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Biggest crowds yet for The Outdoor City Weekender

10 Apr

More people than ever turned out to watch the annual Outdoor City Weekender, an action-packed 3-day festival that celebrates Sheffield’s impressive outdoor offer.

Now in its third year, the Weekender – which this year took place on 9-11 March – boasts four headline events, and a host of fringe activities that appeal to all ages and abilities.

More than 1,000 people lined seven of Sheffield’s steepest hills to cheer on the cyclists of The Magnificent Seven cycle challenge, and crowds at the inner-city mountain bike race, the Howard Street Dual, were double those of last year.

Di Buckley, head of economic strategy at Sheffield City Council, said: “These figures prove that there’s a real appetite for these kinds of events in Sheffield, and that this is the place to come for people seeking outdoor adventure, city culture and rural escapes.

“We’re delighted to see that with each passing year more and more people are turning up to see what it’s all about, and that the event is clearly fulfilling its ambition to grow awareness of Sheffield as The Outdoor City. This helps to grow our economy as people take advantage of Sheffield’s unique lifestyle offer.

“We hope people were inspired by what they saw at the Weekender and are encouraged to try something new, whatever their ability. Whether that’s a high octane sport like mountain biking, a gentle stroll in the local park, or something in between.”

It wasn’t just those watching the events in person who enjoyed everything the Weekender had to offer, as live streaming brought the action to a much wider online audience. The Howard Street Dual has had more than 12,500 views on YouTube, and the Climbing Works International Festival (CWIF) final has received over 45,000 views, with that figure continuing to rise.

More women also took part in the Weekender this year. The Howard Street Dual, which took place in the city centre on Saturday 10 March, saw 17 female riders take to the city centre dual slalom track, in comparison to just eight last year. It was local rider Carrie Poole who once again topped the podium and, in the men’s category, last year’s winner Brett Penfold narrowly missed out to local legend Steve Peat in the nail-biting final, with a stewards’ enquiry needed to confirm the result.

Jon Dallow, who runs the event along with Nick Hamilton of the This is Sheffield bike blog, said: “A stellar field of athletes and pro riders rocked up to the Howard Street Dual, drawn by the magnet effect of Steve Peat.

“Not only did it bring this great sport out of the woods for everyone to enjoy, but it also built on Sheffield’s reputation of hosting ‘the biggest littlest race in the world’, the annual Steel City Downhill in Grenoside Woods, which returns on 5 May.

“Sheffield’s MTB scene is a close-knit community but it is accessible to all and doesn’t require you to be a top athlete to get involved. So why not get on your bike and go have fun? There’s a wealth of MTB trails, bridleways and facilities that is the envy of many right on our doorstep.”

In The Magnificent Seven cycling challenge on the Sunday, 107 riders (24 more than last year) – made up of 14 women, 55 men and 38 veterans – took on the 26-mile route, which included seven of Sheffield’s toughest hill climbs.

Competitors came from all over the country to take part but it was three riders from Sheffield who took the top prizes; Kieran Savage, Rebecca Goodson and James Allen.

Event organiser and secretary to Sheffield’s largest cycle club, SheffRec CC, Marc Etches, said: “This year’s Magnificent Seven was the best yet with the largest number of riders and some very good racing in all categories.

“Entries sold out very fast and riders really want to be part of the event.

“The racing was strong from the start and the senior men’s category was especially fierce with a great battle between the Cycling Sheffield pairing of Kieran Savage and Joe Clark and 2017 winner Andy Nichols riding for B38 Underpin Racing.

“I was pleased to see Sheffield rider Rebecca Goodson win the women’s category and especially proud to see my friend and team mate James Allen win every climb to claim the vets category.

“The crowds were again amazing and the residents came out in force to support the race, which was great to see.

“The finish at the Côte de Bradfield was very special as all the riders got to see The Outdoor City from the summit. It was the perfect finish to a unique event only available in Sheffield.”

At the 13th Sheffield Adventure Film Festival (ShAFF), many of this year’s strongest films featured women and almost one third of the 112 films had female leads, or were made by women – more than ever before.

ShAFF organiser Matt Heason said: “We had another brilliant festival this year. This is certainly thanks in part to our collaboration with The Outdoor City Weekender, which helps us plan a full visitor experience.

“Ticket sales were great, we ran four ‘Best of ShAFF’ events which were all virtually sold out, and The Outpost at the Workstation and mobile cinema truck at the train station were once again big hits.

“One area where we showed a massive increase was in visitor engagement. A staggering amount of people used an app developed by local company Boom Beam to score the films they watched, which is a great way for us to get feedback and inform our film choices for next year.”

And at the Rab Climbing Works International Festival (CWIF), two Sheffield residents fought off a world-class pool of 134 female competitors to make the podium, with Michaela Tracy in second and Leah Crane in third.

Sam Whittaker said: “This year’s Rab CWIF was a huge success with over 380 competitors from 23 countries around the world.

“The semi-finals were some of the best I’ve ever seen with lots of tops and some outrageous displays of strength.

“There were four Brits in the final, Leah Crane, Michaela Tracy, Matt Cousins and Aiden Roberts

“It was a great start to the competition season and everyone seemed to have a great time enjoying the climbs over the weekend.”

The Outdoor City website also received even more hits than last year’s record-breaking year, with more than 6,000 visits to the site from hundreds more users over the course of the 2018 Weekender. It’s clear from these results that the website is an increasingly useful resource for all those seeking information about Sheffield’s impressive outdoor offer.

The Outdoor City Weekender launched the city’s calendar of outdoor adventure for 2018. To see what else there is to look forward to in Sheffield this year, please visit www.theoutdoorcity.co.uk/the-outdoor-city-in-2018.

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Green City Sheffield launched

22 Mar

Sheffield has begun the journey to becoming a zero-carbon city by 2050 with the launch of its bold new Green City strategy with an ambitious six-point plan and launch of a new partnership to tackle the issues.

The report, set to be endorsed by the Council’s cabinet tomorrow, aims to reduce the city’s impact on the climate by becoming a zero-carbon city by 2050, taking steps to move to a low-carbon economy immediately.

It also sets out plans to empower communities, residents, public sector and businesses to become resilient to climate change and ensure the city’s homes and businesses use sustainable and affordable energy.

It will enable modern, reliable and clean journeys for everyone, ensure air is clean for all and create a green and innovative economy by supporting Sheffield businesses to become more energy efficient and delivering new low-carbon jobs for local people.

Green City Sheffield builds upon the ground breaking work of the Sheffield Green Commission. Sheffield City Council has already been leading the way to becoming a low-carbon economy.

Sheffield is testing the largest fleet of hydrogen vehicles outside of London and is the first large city to introduce anti-idling measures to stop people leaving their engines running outside schools. As a further sign of its commitment, the Council has also introduced the UK’s largest dockless bike sharing scheme, Ofo.

Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability at Sheffield City Council, said:  “Our Green City is a deliberately ambitious and far-reaching plan, with big implications for how we live and work in Sheffield. We believe this is the clearest, boldest and most developed plan of anywhere in Britain.

“It clearly sets out the changes we need to make to be prepared for challenges like more extreme and unpredictable weather, as well as the investments and opportunities that will help to improve our health, clear our air, make our city easier to get around and make our energy more affordable for everyone.

“I am very clear that man-made climate change is the biggest social justice issue of this century and requires bold, radical action. This plans sets out how we will respond to this huge challenge and enhance and protect Sheffield’s environment for everyone.”

Sheffield was one of the first cities in the UK to introduce district heating and implement clean air powers in the 1970s and private sector investment has created a further two biomass-powered decentralised energy plants in the city.

Councillor Scott said:  “We have a great track-record of delivery and we need to work collectively to achieve our ambitious goals.

“I absolutely recognise that the transition to a low carbon economy will not always be easy, and will involve difficult choices at times.  But this is about doing the right thing for people across our city, in order to create a fairer city, as the effects of climate change are not just environmental or economic.

“At its heart, man-made climate change is a social justice issue that especially affects people who are less-well-off.

“We want to enable all Sheffielders, businesses, institutions and organisations to play a role developing and delivering the solutions that will take Sheffield towards a zero carbon future.

“This is a bold, ambitious and credible plan for our great city that will help us to create and protect an environment that everyone can enjoy. We all know there has been a huge amount of debate and discussion over street trees on both sides. But we will only be able to build a fairer city if we focus on other broader environmental issues like decarbonisation, energy generation and the green-collar jobs of the future. This plan shows how we will do that.

“This plan gives us the tools we need to achieve our vision for Sheffield, where everyone breathes clean air, can access reliable, clean transport, feels safe and secure from the threats posed by man-made climate change and has access to affordable, sustainable energy to heat and power their homes and businesses.”

During 2015 Sheffield City Council facilitated the city’s first Green Commission.  This independent commission was made up of key leaders and stakeholders from across the city, including business, industry, our universities, the public sector and the voluntary and community sector.

The final report of the Sheffield Green Commission  – Sheffield’s Green Commitment – was published in 2016, and set out a vision for how, working together as a city, Sheffield could become a smarter, more sustainable, more competitive ‘future city’.

The Green City strategy will initially result in a city–wide Sustainable Energy Action Plan and signing-up to a recognised carbon reporting framework.

By 2020, the Council will have achieved a 30 per cent reduction in carbon emissions, and, in the next seven years, the Council and its partners will have substantially increased the level of low carbon and renewable energy generation in the city.

By 2030, a majority of the city’s energy will be supplied from low carbon and renewable technologies, with work already being progressed to determine how the Council can use its own assets to generate renewable energy, and develop its existing energy networks.

The council will also launch a debate around how the city can adopt and stay within an agreed carbon budget, that enables Sheffield to deliver its share of the Paris Agreement; this will limit average temperature increases to well-below 2 degrees Celsius, and will have the aim of ensuring Sheffield becomes a zero carbon city by 2050.

To view the report, click here.

 

Bid for 4,000 new homes takes leap forwards

21 Mar

Sheffield City Council’s multi-million pound bid to enable over 4,000 new homes to be built on 34 brownfield sites in Sheffield has taken a significant leap forwards.

The Sheffield bid has been shortlisted along with 44 others for funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The bid is part of the council’s ‘brownfield first’ approach that seeks to build homes on land that has been used for development previously. The authority will be awarded millions of pounds of extra funding for infrastructure, such as improved traffic junctions and flood defences, to encourage housing development on these sites – which are often more difficult to develop.

The new homes will be in and around the city centre. The council is welcoming this valuable opportunity to work with government on the strategic plan for the area.

Councillor Ben Curran, Cabinet member for Planning and Development said:

“We’re doing everything we can to encourage more house building in Sheffield, so I’m absolutely delighted that we’ve been shortlisted for this extra funding.

“The national housing crisis is hitting people here in Sheffield as well. This investment is needed to help us build the homes we need on the brownfield sites that we want. House building also brings new job opportunities to the city so we really want to ensure we make it through to the next stage.”

“This bid is only the start. We have much bigger plans to develop along the canal and develop a Sheffield to Rotherham corridor to deliver thousands of new homes and regeneration to those communities.”

The council now has until Autumn 2018 to develop a more detailed plan or funding bid.

If the bid is successful, the first new homes would be built in 2020, with approximately 3,600 homes being built by 2025.

This bid is the first stage of an ambitious plan to develop the Sheffield and Rotherham corridor that could deliver around 18,000 homes on brownfield land and much needed economic regeneration in this area that will benefit both Sheffield and Rotherham.

 

COUNCIL-BACKED INVESTMENT MODEL TO DRIVE FORWARD MAJOR MIXED USE CITY CENTRE SCHEME FOR SHEFFIELD

13 Mar

Sheffield City Council and its strategic development partner, Queensberry, has today announced that the Council will commit as investor to drive forward proposals to complete its transformative city centre regeneration scheme, formerly known as the Sheffield Retail Quarter.

The scheme’s new working title, Heart of the City II, reflects a move away from a pure retail to a mixed use project with a greater focus on high quality residential and office space. It also builds on the neighbouring original Heart of the City regeneration scheme that set a new benchmark for public realm, leisure and grade A offices in the city after the millennium.

If approved at a Cabinet meeting on 21 March, the Council will act as the primary development investor to bring forward 1.5 million square feet of new retail, leisure, grade A office and residential space right in the heart of the city centre.

Heart of the City II, designed by Leonard Design Architects, will feature significant levels will feature significant levels of grade A office space and residential development. This will create a prime new business and lifestyle destination, which will help generate the footfall and spending power that is key to drive the retail and leisure elements of the scheme, including restaurants, cafés and a new contemporary food hall.

Retail will primarily focus on premium operators not already in the city centre. Two 4 or 5-star hotels will also feature, alongside new public squares that will continue Sheffield’s reputation for high quality public realm.

The effect will be to create a new city centre commercial and residential district that enhances Sheffield’s ability to attract business, professional and financial service sector jobs and investment, and to reclaim retail spend that currently leaks out of the city.

The new investment model follows the successful delivery of a 140,000 square feet grade A office building for HSBC with over 60,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. Effectively forming Phase One of the scheme, the development is on site and on-track for completion in 2019. HSBC have agreed a 15-year lease and a first major retail let is expected to be announced soon.

Under the new delivery plan, the next phase of three new blocks will be submitted for planning in early summer 2018, with public consultation beginning in April. Construction on the next phase is expected to begin towards the end of 2018.

The Council will initially fund each phase of delivery, with Queensberry providing the design, delivery and lettings expertise. The Council will then either retain phases of the scheme to maintain a long-term income stream from rental, business rates and council tax, or it may dispose of some or all of the scheme on the open market as appropriate, effectively de-risking the development for private sector investors.

The new model is part of a strategy to speed up delivery and retain control of a scheme that has seen significant delays over a number of years after a previous scheme backed by Hammerson didn’t progress in the wake of the financial crisis of 2007.

Following comments received during the 2015 public consultation, Heart of the City II will see existing street patterns retained rather than the demolition and creation of new streets as previously planned. This is considered to have several advantages. Crucially, it simplifies construction plans, enabling the phased delivery of the scheme to progress more quickly.

Retention of the existing streets will also see the current John Lewis store remain in its existing location, which it has occupied since 1963 as a key focal point of the city on Barker’s Pool. Again, this will facilitate speed of delivery of the scheme.

Completion of Heart of the City II is expected to create around 500 construction jobs and the scheme should support between 5,500 and 7,000 jobs once built. It will also stimulate further development within the city centre and attract additional inward investment into Sheffield.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Business and Investment at Sheffield City Council, said:

“I am delighted to see these new plans come forward which will make such a lasting impact on Sheffield’s retail, leisure and entertainment offer. We believe that these re-shaped and exciting plans position Sheffield brilliantly to deliver an individual and unique scheme that reflects the different ways in which people shop, live and socialise.

“We are seeing schemes come forward across the city and more and more people choosing to live, work and study here. Our entertainment offer after 5pm is thriving. These new plans will see a truly innovative city centre emerging that reflects Sheffield’s changing dynamic.

“We are in exciting talks with major retailers but this is only part of the picture – delivering leisure, entertainment and tourism offers that complement them is what Heart of the City II is all about.

“The scheme has evolved to deliver not just a retail quarter but a new city centre mixed-use, vibrant quarter right in the heart of our city.

“Our commitment to the scheme is already demonstrated by the ongoing construction of HSBC’s impressive new office development and accompanying retail and leisure units. These plans will maintain the momentum we have achieved, create thousands of jobs and place Sheffield firmly in the premier league of UK cities.”

Paul Sargent, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Queensberry, said:

“The focus of Heart of the City II will be to bring new entrants to the city, enhancing the range of choice across the city’s retail, food and drink, hotel and leisure offer. We plan to bring in a mix of high street, premium and boutique brands that offer something new and distinctive.”

Takeaway owner fined for food fraud

6 Feb

A fast food fraudster has been fined after switching kebab meat from lamb to beef, in an effort to cut costs.

Azhar Hussain was ordered by Sheffield Magistrates Court to pay £1, 440 after being caught selling a lamb kebab which turned out to be beef.

The case was brought by Sheffield City Council Trading Standards officers who visited his takeaway, S1 Food Bar in Fitzalan Square, in November 2016.

Officers, who regularly carry out checks based on intelligence they receive from members of the public, made a test purchase at his takeaway. They specifically chose a meal which was described on the display menu as being made with lamb.

The lamb kebab was taken away for analysis and found to be made of beef. Lamb is more expensive than beef.

Hussain, 63 years old, of Park Grange Mount in Sheffield was prosecuted under the Food Safety Act 1990. The legislation makes it an offence to sell food that is falsely described.

Sheffield City Council typically gets complaints from the public about meat or fish they have bought in takeaways or fish and chip shops. Councillor Bryan Lodge, Cabinet Member for Environment and Streetscene said: “Everyone has the right to make sure that they are getting what they order and pay for.

“If people are being short changed then, as in this case, our officers will act upon their concerns.

“The substitution of one meat for another undermines public confidence in the food industry.”

Anyone can report their suspicions or make complaint by calling 03454 040506 or at, https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/if-you-need-more-help-about-a-consumer-issue/

 

Important changes to how you report antisocial behaviour

26 Jan

On Thursday 1 February, there will be important changes to the way Sheffield residents report antisocial behaviour issues.

From this date, you will need to report certain antisocial behaviour issues, such as noise nuisance, non-hate crime related graffiti and lost, stray or barking dogs, to Sheffield City Council, not to South Yorkshire Police. You can do this by calling 0114 2734567 or visiting sheffield.gov.uk/asb

A full breakdown of antisocial behaviour issues and whose responsibility these are can be found below:

South Yorkshire Police Sheffield City Council
Begging Abandoned vehicles / parking issues
Dealing/taking drugs and drinking alcohol in the street Dead animals
Gangs and youths drinking in parks Dog fouling
Harassment or intimidation Fly posting
Fly-tipping (happening now) Dumped, fly-tipped waste (nobody present)
Hate Crime related graffiti (motivated by prejudice or intolerance towards an individual’s nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, identity, sexual orientation or disability) Graffiti (Non Hate Crime related)
Misuse of fireworks Syringes or needles
Dangerous, out of control dogs Lost, stray or barking dogs
Threatening / violent neighbour disputes Noise disputes, nuisance or DIY related noise
Prostitution and indecent behaviour Syringes or needles
Vandalism Littering
Suspicious vehicles  
Hoax calls to emergency services  

As well as these changes, from 1 February, if you call 0114 2734567 out of standard office hours to report concerns for vulnerable adults and children, and matters relating to homeless people, you will be dealt with by a Sheffield City Council call handler, not a police call handler.

For more information on reporting antisocial behaviour issues, and the responsibility of Sheffield City Council and South Yorkshire Police from 1 February, please visit sheffield.gov.uk/asb or southyorks.police.uk/101

 

Landlord ‘illegally evicted tenant and forced her to sleep rough’

26 Jan

A Sheffield landlord evicted a woman who couldn’t speak fluent English from her flat without any notice, forcing her to sleep on the streets.

Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard it was the second time that Naveed Hussain, 36, of Pitsmoor Road, had been prosecuted for offences of a similar nature.

The court heard on Tuesday how Saba Habte moved into the flat on The Wicker in December 2015 on the recommendation of a fellow student in her English class.

But just over a year later, on 15 December 2016, the tenant was drinking a cup of tea in her room when Hussain appeared at the door and insisted she had to leave the property that day.

When she objected, Mr Hussain said ‘it is my house and I can do as I choose’ and took the key from the door and put it in his pocket.

Paul Barber, prosecuting for Sheffield City Council, told the court: “That night Ms Habte stayed outside in the cold in the bus station. She suffered the indignity of losing her home and sleeping on the streets, but also some of her belongings weren’t there when she went to get them. Salvation Army Officers who assisted her with retrieval of her belongings described Hussain as having an attitude of contempt towards her.”

Hussain was prosecuted under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. The case has been adjourned for sentencing.

Councillor Jayne Dunn, cabinet member for housing and community safety at Sheffield City Council, said: “We take these cases very seriously. The majority of landlords across the city are decent and hard-working but a few seem to have little care for the responsibilities that come with letting a property.

“We believe that unlawful eviction, the threat of unlawful eviction, and harassment or intimidation are amongst the very worst kind of rogue landlord behaviour.

“For this reason we take a very tough stance against landlords who do this and have carried out six successful prosecutions in the past year.

“We believe Sheffield’s private tenants are amongst the most-protected in the country and taking prosecutions like this are part of our commitment to making sure that high standards of accommodation and responsible management prevail in the sector.”

Following the prosecution, Ms Habte said: “I’m very pleased especially hearing the outcome of the case and I am pleased with how the Council has acted and for (their) support”.

In a second case heard by Sheffield Magistrates Court this week, Saeed Bashir, 43, of Horndean Road, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to failing to licence a property contrary to the Housing Act 2004 section 95.

The court heard that on 21 July 2017, Mr Bashir was in control of a property on Page Hall Road which was required to be licensed, but wasn’t.

Mr Bashir pleaded guilty but in mitigation said that he had trusted an agent to licence the property but that agent then ran off to London with his money.

Mr Bashir didn’t apply for a licence until after he received a summons from the Court.

Costs were awarded to the council of £668 and Bashir was fined £275 reduced from £400 because of an early guilty plea.

He was ordered to pay a £30 victim surcharge, so was ordered to pay £973 in total.

Cllr Dunn added: “I hope these cases reassure private tenants that we do investigate their complaints. I encourage anyone who is concerned about the state of their rented property or feels pressured by their landlord to contact us so we can help to resolve the matter or bring action against them.”