Many people come to the Tramlines Festival from near and far and have a great time. The event has boosted the profile of Hillsborough in a positive way.
When considering the economic benefits, the focus generally falls on the 3 day event period. Tramlines arrived in Hillsborough Park in 2018 promising a boost for local businesses. Unfortunately, scheduling early headliners and removing the right to leave and re-enter now keeps people inside the venue, forced to buy expensive food and drink. Some local businesses get some benefit during the event whilst others lose out.
But businesses in Hillsborough are affected for much longer periods. Visitors stay away from Hillsborough Park when the fences are up. This year the big fences around most of the park were planned to be up for 12 days for the Arctic Monkeys in early June and 18 days for Tramlines in July. Now, due to the damage, most of the grassed area has been fenced off since July 23rd for repairs and reseeding. Many events have had to be cancelled including parkrun for a number of weekends.
There’s a clear relationship between park visitors and Hillsborough businesses. People who visit the park will often also go to high-quality cafes and shops within close walking distance. Many of these lose out whenever fences are up.
The council cannot just evaluate the benefits to Sheffield as a whole. The recent 14-page Tramlines Festival report for the Economic Development and Skills Policy Committee has no mention at all of the impact on Hillsborough businesses.
What is the impact on visitor numbers to Hillsborough Park and the local area since the fences went up in early June? If significant, what actions are the council going to take to offset the ongoing damage to local businesses? Tramlines may be paying for the damage to Hillsborough Park but who is compensating local businesses for the ongoing loss of trade?
Many people have a great experience for 3 days but many more local residents have had the quality of their lives degraded for the whole of this summer. No price can be placed upon that.
Councillor Toby Mallinson, Hillsborough Ward Green Party