The old Gilder’s motor dealership at Banner Cross is to be revived as a car showroom – nearly six years after plans for homes and shops were approved on the site.
Gilder’s wants to re-use its buildings off Ecclesall Road South to sell second-hand vehicles, with opening planned for mid-to-late September.
In 2010 councillors gave the go-ahead for the old Volkswagen showrooms to be converted into a restaurant or bar above a food shop. Workshops would have become seven apartments and at the back, off Talmont Road, seven houses were planned.
However, work did not start on the redevelopment, and Gilder’s carried on using the mothballed site as a space to store and valet cars.
Much of the Gilder business was sold to Bradford-based JCT600 in 2013.
However, the Banner Cross showroom was not part of the deal and was retained by the Sheffield firm, which also kept its Honda franchises.
Mark Tamblyn, Gilder’s general manager, said: “It’s quite an iconic site and Gilder’s has been around since 1938. I think VW left in January 2009 so when they moved up to Norton it’s been empty since then.
“We’ve seen an opportunity in the marketplace that we think we can fill through our expertise in the motor trade.”
However, Mr Tamblyn said the idea of the site being redeveloped had not been scrapped entirely. “If, after bringing it back to life, in three or four years we decide to go ahead with the planning permission we will do so.”
The approved scheme involved keeping the 1950s showroom building and converting it into a ‘traditional-style’ farm shop with a restaurant or bar above.
A working group was set up to look at traffic issues around the development. Bans on left turns from Ecclesall Road into Psalter Lane, and right turns into and out of the Gilder’s site, were proposed.
Residents wanted the council to install two mini roundabouts at the junctions with Psalter Lane and Brincliffe Edge Road – but the council said this would not pass a safety audit, and that a full roundabout would cost more than £1 million.
In 2009 an application to create a supermarket and 16 homes was refused after objections from neighbours in Banner Cross, who objected mainly on traffic grounds.