Revamp plans for shops

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Centuries-old buildings in South Yorkshire are to be given a new lease of life thanks to plans announced by a local businessman.

Chris Hamby says he intends to buy and redevelop six buildings on and around Rotherham’s High Street, including the Three Cranes – a former 15th century timber-framed coaching inn which is Grade II* listed.

The plan would result in a complex of mixed-use retail outlets, including a gift shop as well as returning the medieval Three Cranes to a real ale inn.

Mr Hamby, who owns Hamby’s shoe and gift shop on High Street, says he intends to buy and redevelop five empty properties on High Street, along with the George Wright building that stands between the High Street and Snail Hill.

Rotherham Council has agreed to loan Mr Hamby of £750,000 towards the purchase and redevelopment of the site, which will enable him to apply for a grant from Rotherham Townscape Heritage Initiative Programme.

Mr Hamby said: “This block of shops has long stood empty, vandalised and unloved, and I hope everyone who loves Rotherham will welcome and support these plans. ”

Rotherham Council leader Coun Roger Stone described the plans as ‘absolutely brilliant news for this part of Rotherham’s High Street’.

He said: “This is a once-in-a-decade opportunity and I applaud Mr Hamby’s enthusiasm and wish him well.”