Revamp planned for street at centre of city’s gang turf war

VIEWS are wanted on the regeneration of a run-down shopping street which has been at the centre of gang violence in a Yorkshire city.

Earlier this year, more than £1m in funding was secured to make major improvements to Spital Hill in Sheffield, which leads from the Wicker to Burngreave.

The road, in between the S3 and S4 areas of the city, has been the epicentre of the “postcode gang” turf war in recent years.

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The run-down area hit the headlines in 2008 when teenager Tarek Chaiboub was shot dead in broad daylight after having his hair cut in Frenchie’s barber shop in Spital Street, just off Spital Hill. Jonathan Matondo, 16, was also gunned down in Nottingham Cliff recreation ground, just a short walk away, in October 2007.

Now the city council is asking members of the public for their views on how Spital Hill should “take shape”, as well as gathering ideas for potential public art in the area.

Coun Harry Harpham, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said: “We are determined to improve the streetscene on Spital Hill, but we want to get local people’s views on the key parts of the proposals.

“Burngreave features as an important area for future housing regeneration and a busy gateway into the city centre that is in need of a major makeover.

“We want the local community and businesses to have their say on this exciting opportunity to make significant improvements to the area, so come along and give us your views.”

The main focus of the public consultation will be the proposed improvements to Ellesmere Green at the northern end of Spital Hill, which a spokesman for Sheffield Council described as an “eyesore.”

They added that it is “seen as a key site to help improve the overall appearance of the area.”

To launch the consultation, a family fun day has been organised by Sheffield Council, to take place between 11am and 4pm this Saturday, July 7, outside Vestry Hall opposite Ellesmere Green.

A spokesman said: “The council will be asking for comments on a number of proposals for Ellesmere Green.

“There will also be lots of free activities on offer too, with Greentop Circus, street entertainment, face painting and a bouncy castle.

“If you miss this event, a public exhibition will be held in the New Roots Cafe on Thursday, July 12 between noon and 7pm, when there will be a chance to look at the proposals and talk about them over a cup of tea with the officers.

“For anyone unable to get along to either of these events, there will still be a chance to leave your comments by visiting the website at www.sheffield.gov.uk/ellesmere before July 27.

“Alternatively, drop in to Sorby House or New Roots Cafe where the proposals will be on display until July 27.”

Just over £450,000 for the regeneration project was previously secured from a planning agreement, after supermarket giant Tesco gained planning permission to open a 24-hour superstore at the bottom of Spital Hill.

That supermarket opened its doors in the autumn of 2011.

The money from Tesco will be spent on “enhancing the streetscene along Spital Hill”, with elements such as new paving, street lighting and litter bins as well as public artwork.

Additional funding, amounting to £605,000, has also been gained from the “Local Growth Fund”, which is supported by the Government.

Ward councillor Jackie Drayton added: “This is great news for Burngreave, especially for Ellesmere Green.

“We aim to work in partnership with the local community and businesses to develop ideas to improve the green, which could include a multi-use events area, new seating and pathways, as part of the improvements.

“We really do want everyone’s input to raise the quality of this area at the heart of Burngreave.”