Hundreds likely at Sheffield protest in last-ditch bid to save shops

Devonshire Street
Devonshire Street
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Hundreds of people are expected to protest in Sheffield this afternoon over highly controversial plans to knock down independent shops.

The proposals for traders on Devonshire Street, which would see apartments, a restaurant and a shop built in their place, are to be heard by Sheffield Council planners at 2pm.

Planning officers have recommended that the plans - which affect a site that survived air raid bombings during World War Two - be approved.

They say the weight that can be given to the buildings’ conservation is ‘limited’ and they will have a ‘relatively positive impact’ on the area.

But there has been a massive public outcry both since the application was submitted and the recommendation was published - with almost 20,000 people signing petitions or submitting letters.

Campaigners are set to today argue for a ‘common sense’ judgement given public opposition and that the shops are heritage assets.

Objectors say the impact on the character of the area means that the street will become ‘like every single high street in the country’ and it would be ‘utter madness to demolish one of the truly individual parts of Sheffield.’

Sheffield celebrities including Arctic Monkeys’ drummer Matt Helders have signed petitions.

The protest begins at 1.1pm today outside Sheffield Town Hall.

The planning meeting is to start at 2pm.

For live updates follow reporter Ellen Beardmore on Twitter @E_Beardmore.