Last week, a Guardian Cities article explored the steep decline in shops in Sheffield city centre and asked who was to blame. Reader reaction was swift and impassioned.
According to our analysis, in five years Sheffield has lost 17.8% of its stores – double the average among English and Welsh town centres, and the worst among big cities.
So why is the problem particularly acute in the steel city? Readers had many thoughtful comments.
Meadowhall, an out-of-town shopping centre which opened in 1990 and offers free parking, has long been cited as a contributing factor to the demise of shops in the heart of the city. Some blame the rise in online shopping, others a lack of vision by the city council. Local retailers, meanwhile, point squarely at high business rates.
Of the many thoughtful comments below the piece, here are some of the best – and some potential solutions.
‘It was always the independent stuff that made Sheffield city centre an exciting place to visit’
‘The answer is in more local, individual, specialist outlets’
‘During the 80s it was a colourful, dynamic place’
‘The tram to Meadowhall started the death of the city centre’
‘The main shopping centre can feel a bit underwhelming’
‘People are just changing the way they shop’
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