it would work. It’s certainly been hard work, but worth it, and recently we passed 1,500 paying members. To support the movement bringing hope back to journalism, please become a member today.
The big picture: Flamenco comes to the Peace Gardens 💃
Chance to Dance took place in Sheffield at the weekend, bringing more than 30 dance groups to the city centre across four open air stages. The one-day festival started life in 2000 after Turku in Finland challenged other European cities to organise a dance festival on the streets of their city. A sizable crowd braved less than ideal weather on Saturday before taking part in a “mass dance” at the Peace Gardens. For lots more photos, see Tim Denell’s Facebook page.
This week’s weather 🌦
Our weather forecast comes from dedicated Sheffield weather service Steel City Skies, who say low pressure will bring a regular risk of showers or longer periods of rain in between brighter spells.
Monday 🌦 Low pressure brings an occlusion from the west, with a period of rain clearing to heavy showers during the afternoon. Breezy with highs of 22°C.
Tuesday 🌦 Our low is to the north, with a cocktail of sunshine and frequent heavy, perhaps thundery, showers through the day. Highs of 21°C.
Wednesday 🌦 Little change with troughs across western UK bringing the threat of further squally showers, some heavy. Bright spells in between and a cool 19°C at best.
Thursday 🌦 Our low is a little further north, with a rather slack pattern bringing some sun but the risk of further showers. Some avoiding though, with 22°C the high.
Friday 🌦 Hi-res models indicate a bit more cloud from the west, with a continued risk of scattered showers, particularly further west. Highs of 21°C.
Outlook: The weekend sees the next trough enter from the west, possibly dragging up some warmer air again from the south. Expect a risk of further downpours, with humidity higher.
To see the full forecast and keep up to date with any changes to the outlook, follow Steel City Skies on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
The big story: Paving paradise to put up a parking lot 🚗
Top line: Residents at Park Hill flats are fighting a plan by housebuilder Urban Splash to turn two playing fields into a car park. The proposals have been brought forward as part of the developer’s plans for the next phase of the long-running renovation. But is such a car heavy development at odds with Sheffield’s plans to become a more livable city?
The plan: Phase 4 of the multi-million pound renovation of the 1960s brutalist complex would see 124 build-to-rent and open market flats built in the as yet unrenovated block adjacent to Duke Street. Work is due to start later this year or early next year.
A planning application recently lodged with Sheffield City Council says 84 parking spaces would be built on the complex for the new residents.
This would mean two green fields nearest the block would become car parks, with Phase 1 residents losing 50% of their communal outdoor space.
What has happened in the past? Having 84 parking spaces for 124 flats means 67% of the flats in Phase 4 would have a dedicated car parking space. In Phase 2 there were 72 spaces for 199 flats, meaning only 36% of the flats had a dedicated car parking space. And in Phase 1, there were 81 spaces for 260 flats, meaning 31% of the flats had a dedicated space. A decade ago, Urban Splash was told by the council to provide 198 secure bike parking spaces as part of Phase 1 of the redevelopment, but only 34 have ever been built. If the Phase 4 plans go ahead, it could mean an extra 60,000 journeys in and out of Park Hill flats every year.
Car free or low car: Urban Splash will know that they can sell flats for up to 17% more when they come with parking. However, at a time when most experts believe we need to be reducing our car use, is it responsible for them to be increasing car parking provision by so much?
The developer Citu, which is responsible for much of Kelham Island and is about to start work on Attercliffe Waterside, has made a name for itself by trying to reduce the need for cars.
At their Climate Innovation District development in Hunslet in Leeds, residents are encouraged to share cars and the car pooling system they’ve developed is used as a selling point.
How many more? Earlier this year it was revealed just how many more cars and vans have been added to the city’s streets over the last decade. In the last 10 years, an additional 30,000 cars and 8,000 vans have been registered to households in Sheffield. Parked bumper to bumper, these cars would stretch 126km (all the way to Manchester and back) and occupy the space of 35 standard football pitches. The extra 8,000 vans would stretch all the way to Nottingham (50km).
The right balance: In a statement released to ITV News, Urban Splash said they had been engaging with the local community and would continue to do so in order to deliver “the right balance” for Park Hill. They added they had taken “many views into consideration as we tried to meet the needs of existing and future residents, businesses and visitors.” Sheffield City Council said it hoped to find a solution that worked for both residents and the developer.
Our take: While making Phase 4 of Park Hill completely car free may not be realistic, the complex is one of the best connected residential buildings in the entire city, just minutes away from the train station, several tram stops and Sheffield city centre. As such, Urban Splash’s plans to increase the amount of parking provision over and above the level they have provided for previous phases of the redevelopment feel anachronistic. It’s time for them to think again.
To comment on the planning application, click here. The deadline is Wednesday, 12 July.
Whitworth in The Tribune ✏️
Our media picks 🎧
Tributes paid to 'remarkable' businessman who ran famous cleaning firm 🇭🇺 Last week we reported the sad news that Tibor Killi from T. L. Killis cleaning supplies on Glossop Road had died. In this piece, Peter Sephton, the chairman of the city centre residents’ association ChangingSheff, pays tribute to him. Mr Sephton describes Mr Killi as a “truly remarkable man” and said he would “sorely miss” the interesting discussions they shared. “RIP Tibor,” he added.
The ‘racist’ Miss Saigon musical is back on stage — and people are angry 🎭 A good piece in the i about the controversy surrounding Sheffield Theatres’ production of Miss Saigon. As The Tribune reported earlier this year, the smash-hit musical is highly controversial, with some critics describing it as racist and misogynistic. The fact that playwright Kimber Lee’s untitled f**k m*ss s**gon play is on at the same time in Manchester has raised the stakes still further.
14 city landmarks which helped make Jarvis Cocker the legend he is today 🎸 As Britpop legends Pulp prepare to play two homecoming gigs next weekend, The Star have done a piece looking at the places which played key role in singer Jarvis Cocker’s early life. Some like The Leadmill, the site of the band’s third ever gig, have become legendary. Others, like Impulse records on Cambridge Street and the Hallamshire Hotel on West Street, are less well known.
Home of the week 🏡
This stunning three-bedroom new build townhouse in Oughtibridge has floor-to-ceiling windows and a private rooftop garden. It is on the market for £349,950.
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Things to do 📆
Theatre 🎭 Saturday saw the first previews of Sheffield Theatres’ major new “reimagining” of the hugely popular but controversial Boublil and Schönberg musical Miss Saigon at the Crucible. Set during the last days of the Vietnam War, bar girl Kim meets American soldier Chris at the infamous Dreamland night club, where in one fateful night their lives become entwined forever. The show runs until Saturday, 19 August and tickets are priced £15-£50.
Music 🎸 On Wednesday, 12 July, Scottish indie-pop legends Belle and Sebastian return to Sheffield on their first tour since 2019. Now in their 27th year and having just released their 12th studio album, the seven-piece are renowned for their extraordinarily devoted fans and magnetic live performances. Support on the night comes from Irish singer Sinead O’Brien and Scottish duo Sacred Paws. Doors will open at 6.30pm and tickets are priced £37.30.
Comedy 🎤 On Thursday, 13 July join Jon Richardson and Lucy Beaumont (stars of Dave’s Meet the Richardsons) at Sheffield City Hall for an evening of stand-up comedy in aid of Sheffield Children’s Hospital. Joining Jon and Lucy onstage will be Tom Davis (Murder in Successville, The Curse), Rosie Jones (8 Out Of 10 Cats), Daliso Chaponda (Britain’s Got Talent) and Seann Walsh (Mock The Week). The doors open at 7.30pm and tickets are priced £39.50.