Arctic Monkeys’ drummer backs fight to save Sheffield shops

Shops facing Devonshire Green
Shops facing Devonshire Green
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Hundreds of people - including Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders - are urging planners to save a clutch of independent Sheffield businesses from being bulldozed.

Plans to demolish a number of properties on Devonshire Street, and replace them with a three-storey block of apartments, restaurants and cafes have been submitted to Sheffield Council.

Objectors say there is no shortfall of flats in the city centre but there is a lack of independent businesses.

Shops including the Rare and Racy book shop will go if the proposals are approved.

One comment submitted to the application said: “The destruction of these buildings will rip the heart out of the vibrant community that has built itself around Devonshire green, replacing it with the kind of faceless residential slab that inspires nobody.”

Others said the building itself was of beautiful ‘pre war design’.

“Who in their right mind would destroy the best row of shops in Sheffield for just another block of flats”, said one objector.

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A raft of celebrities have added their support to the cause.

Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders wrote on Twitter: “You can’t let em knock down these shops. Classoc, independent businesses in Sheffield.”

The frontman of two-piece grunge band Drenge, who come from Castleton, has also written a blog on the issue.

Eoin Loveless wrote: “Rare and Racy is a second hand book and music shop that smells of burning incense and always plays free jazz. Its presence in the city is silent and composed but vital and enriching.”

Sheffield artist Pete Mckee also posted a picture of Rare and Racy on Twitter and wrote: “Somebody wants to knock this down & put a chain foodery and flats in its place!”

The plans have been sumitted by Sheffield business Primesite Ltd.

They include 10 studio apartments and four one bedroom apartments with commercial space underneath.

A design and access statement said: “The site is located in the Devonshire Quarter, and as such the proposals look to deliver a replacement structure that will simultaneously respect and enhance the existing historic vernacular of Devonshire Street whilst also offering high quality contemporary design where appropriate.

“It is proposed to demolish the existing properties which will enable the applicant to address and ameliorate a number of structural, health and safety issues that arise from their current deteriorated state

“From this, the intent is to rebuild the Devonshire Street facade like-for-like, with particular scrutiny given to historic detailing that has warranted the recognition of the building as possessing townscape value.”

See The Star tomorrow for more on this story.