IT’S a sorry sight...
Charlton’s Bakery closed 15 years ago after its owner died – and the shop has never reopened.
It is one of many traditional stores which have gone from Chesterfield Road in Heeley, ranked as one of Sheffield’s five worst district shopping areas.
The building is boarded up and the sign is fading, as paint peels from the frontage.
Next door, hairdresser Jackie Wong said the empty store is symbolic of the area’s decline.
She recalled: “I’ve been here 27 years and when I first opened it was a lot busier. There was a lot of trade in and around the area – Heeley Bottom had a supermarket and shoe shop.
“Up here on Chesterfield Road, we had a bridal shop, a butcher, an antique shop, a health store and the bakery.
“The bakery has been shut 15 years and nobody has moved into it since. It’s a mess but, because it’s private property, nothing can be done about it.”
Jackie, aged 58, said the area’s fortunes started to go downhill after changes were made to the road, which led to parking being banned before 9.30am in the mornings and after 4.30pm, putting off customers.
She believes there are now “too many takeaways”.
“You can get any sort of food from around the world along here – but nothing else,” Jackie said.
“A variety of shops would bring in more customers.”
Of the other stores on Chesterfield Road, there are some cafes and three pubs, plus specialist shops, including a large model railway store and a health food shop, In A Nutshell.
Its owner Sheila Seddon said: “The area really needs doing up. It’s in a shocking state.
“There needs to be a bigger range of shops. Every time a new place opens it’s a takeaway.
“The parking restrictions don’t help matters because they make it difficult for shoppers.”
Some improvements from private businesses have been made to Chesterfield Road in recent years, including the expansion of Ponsford’s furniture store and the Rails model railway shop.
Manor A Long Way Off Top Marks
TRAFFIC thunders by as a sprinkling of shoppers make their way between the stores at Manor Top.
It’s midday but the shutters are down at more than a third of the retail units.
Not because they are closed. They are mostly takeaways which open only in the evenings.
Just a couple of stores are actually empty, plus The Elm Tree pub, which is boarded up behind metal sheeting.
Of the stores trading, there are three supermarkets, two pawn shops, a pharmacy, a bookmaker, a florist, a hairdresser plus a few sandwich shops and a chippy.
Marjorie Alexander, of Simply Red Flowers, said: “Parking is the biggest problem. There is a car park behind Tesco but you can only stay there for a short period.
“If you park on the road, people return to their cars to find they have been broken into. There are not enough places to leave your cars safely for long enough to do your shopping.
“Improved security such as CCTV cameras would make the area safer and attract more shoppers.”
She is also dismayed by the number of takeaways which are closed during the daytime. “All the shutters are off-putting. There needs to be a greater variety of stores - there’s nowhere selling clothes or hardware.”
At nearby Delights sandwich shop, on City Road, worker Louise Wainwright said: “Parking is a nightmare and stops a lot of trade. But once the Netto is turned into an Asda I’m sure we will have more people up here.
“We are usually quite busy anyway. I’m surprised Manor Top is in the five worst shopping areas.”
Nicola Walker, of Barbers2Beauty hairdressers, which has been trading for six years, called for “more variety” of shops to be encouraged but was also “surprised” how badly the area is ranked by the council.
Views of shoppers varied.
Agnes Townend, 81, from Westfield, who was at Manor Top to shop with husband Brian, 80, said: “I’ve been shopping here 60 years and it could be better. There are too many takeaways now.”
But a man who did not wish to be named said: “I don’t think it is too bad up here. It’s better than other shopping areas and the man from the council who looks after the streets makes sure it’s always clean and tidy.”
Chaucer Shop Owners Cross With Council Decisions
TRADERS blame the council for the decline of Chaucer shopping centre off Deerlands Avenue in Parson Cross.
They feel aggrieved after half the shopping parade was bulldozed by the council and sold to the NHS to provide a new health centre, which has not yet materialised.
And they are angry at the demolition of council houses in the area, which has taken away customers.
Unlike many small traders, shopkeepers in Chaucer are looking forward to the opening of a supermarket nearby - the Asda currently being built next to Chaucer School.
Ricky Derbyshire, of family-run Derbyshire DIY, said: “We are not worried about Asda - I think it will be a good thing. Most people currently go out of the area to shop because the nearest supermarket is Morrisons at Ecclesfield.
“The council should take the most blame for the area becoming run down. They knocked down houses and shops for the medical centre.
“The council had three different areas where they could have put the health centre, two of which were empty, but it chose the one here which had shops on it.
“Not only did it deprive the council of some rental money, it hit trade for neighbouring businesses.”
The site of the former shopping parade stands derelict - and the new health centre is still waiting to proceed.
Officials say consultation is taking place with GPs in the area about what type of facility will be provided, and that funding is available for the project despite the cuts.
The 11 shops left are four takeaways, a hairdresser’s, a barber, a DIY store, a furniture shop, a bookmaker’s, a cafe and convenience store Albany News and Booze.
A worker at the convenience store said: “It’s the council which keeps allowing takeaways to come in but they have the shutters down in the day and do not attract customers.
“Asda should improve things.”
Dennis Aslan, of Cross Cafe, said: “Asda will bring people to Parson Cross and create 150 jobs in the area, so people will have more money to spend.
“The impact on us will be one of two things. Either its cafe will kill us or it will bring extra trade and help – I’m not sure which.
“These days small businesses are shutting down anyway.
“There used to be a clothes shop next door but it closed and was derelict for eight years.
“We expanded into it to turn what used to be a sandwich shop into a cafe.
“The council could help us by improving the parking spaces outside and providing grants for people to improve their shop fronts.”