Urbana’s Love Letter to Sheffield’s East End

Recently we hosted our event, “Urbana’s Love Letter to Sheffield’s East End”, which saw Associate Chloe Parmenter take to the floor of the brilliant Library by Lounge in Attercliffe to discuss the past, present and future of what was once the beating heart of Sheffield’s industrial heritage.

Joining Chloe were guest speakers Dr Chris Low, Chief Executive of Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park and Transport Planning and Infrastructure Manager at Sheffield City Council, Matthew Reynolds. 

The event was an opportunity to celebrate the fantastic things happening in the East End of Sheffield right now, and to explore what we can do to unlock the potential of an area that holds vast and exciting potential for regeneration whilst stitching back together a fragmented urban grain. 

Urbana called key industry figureheads together to discuss the impetus for wider regeneration and the vision for the future of the East End, which followed the announcement of the £17 million from the Levelling-up Fund that will be spent in Attercliffe.

Chloe highlighted that the East End is currently bookended, with the city centre at one end and Meadowhall at the other, and with some excellent assets in between. The East End is a hub of sporting activity with the English Institute for Sport, Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, Sheffield Hallam University’s Woodbourn Road Stadium and the Advanced Wellbeing and Research Centre. There are also retail giants, IKEA and those at Meadowhall, together with the city’s main indoor arena bringing huge numbers of people to the area every week. However, Chloe made clear that whilst the presence of retail giants in this location can be seen to detract from Sheffield City Centre itself, they do reflect the degree of investment present in the area. She reasoned that it’s about making sure these aren’t just used as standalone destinations and that people who use the East End are enticed people into the centre. 

Chloe stated that in order to reach the desired result of a vibrant high street full of food, drink and shops set amongst the area’s industrial heritage and riverside location, first, we need people. And for people, we need to encourage quality, sustainable and attractive residential developments.  But she argued that the phrase “build it and they will come” doesn’t work in the East End and that before all this can happen, infrastructure is required to entice further investment. 

Hand in hand with this, Sheffield City Council’s Transport Planning and Infrastructure Manager Matthew Reynolds talked us through the exciting developments within the Connecting Sheffield scheme, including new segregated cycle routes including along Attercliffe Road, with them continuing across junctions in an approach seen successfully in the Netherlands giving priority to cyclists. As well as this there will be new bus lanes, and bus priority measures to improve reliability and journey times. 

The physical infrastructure in the area is already well-equipped, especially with transport. The Supertram network runs right through the East End, much to the envy of other parts of the city and there are excellent road links to the city centre and the M1 motorway. The East End is also the main thoroughfare for those travelling to and from the north via the M1 and represents a real opportunity for investment in this respect. 

As mentioned previously, the key here is getting people to live in the East End. There are already opportunities in the pipeline, with Citu proposing 900 homes at Attercliffe Waterside, unlocking the value of the East End’s key waterside sites. 

When Dr Chris Low took the mic, he spoke of there being overwhelming interest in existing assets within the Attercliffe area, as well as in upcoming developments with biotech firms and manufacturers just some of the industries wanting to set up shop in the East End. Excitingly, Dr Low made it clear that all of this interest will mean nothing if we don’t develop jobs, opportunities, and start-ups locally. 

Everyone at Urbana can feel the excitement at the future of Sheffield’s East End, and we can’t wait to be involved to deliver this further with our partners in the industry.