SHOPKEEPERS in a ‘forgotten’ part of Sheffield city centre are calling for improvements to stem declining trade - which they estimate has fallen by 25 per cent.
The plea has been made by traders on Pinstone Street between the Peace Gardens and the top of The Moor, an area untouched despite upgrades to the Peace Gardens, Fargate and The Moor.
Sheffield Council said it has long-term plans to improve the street but no money at present - but chief executive John Mothersole said traders will benefit once the new Sevenstone retail quarter is built.
Jane Hides, manager of Supercuts hair salon, is among shopkeepers calling for urgent help, along with bosses at the neighbouring JD Sports and Playtime stores and Costa Coffee.
Jane said: “Since the shops on the other side of Pinstone Street were boarded up for Sevenstone, trade has fallen 25 per cent, and more shops are being closed. The opticians across the road has gone and Thorntons is closing.
“At Christmas we were down £1,500 a week on 2010, and on two Sundays we did not have a single customer.”
Jane said under previous ownership the salon had eight full- time staff. Trade has fallen so much she now employs three.
Jane said: “Improvements have been made elsewhere but we seem to have been forgotten and haven’t had any investment by the council in return for our business rates for years. There are more and more empty shops and people treat this as a thoroughfare between Fargate and The Moor. If you stand watching the people passing by, few even look at the shops or bother to stop. We need investment - or a temporary cut in rates or rents - to help us.”
Sheffield Council agreed the street is ‘in need of a complete upgrade’ which is proposed as part of the Steel Route pedestrian walkway across the city centre from The Moor to Victoria Quays. But it said no funds are likely to be available until Sevenstone goes ahead in 2013/14.
Officers said the street has been improved by the Sheffield Showcase scheme to put art exhibitions in the windows of empty shops, and that some units have been reopened short term.
Council chief executive John Mothersole said: “We don’t deny there are difficulties but we cannot ride to the rescue. A new furniture shop has opened on Pinstone Street and other shops like Patisserie Valerie have opened.”
■ Supercuts is helping Sport Relief with free headshaves for people being sponsored to lose locks.