Cllr Ruth Mersereau
Cllr Ruth Mersereau

Cllr Ruth Mersereau spoke on the vision for a new Sheffield city centre at the full council meeting on 7th July 2021.

We would like to make a Sheffield city centre that is designed for people; an attractive and thriving destination, with cleaner air, safer and less noisy streets and less congestion.

It needs to be accessible to everyone, especially given that a third of Sheffield residents don’t have access to a car or van.  We need a free electric bus that links all parts of the city centre.

Other cities have benefited greatly from reducing the numbers of private cars visiting their centres.

This Council has declared a climate emergency.  Transport accounts for a third of greenhouse gas emissions.  We have a responsibility to enable people to travel in less polluting ways.   Air pollution is dangerously high in parts of the city centre, having a terrible effect on people’s health.

Last month we declared an ecological emergency.  Sheffield is rightly proud of its parks, but the city centre is desperately lacking green space and tree cover.   We can help to address this by turning concrete spaces into green spaces.  We already have a wonderful example of this in Sheffield – the “Grey to Green” schemes – providing safe and efficient walking and cycling, beautiful plants and important flood protection.

The city centre can become an even better cultural, leisure and shopping destination, and, for its residents, we’d like to see it become a liveable neighbourhood, with a full range of independent shops and services within easy reach.

This is a fantastic opportunity to transform the centre of Sheffield, whilst dealing with the challenges of inequality, and the climate and ecological emergencies.