STAFF at a popular family-run shop in Sheffield have pledged to ‘carry on trading’ after councillors agreed plans they fear could ‘push them out’.
Almost 140 people objected to the proposal to create a new shopfront, two entrances and alter the use of upstairs offices to retail at Williamson Hardware in Broomhill.
The store has been trading for more than 50 years but its owners claim they are being pushed out to make way for a Sainsbury’s.
Sheffield Council planners reluctantly gave the bid the go-ahead yesterday.
Afterwards Mark Williamson, whose director father Andrew is on holiday, said: “It’s not a major surprise to us, we thought they’d approve it, there is no mention of a supermarket in the plans they had to base it on.
“But we know full well what’s going to happen.
“Now we will just carry on as we are and think about the future – the main objective is to carry on trading whether we are here or not.”
Staff believe the shop’s London-based landlords will refuse to renew its lease in November 2013 and turn it into a Sainsbury’s. The supermarket says it has no formal plan but it is a location they ‘may be interested’ in.
Yesterday councillors said there were no planning reasons to refuse the application. But they praised Williamson Hardware and said they wished it was possible to turn it down.
Coun Janice Sidebottom said: “I really don’t want to approve this because the shop there serves a vital purpose and is fantastic.”
Concerns about a potential new supermarket impacting on local shops were also shared.
Coun David Baker said: “If it becomes a sort of a two units where trollies are used rather than baskets that’s taking it away from local shops – that’s when you start losing local shops.”
Broomhill councillor Shaffaq Mohammed said afterwards: “You can sense the disappointment.
“Williamson’s definitely has a future and I hope that is in Broomhill.”