World Snooker Championship: Will Sheffield roadworks spoil the party?

Image source, Simon Thake/BBC

Image caption, Ongoing regeneration work in Sheffield city centre will continue during the 2024 World Snooker Championship

  • Author, Simon Thake
  • Role, BBC Sheffield

Snooker fans from around the UK and beyond are heading to Sheffield ahead of the 2024 World Snooker Championship.

The green baize of the Crucible Theatre tables will be in immaculate condition – but some fear ongoing city centre regeneration work will detract from the experience for visitors.

“It will look nice when it’s done but I expected it to be a bit more finished,” says Barbara Jones, who recently returned to South Yorkshire alongside husband Malcolm after living in Spain for 20 years.

Between 1977 and 2016, the overall economic benefit of the tournament for Sheffield was estimated to be well over £70m, attracting more than 1.3 million visitors to the city during this time period.

The tournament is being staged at the Crucible Theatre for the 48th consecutive year.

Image source, Simon Thake/BBC

Image caption, Malcolm and Barbara say they were “surprised” how much work is unfinished in the city centre

The event is broadcast in more than 80 countries to a global audience of more than 300 million people, Sheffield City Council says.

Lisa Lazenby, who owns The Owl and the Pussycat body piercing salon on Norfolk Row, says the combination of media trucks for the snooker at one end of the road and the roadworks on Fargate at the other is impacting her business.

“It’s really loud and chaotic, the entrance to our street is pretty much closed off so footfall is massively reduced,” she says.

“It looks like the street’s not open.”

Local college student Isak, 19, describes the area as “a bit depressing”.

“It is a bit grim, you can’t turn a corner without seeing roadworks,” he says.

Image source, Simon Thake/BBC

Image caption, Lisa Lazenby, of The Owl and the Pussycat body piercing salon, says footfall was down due to the disruption

Others are more positive about the current state of the city centre, including Joth Davies from Savills barbers on Division Street.

He is in the process of moving his business to Pinstone Street in the heart of the city and says he is tired of arguing with people about central Sheffield.

He says: “People slag off the city centre, but when was the last time they came in?

“It’s a vibrant time, there’s loads happening.”

Image source, Simon Thake/BBC

Image caption, Joth Davies from Savills barbers is encouraged by recent changes to the city centre

Sheffield City Council says several important regeneration projects have been carried out in the city since the 2023 tournament was held.

“A number of new retailers have opened their stores in the city centre including Yards Store and Fjallraven in the £470m Heart of the City II development,” a council spokesperson says.

“Work continues to regenerate Fargate, which will be complete by the end of 2024.”

The tournament takes place from 20 April to 6 May.

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