Community focus: Charm and bustle in 'Sheffield's Notting Hill'

Sharrow Vale Road is a hub for shoppers
Sharrow Vale Road is a hub for shoppers
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A bustling shopping precinct with independent, charming outlets have customers shunning the chains in favour of a street dubbed 'Sheffield's Notting Hill'.

Shop owners who are keen to work together to attract trade have turned Sharrow Vale Road at Hunter's Bar into a commercial force to be reckoned with.

Rhyme and Reason has been in business since 1999

Rhyme and Reason has been in business since 1999

The area has a bit of everything, from pubs and restaurants to a framing shop and post office.

Legendary Sheffield artist Pete McKee's work can be found a Month of Sundays gallery.

Book lovers would delight in the area. There are three outlets within a stone's throw of each other.

Rhyme and Reason owner Richard Welsh is quick to point out that his shop has been there since the last millenium.

Mark and Sarah Webster come from Hathersage to shop at Sharrow Vale Road

Mark and Sarah Webster come from Hathersage to shop at Sharrow Vale Road

He went into business in 1999, and has seen plenty of changes in the industry since.

The rise of online sellers like Amazon ate into the trade, but Richard said that, much like vinyl, traditional books were making a comeback.

"Books are surviving and going through a renaissance," Richard said.

There is strength, he said, in having a cluster of book shops in the area.

Sharrow Vale Road is a hub for shoppers, who love the variety of outlets

Sharrow Vale Road is a hub for shoppers, who love the variety of outlets

Next Chapter and Books on the Park are just up the road, but his shop's difference is that it offers new books.

Author visits put on at nearby schools and other events across the city are making sure the love of books is instilled in the younger generations.

"We're working with schools for the Off the Shelf Festival," Richard said.

Around the corner, Barra Organics owner Moya Sketchley moved her business from the Moor Market in Sheffield to buy into the cosmopolitan feel of Sharrow Vale Road back in 2015.

Moya Sketchley, Angela Reading and Charlotte Carey at Bella Organics

Moya Sketchley, Angela Reading and Charlotte Carey at Bella Organics

She's glad that she did. Moya knew that it would be a good move.

"The good community of individual shops complements the offer," she said.

People come from miles to hit the shops on Sharrow Vale Road.

Moya's shop has customers in Chesterfield, Rotherham and Doncaster.

Organic is a buzz word nowadays, and those punters are keen to buy from Yorkshire suppliers.

"We work quite closely with organic growers are local," Moya said.

The shops, Moya said, were well-known outside Sheffield.

"It's really put Sheffield on the map," she said.

Mark and Sarah Webster make the almost 10-mile journey regularly.

The eateries in the area, they said, were worth grabbing a bite at.

"The restaurants are excellent," Mike said.

"The independent ones are, anyway."

The couple say they enjoy the facilities far more than what's on offer in Sheffield city centre or Meadowhall.

"I'm not in love with Meadowhall," Sarah said.

Mark said Leeds offered far more as a city than Sheffield.

"My son lives in Leeds," he said.

"And the centre, compared to Leeds, is appalling."

Charlotte Carey shunned London's expensive lifestyle about a year ago to bring her son up in Sheffield.

It's a move she said she hadn't regretted.

"I love it here," the 48-year-old Kirkstall Road resident said.

"I came up here to have a better life. It's too expensive in London."

She had previously thought of Sheffield as 'grey, grim and steel', but the cosmopolitan feel and friendly nature of her part of town had changed her mind about the city.

"You don't really realise how close to nature we are," she said.

"You can walk though Endcliffe Park and go right into the Peak District."

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield echoed the thoughts of shoppers and merchants in the area.

"It's a great little hub that offers a huge amount," he said.

"On your doorstep, you've got an excellent shopping street, pubs and restaurants, and the park.

"You've kind of got everything."

Drivers treating the street like a race track regularly were a problem for one Sharrow Vale Road resident.

Michael Johnson has lived on the street for the past five years, and said he'd nearly been hit by cars going too fast on numerous occasions.

The latest in a string of incidents happened earlier this week, when he and a friend were almost bowled over.

"It happens all the time, mate," he said.

There's plenty of history in the area, if you know where to look.

Queen Victoria's Jubilee Obelisk has been there for 112 years.

It was installed at top of Fargate in the city centre in 1887, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria's ascension to the throne.

The monument was moved to Endcliffe Park in 1905 to make way for a statue of the Queen.

That statue was itself moved in 1930, and sits at the Hunter's Bar entrance to Endcliffe Park.