Wednesday 26 November 2014
Councillor Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, skills and development at Sheffield City Council, said: “While we welcome Nick Clegg’s announcement today, what he is saying is nothing new.
“We in Sheffield have successfully been doing this for some time, helping local entrepreneurs to find premises, grow their businesses and develop creative clusters where talent can thrive and collaborate. This ‘meanwhile use’, using empty buildings before they undergo long-term redevelopment, is a key part of our ongoing strategy to transform the city centre.
“We have already seen significant successes with schemes such as Birds Yard in Chapel Walk, where small independent traders have been able to showcase and sell their products in a prominent city centre location.
“One particularly innovative so-called ‘meanwhile use’ in Sheffield has been in the former Woolworths store on The Moor which, throughout October, was taken over by the Theatre Delicatessen arts group. Their ‘Horror Souk’ immersive theatre experience received excellent reviews from national arts critics.
“In recognition of these and other highly successful projects, we are planning to build with partners on these successes and have been working for the past few months on a new scheme on a much more ambitious level, which we will be announcing shortly.
“This initiative will see us working even more closely with entrepreneurs and start-up businesses in the city.
“Its role will be to act as a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs wanting to find space in the city centre to start-up, thus encouraging further growth and vibrancy in areas undergoing transition such as Castlegate and around the New Retail Quarter (NRQ).
“We are not working on this alone – the proposed scheme will be a collaboration between the council, the University of Sheffield, Creative Sheffield and potentially the proposed City Centre Business Improvement District (BID.
“We look forward to revealing further details of the scheme in due course. However, we would welcome a dialogue with Government to see if there is any practical role they can play to help remove any potential blockages, instead of just talking about it.”
Current ‘meanwhile use’ schemes in Sheffield include:
Exchange Studios – The City Council acquired the former SYPTE offices on Exchange Street as part of the wider strategy for the regeneration of Castlegate. The building has been let to South Yorkshire Artspace, which has created 60 studios with a café on the ground floor.
Birds Yard – Provides opportunities for small independents to showcase and sell their products in the city centre. Birds Yard has recently relocated to 2 smaller units on Chapel Walk and continues to trade well.
Castle House – The University of Sheffield has secured a temporary lease on the former Co-op department store to facilitate a programme of ‘meanwhile’ uses that began with Festival of the Mind in September.
Theatre Delicatessen – The theatre group leased part of the former Woolworths unit on the Moor to create a café and performance space
Sheffield Showcase – Continue to provide training and employment opportunities to young people through visual merchandising apprenticeships, particularly in empty units that will be part of the New Retail Quarter (NRQ).
Common People – An initiative that works with independent traders to run a programme of pop-up shops in the Winter Garden and Moor Market.
New Retail Quarter short-lets – Short-term commercial lets are being organised on the site of the proposed NRQ, prior to its development. Companies to have recently moved in include a real ale brewery; while talks are underway regarding the creation of a community performance space and gallery with café.
CADS (Creative Arts Development Space) – Providing flexible co-worker space for business start-ups and social enterprise in numerous buildings across the city centre.