WORK costing tens of millions of pounds is taking place to revamp The Moor in Sheffield, as its managers hope to buck the decline affecting the city centre.
A survey by the Local Data Company found 26 per cent of city shops are now empty - many in the area of the new Sevenstone retail scheme.
But work has started on The Moor to create a £16 million new market, while the street is being repaved.
Plans have also been approved to rebuild shop units opposite and just below Debenhams, with work starting next year.
Ranald Phillips, director at Ashcroft, consultants for The Moor’s owners, Scottish Widows Investment Partnership Property Trust, said: “We see investment in The Moor as part of the major regeneration of Sheffield’s city centre retail core.
“The people of Sheffield will experience significant changes. These improvements are attracting serious interest from major retailers.”
Graham Frith, director at Atkinsons department store, added: “In all honesty, investment in The Moor is the light at the end of the tunnel for us - particularly with the markets coming here, which attract three million visits a year.”
Phil Bartram, owner of Stone The Crows interiors store on The Moor, said: “The improvements are needed but I’d be concerned if rents at the new units are high, which would be detrimental to local stores.”
There has been no progress on Sevenstone, despite developer Hammerson announcing another project in Croydon and this week purchasing the Victoria Quarter, in Leeds, to ‘complement’ its neighbouring Eastgate Quarters retail scheme.
Talks about Sevenstone will be held later this month between Sheffield Council and Hammerson.