9 February 2018

People across Sheffield have revealed what they think of the West Street and Devonshire Green area of the city centre in a survey published today. Over half of them, 56 per cent, said they would recommend a visit to the West Street and Devonshire Green area of the city centre.

The same number agreed or strongly agreed that they enjoyed visiting the area before 5pm at the weekend. Fewer thought the same from 5pm to 11pm, with only 46 per cent agreeing that it was enjoyable. This dropped to 22 per cent after 11pm.

More than 800 people responded to the online survey that is part of an exercise in gathering evidence, to decide what further measures need to be taken to improve the area.

The majority said they visited the area for leisure. Nearly 90 per cent wanted to see more boutique and independent shops, and 75 per cent wanted more high quality restaurants.

When asked what they would like to see less of in the area people opted for the following:

  • Off licenses  (74 per cent)
  • Licensed casinos  (64 per cent)
  • Student oriented venues (59 per cent)
  • Adult entertainment venues (58 per cent)
  • Fast food outlets (56 per cent)

Views were also sought on what action should be taken to make the area better. The top five suggestions, in order of preference are:

  • Greater support for homeless people
  • CCTV linked to the City Centre monitoring station
  • A stronger police presence
  • More lighting in side streets
  • Responsible retailers scheme for off licences and supermarkets selling alcohol

Councillor Bryan Lodge, Cabinet Member for Environment and Streetscene said:  “We are really grateful to those of you who took the time to let us know your views.

“We will be sharing these findings with our colleagues in the council who are responsible for tackling the social issues this survey has identified as needing further work.

“The findings are invaluable in helping us decide what we need to do in the future to address the concerns expressed by people who have told us that whilst they enjoy the area they think certain behaviours need to be tackled.”

Director of Public Health, Greg Fell added:  “West Street and Devonshire Green are well represented in the city’s Best Bar None scheme for responsible alcohol retailers and Sheffield as a whole has Purple Flag status for a safer night-time economy.

“Our response will also need to focus on the health and welfare of people whose street behaviour may make visiting the area less pleasant.”

The evidence from the survey, along with local crime and disorder figures and other factors including complaints recorded by local authorities and health related statistics will be used to decide whether or not a Cumulative Impact Policy (CIP) should be introduced.

These create an assumption that new licenses to sell alcohol, in a designated zone, will be refused unless the applicant can show they will not add to existing problems. A CIP does not stop licences from being issued but can require the licence holder to put in place specific measures, including shorter opening hours, to reduce any harm.

The next step will be to present the evidence to Licensing Committee for their deliberation as to whether or not a CIP should be applied to this area.