Retailer attacks council over run-down Sheffield suburb

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AN UNHAPPY trader has attacked Sheffield Council for not doing enough to help businesses in a struggling Sheffield district.

Simone Robey, who owns Aries Lighting on Main Road in Darnall, has spoken out after Forward Investments pulled out of plans to regenerate the suburb.

The company’s proposals would have been supported by attracting a ‘major anchor supermarket’ – but no retailer was interested.

Ms Robey said: “We came to Darnall 16 years ago and set our business up from nothing. For 16 years we have been part of the business community and done our bit trying to make Darnall a better area, not least paying over £10,000 a year in rates.

“We have tried to get the council to help make Darnall better but they don’t listen to us, as we only pay their wages but don’t matter when it comes to votes.

“The council has sat back for years expecting Forward Investments to come in and spend the money Darnall needs to be regenerated but, that’s not happening.

“The council has done less and less – even the green areas are badly overgrown and not maintained – though they do occasionally put yellow lines all over the roads and then not police them. The only thing that does is drive people away to Meadowhall where parking is free and plentiful.

“It is time for the council to put its hand in its pocket and get Darnall back to the busy community it once was.”

Sheffield Council says it will be looking to work with businesses and residents in Darnall to draw up alternative improvement plans.

Coun Mary Lea, Labour councillor for Darnall and a member of the council’s ruling cabinet, said: “We have been wanting to improve Darnall for some time, since the area lost Morrisons.

“The question is what is available now in terms of funding to make things happen and turn around the district centre.

“There is no great plan because we do not have a private developer lined up any more.”

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