“Money grabbing b******s” scrawled on Sheffield advertising board asking locals to shop online with John Lewis
Sheffield people will help decide the future of the John Lewis building because it is in the hands of the city, says the council’s leader.
Coun Terry Fox made the pledge as John Lewis confirmed on Monday the Barkers Pool store would not reopen after a three-month consultation.
His comments came as cleaners were spotted scouring foul mouthed graffiti off the storefront in a sign of locals’ feelings towards the closure of the historic retailer.
The graffiti, which read “money grabbing b******s”, was scrawled on an advertisement board asking locals to still shop online with John Lewis now that it has closed for good.
Coun Fox said: “Crucially, the council now owns the Cole Brothers building. This means the building is in the hands of the city.
"We have been really encouraged to see so many positive suggestions from people about how we can use the site in the future.
“In the short term a lot of work needs to be carried out by building surveyors, who need to look at the interior and exterior of the building.
"A building of this size and age is complicated. Any decisions on what to do with the building and the site will be shaped by a lot of technical detail.
“We know that local people will be keen for plans for the building and site to be confirmed quickly but it is important that we get this right.
"The council will shortly be providing opportunities for local people to feed in their ideas.
“We plan to come back with more information towards the end of this year and will be extremely keen to engage with the Sheffield community to help us evolve and take forward any plans to create something important for the city.”
Many residents have voiced opposition to the retailer’s decision to close the Sheffield store, which was made in March.
A boycott of John Lewis online and Waitrose, also owned by John Lewis, has been undertaken by some locals who feel that the closure was unfair and detrimental to the city.
Coun Fox added: “Sheffield is a strong and resilient city and regeneration work is underway across the city centre to rejuvenate the area to make sure that it meets the needs of the people who live, work and visit there.
"Through Heart of the City and Future High Streets developments, work is taking place all around the Barker’s Pool site – including introducing a game changing independent food and retail scene along Cambridge Street – which has been specifically designed to be flexible to adapt to the ever changing landscape of the high street.
“We are delivering new homes, flexible office space, places to eat and drink and new leisure destinations, supported by new retailers, to bring people into the area in an age of online shopping.
"Whilst retail will remain an important part of what the city centre has to offer, it will be complemented by new bars, restaurants and event spaces that will provide a collective experience for everyone to enjoy."