Shoppers are looking forward to Sheffield’s new Sevenstone commercial property retail quarter giving the city centre a boost-and welcomed the news the commercial property development will still go ahead.
The commercial property development will now cost less than half the original amount, open five years later than initially planned, and be 20 per cent smaller.
However, student Adam Woolley, aged 21, of Hunters Bar, said he believes it will still make a huge difference to Sheffield once it goes ahead.
Originally from Manchester, Adam said new development had helped to fully revive his home city.
He said: “Since the IRA bomb in the 1990’s, Manchester has been transformed with loads of nice areas and good shops.”
He further added: “Some parts of Sheffield city centre are quite nice but better shops are needed. The project will mean people don’t need to go to Meadowhall.”
Fellow student, Nadya Libecans, from Cheshire, who is in the second year of a fashion design degree at Sheffield Hallam University, said the Liverpool One commercial property development, similar to Sevenstone, had transformed the Merseyside city as well.
Commercial property Liverpool One has involved the creation of a new open-air shopping street breathing new life into its city centre. She said: “If the work in Sheffield goes ahead it will make a difference, because the city centre is not very good at the moment.”
She further added: “Liverpool One has made Liverpool city centre a very attractive place to shop.”
Young mum Danielle Pearce, from Parson Cross, said: “The new shops need to be built in the city centre as soon as possible to make it somewhere you want to go.”
She admitted she currently favours shopping at Meadowhall rather than town. “It’s easier and everything you want is there.”
However pensioner Jackie Brookes, from Ecclesall, said the downscaling of the development and the reduction in the money being spent on it was ‘terrible news’. She said: “I still come to town to shop but I can understand why people go to Meadowhall. I worked in Sheffield city centre for 50 years and have seen it go downhill over the years. It’s such a shame.”
Interruptions in Sevenstone’s construction have already caused heavy losses for some commercial property shopkeepers forced to move out of their buildings to make way for the new development. Many of their commercial property stores lie empty in spite of efforts to reopen them on short-term lets.
Simon Bower, who used to have a commercial property coffee shop on Charles Street, said: “We lost hundreds of thousands of pounds due to fewer customers as surrounding shops closed-but we won’t now receive a penny from Hammerson because we gave up our lease voluntarily so don’t qualify. We couldn’t afford to keep the premises open any longer.”
But some commercial property businesses are flourishing in the area set aside for the development. Boarding on some of the commercial property buildings has been painted, and empty commercial property shop fronts are being used for displays by local artists.
The refurbished Henry’s Bar, on Cambridge Street, is pulling in a steady stream of patrons to enjoy its food and real ale, while Music Junkee, a commercial property musical instrument store downhill from the bar, is benefiting from low rent payments.
Martin Leverton, Music Junkee’s Director, said: “We could do with some more of the empty shops being re-let to increase footfall, because we do rely on passing trade to an extent. But the current situation is helpful for me because we wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford the rent a shop in the city centre.”
Sheffield Council said the new commercial property retail quarter will still be a ‘high-end’ development at a time when similar schemes in other towns and cities have been scrapped due to the economic downturn.