Grey To Green, West Bar, Sheffield

Sheffield is a green city. It’s home to 2 million trees, beautiful ancient woodlands, and stunning expanses of parks and gardens. Grey to Green is bringing more of this colour into the city centre, turning once dull streets into vibrant public spaces.

Along the new streetscene, five works of public art, made from steel and stone, share insight into the former lives of this significant part of the city centre.

A significant area of wild flowers, trees and shrubs has replaced redundant carriageway from West Bar to Lady’s Bridge. The area is dotted with benches, offering space to sit awhile and enjoy the sights and scents of the plant life, as well as the wildlife it attracts. Through the creation of Sustainable Urban Drainage, Grey to Green’s new public space doubles up as a rain garden, moderating the flow of water and creating innovative sustainable drainage in a part of Sheffield that has twice been ravaged by floods.

The scheme has received national recognition and a number of awards in 2016. It was voted ‘Best Open Space’ and overall ‘Outstanding’ project at the Sheffield Design Awards.

The project also obtained a ‘Gold Standard’ and ‘Best Environmental project’ at the Yorkshire in Bloom awards.

It was the winner of the ‘National Green Champion, Construction Category Award’ at the International Green Apple Awards.

In November 2016 it also received three awards at the CEEQUAL awards winning the landscape category, water environment category and the overall ‘Eric Hughes Award 2016 for Outstanding Contribution to Improving Sustainability’.

Just a couple of streets north of Sheffield Cathedral, the area around West Bar was historically the centre of Sheffield. It may surprise today’s locals to hear that this area, leading down towards the River Don and its nearby industry, was once home to lively music halls, and that its streets were animated with bawdy balladeers. Thanks to the Grey to Green project, the area’s fascinating heritage is now getting public recognition.

Given the area’s history and as part of Grey to Green Phase1, five themes were chosen for the totem-like 4.2m structures installed in the area: Music Hall , Street Life, Water, Brewing and Industry. They have been designed to provide instant new landmarks and to reveal some of the area’s colourful and unexpected history and associations. They are made by local artists from stone and metal and incorporate stories of the area together with eye-catching mirror and lighting efects.

You can read more at the project website