Devonshire Street shops review fund almost at halfway point

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Almost half of the initial funds needed for a judicial review into the controversial decision to knock down independent Sheffield shops has been raised - with an auction taking place tonight.

Sheffield Council agreed plans to demolish the shops on Devonshire Street and replace them with flats despite more than 20,000 people signing a petition against it and widespread opposition.

Now campaigners are fighting for a judicial review with a fundraising campaign underway.

Some of the city’s leading artists, including Pete McKee and Chris Saunders, have donated works which will go under the hammer tonight from 7pm at Theatre Delicatessen on The Moor.

Nick Roscoe, of the Hallamshire Historic Buildings Society, said about half the money needed for the initial £15,000 sum to cover liability costs had been raised.

He added: “If we get permission it will become more challenging and we’ll have to raise more money - we’ll be talking another £20,000.

“But hopefully then it will be widely known that the judge has said we have a case.”

He said the judicial review papers had been lodged and the prospect of having Sheffield Council’s verdict overturned was ‘definitely up for grabs’.

He said any review would hinge on the effect demolishing and replacing the retail units - including the Rare and Racy bookshop - would have on the setting of the nearby former Wharncliffe Fireclay Works, a listed building now gift shop Within Reason.

However the council will defend its position. The authority says its hands were tied by national guidelines and that strength of feeling over the potential loss of the businesses was not a valid reason for refusal.