National award for Sheffield card and gift shop despite being masked behind scaffolding for almost two years

A Sheffield card shop has won a national award despite being blighted by scaffolding for almost two years.

By Sam Cooper
Tuesday, 23 July, 2019, 09:01

Cards and Gifts, on Chapel Walk, took the Best Greeting Card Retailer Newcomer or New Branch – North award at the greeting card retailing awards, known as The Retas.

Owner Carl Dunne and partner Oliver Guise-Smith received the award at a glitzy awards ceremony at The Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

Carl Dunne (second from right) and partner Oliver Guise-Smith receive their award at the ceremony.

It comes despite Chapel Walk being masked in scaffolding for almost two years as work on a £4.6 million scheme to build apartments continues at a snail’s pace.

Mr Dunne said: “With all the nonsense I have faced, the award has left me on such a high because somebody has realised what we are doing.

“I don’t do any of it for myself, I do it for the community and I do it for shoppers in Sheffield so to be recognised is fantastic.”

Scaffolding on Chapel Walk in Sheffield city centre. Picture Scott Merrylees

Traders on Chapel Walk have become increasingly frustrated, with many reporting a huge drop in their takings since the development began.

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They pleaded for help at a recent council meeting, after being told the scaffolding would remain into the peak Christmas shopping period.

Along with pursuing compensation, the council is also looking at giving traders a hardship grant.

Mr Dunne said: “Everybody in the audience was actually overwhelmed that we’d won after hearing our story. I just didn’t realise we’re as big as we are in the industry.

“There must have been 400 to 500 people in the room and I’ve never heard applause as loud – it was amazing.”

Coun Mazer Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment, said the award was a ‘great achievement under the current circumstances.’

In a statement Mark Mitchell, managing director of developer Fargate Evolve Developments Limited, said: “Fargate Evolve Developments Limited would like to sincerely apologise for the disruption that the development on Chapel Walk has caused. Delays caused by asbestos and other costs beyond our control has necessitated a financial restructuring of the project which we are trying to complete in the very near future.

“Our current plan is to get the scaffold down early in the new year with a push to get the Chapel Walk scaffold down as soon as possible once the building has been made fully watertight.