What a difference a year makes...
Darnall’s shopping district has been revamped with a bright new look as part of a project aimed at transforming Sheffield’s most ‘challenging’ retail areas.
The pilot scheme to repair, revamp and improve the appearance of shops with £300,000 has been completed after work began in March.
And the sprucing up will now be replicated on Spital Hill as part of the Successful Centres programme, which targets support at the worst-performing district centres.
Darnall was chosen as the pilot as it was identified as having some buildings in a poor state of repair and a high number of badly-maintained, empty shops.
Coun Harry Harpham, cabinet member for homes and neighbourhoods at Sheffield Council, said: “Darnall has all the ingredients to be a thriving and successful district shopping centre – a strong community, good range of shops and community facilities, and access to transport links.
“But the quality of the shopping was poor in relation to a centre that serves such a wide residential area.
“There has been a tremendous transformation in the appearance of the Darnall shopping area.
“It is now an attractive centre that people are proud of and it will encourage further investment by the existing businesses.”
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The council used £300,000 funding from the Local Growth Fund, which is money given to the council for building new homes or bringing empty ones back into use, on the project.
Shop front improvements on Main Road and Staniforth Road were paid for with up to £5,000 per property after consultation on the makeover took place in April 2013.
It is hoped the revamp will have ‘put the heart back into the area’ and boost the amount of shoppers using the stores as well as attracting further investment.
Neil Bishop, of Darnall Neighbourhood Forum, added: “The scheme has certainly improved the appearance of the shopping centre and has made it a more inviting place to come and shop.”
Improvements to Darnall’s streets designed to make the area feel cleaner and safer, training and support for traders, and allowing housing development on nearby vacant sites are also in the pipeline.
Details of the Spital Hill scheme are expected to be revealed shortly.