‘Talk to shops’ plea over £480m plans

Jack Hawksworth and Alex Mir at Sa-kis on Division Street
Jack Hawksworth and Alex Mir at Sa-kis on Division Street
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Sheffield’s independent retailers have called on the council to work with them to make the city’s £480million New Retail Quarter a success.

The new 900,000sq ft centre is set to open in 2019 and will house a mix of big-brand retail and leisure facilities, Sheffield Council has announced.

Jack Hawksworth and Alex Mir at Sa-kis on Division Street

Jack Hawksworth and Alex Mir at Sa-kis on Division Street

But traders in the town centre say the planned complex, aimed at luring in shoppers from across the region, is unlikely to be able to compete with Meadowhall.

Retail figures have also questioned whether the scheme will happen - unlike the failed Sevenstone project.

Alex Mir, manager at clothing store Sa-kis on Division Street, said: “It’s a brilliant idea but will it really happen, and if so, will they put the right things in place?

“The council’s main problem is usually a lack of positive ideas or ideas with positive effects. The Moor Market is a perfect example. It was all promises and potential but it doesn’t seem to have worked.

“We welcome any investment, but it needs input from businesses to make sure it doesn’t end up like the market. We want the council to come and talk to independent businesses.

“The council needs to start listening to what businesses want.”

Andrew Clark, owner of A New Shop and Old Boys Barber Shop on Division Street, said: “It’s never going to happen. You can’t compete with Meadowhall.

“Retail is a changing landscape and building a load of empty shops is not the answer. It needs to be high quality offer.

He also said NRQ would need to feature late night opening to attract big chains.

Mr Clark added: “None of the big brands are going to come into the city centre and pay big rents for half a day’s trading.

“They will go to Meadowhall where they can open from 10am until 10pm.

Nalin Seneviratne, director of major projects at Sheffield Council, said: “Sheffield Retail Quarter, Fargate and The Moor will be the epicentre of retail and leisure offering the pinnacle of mid-market and premium brands, along with an exciting array of leisure and catering destinations.”