A historic tea shop which shut before the Sevenstone development deal fell through is set to be reopened – by a chip shop owner refusing to move into the new markets building because of increased rents.
Bruce Payne has run Castle Chippy, in Castle Market, for 12 years and has now put in a bid to take over the former Pollards Tea and Coffee shop on Charles Street, turning it into a fish and chip restaurant.
Pollards – Sheffield’s oldest shop – closed its doors two-and-a-half years ago after 132 years in the city centre, later re-opening at smaller premises on Ecclesall Road.
At the time, Pollards’ owner Simon Bower said he felt he had no choice but to move out because of a slump in passing trade, brought on as buildings were bought up to make way for the new retail quarter.
But Mr Payne said he is on the verge of an agreement with Sheffield Council to move while paying less rent than at the new Moor Market.
The council is searching for a new partner after parting ways with developer Hammerson.
“The rent at the new market is just ridiculous,” he said.
“As a comparison, we pay rent of £1,000 a month, and for us to go into the Moor Market it’s £1,200 a week. That’s a lot of fish and chips to sell.”
Mr Payne said he plans to split the old Pollards shop in two, with one half offering takeaway and the other a sit-down eaterie.
Mr Bower said: “They would rather have closed all those shops rather than come to the same sort of agreement with us.”
The businessman said rents were ‘enormous’ when he decided to leave, adding: “There was nobody around and it wasn’t a viable position – the building has been compulsorily purchased since we left.”
Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, development and skills at Sheffield Council, said units like the old Pollards were a ‘good option for businesses looking for a short-term let’.
“We’ve already seen a number of businesses taking up space in the new retail quarter footprint so it is nice to see another property coming into use,” said Coun Bramall.