Trial closure of Division StSheffield Green Party has commented on how the city centre should look, in an amendment to be debated at the City Council on Wednesday 7 July 2021

Setting out a new vision for the city centre look, Cllr Douglas Johnson said,

“I want to look forward to a vibrant city centre that supports Sheffield’s local businesses, has a good quality of life for an increasing residential population and is an enjoyable place to visit.”

“That means a city centre with interesting independent businesses, streets where you can sit out with a coffee instead of a line of traffic, and green spaces not choking fumes.”

“We want to support green ways to travel to town and safely back home again: more pleasant walking, safer cycling, more reliable buses and rapid trams.  We know we need to make it cheaper and more convenient to come to town on the bus instead of by private car.  We need to set aside space for green space for the public, not storage for private vehicles.”

Cllr Douglas Johnson is the council’s Executive Member for Climate Change, Environment and Transport and Leader of the Green Group.

Cllr Ruth Mersereau is Executive Adviser to Douglas Johnson.  Ruth spoke on the need for a city centre designed for people.  See her speech here.


  1. The Greens amendment proposes that the council:

(h) believes that Sheffield must look forward to a vibrant city centre that supports Sheffield’s local businesses, has a good quality of life for an increasing residential population and is an enjoyable place to visit

(i) believes that good access into the city centre is vital and we should aim to increase the numbers of people visiting on foot, by bike, by bus, tram and train

(j) therefore believes that the best way to support a good bus and tram network is to make it cheaper and more convenient to arrive by public transport than by private car.

(k) believes that we need to improve air quality and should therefore reduce the number of unnecessary journeys by private car;

(l) believes that reducing congestion in the city centre will make streets safer as well as cleaner and more pleasant to enjoy.

(m) recognises that the city centre and its residents are desperately short of green spaces and outdoor public spaces, and that we need to free up some car parking spaces for use as  public green/outdoor space to make the city a more attractive and healthier place to visit and to live in

(n) welcomes independent shops and would like to see more neighbourhood shops and services, so that a wide range of shops and services  is within 15 minutes walk.

(o) notes that research by the London Borough of Waltham Forest showed that people walking to their high street spent 40% more than people who drove but that business owners massively over-estimated their customers’ car use;

(p) recognises that whilst blue badge parking is still necessary for some, believes that a modern, Electric FreeBee bus would make the city centre more accessible to many disabled people, recognising also that car ownership is lower among disabled people.


Most of the amendment was passed but Labour and LibDem councillors joined to vote against (m) and (p).

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.