Revamp for Sheffield’s Moor

Development work underway on The Moor, Sheffield
Development work underway on The Moor, Sheffield

A LONG awaited revamp of The Moor is on its way - with new fashion shops moving in to newly-built stores costing tens of millions of pounds.

Talks are taking place for new retailers to move onto the street, turning The Moor into one of Sheffield’s most thriving shopping destinations once again. Debenhams could also be upgraded.

Work will start next year with the aim of turning The Moor into ‘the Oxford Street of Sheffield’.

Shoppers welcomed the announcement, and former council leader Clive Betts described the progress as ‘massively good news for Sheffield’.

Council chief executive John Mothersole said: “I’m delighted.”

Top retailers could move into new stores which are to be built on The Moor at a cost of tens of millions of pounds over the next year.

The announcement by landlord Scottish Widows was described as a ‘shot in the arm’ for the city centre by one Sheffield MP, and council chief executive John Mothersole said he was ‘delighted’ with the progress.

The Star can reveal:

■ Discussions are taking place between Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, landlord of The Moor, and fashion chains to occupy the new stores below Debenhams and on the site of the former McDonalds and JJB Sports buildings.

■ Work on the new shops is to start next year, with planning permission already been granted for the projects.

■ Plans are also being developed to refurbish the Debenhams department store.

■ The redevelopments will go ahead regardless of what happens with the neighbouring Sevenstone retail scheme.

The news follows TJ Hughes’ decision to open an interim branch on The Moor and move to a long-term building on the street in front of the markets.

Ranald Philips, agent for Scottish Widows, said it was the company’s aim to turn The Moor into ‘the Oxford Street of Sheffield’.

He said: “We recognise the potential of The Moor and with proper support from the council we can deliver.

“One of the first issues has been to improve the ‘public realm’ - the look of the area - because in recent years one company we have dealt with likened The Moor’s appearance to a sort of car boot sale.”

Mr Philips revealed ‘advanced discussions’ are being held with fashion retailers to occupy the new buildings.

He said: “Our ambition is to be on site with building both new blocks during the course of next year. Our aim is to ensure The Moor is a destination within Sheffield and an integral part of the city - a sort of Oxford Street for Sheffield.

“We talk to Hammerson quite a lot about Sevenstone but there has been a 12-year wait for it to get started. The Moor has been waiting 10 years and in the meantime a lot of retailers have left.

“We are the only developer getting on with work to improve the city centre.” Mr Philips said Scottish Widows’ project aimed to address the ‘lack of quality space in Sheffield that retailers require’.

He added he was aware of plans by Debenhams, which has a long-term lease on its building at The Moor, to bring its store up to date but had been waiting on Sevenstone.

“I believe Debenhams have plans to upgrade their store but they have been waiting for Sevenstone to begin,” Mr Philips said.

Sheffield South East Labour MP and former council leader, Clive Betts, said: “It’s massively good news for Sheffield. Improvements to The Moor will be a shot in the arm for the city centre.

“If Scottish Widows can do it, I’d say ‘Come on Hammerson with Sevenstone’.”

Sheffield Council chief executive, John Mothersole, said: “I’m delighted The Moor is coming back strong. It’s very much a private sector-led development supported by the council.”

Plans to turn the area in to Sheffield’s Oxford Street

SHOPPERS today backed plans to redevelop sections of The Moor and bring back top name stores.

The street was once one of the busiest in Sheffield but has fallen on hard times since the opening of Meadowhall more than 20 years ago.

Although stalwarts Atkinsons and Debenhams remain, many shops are closed and others are now discount retailers and a pawn store.

Plans to invest tens of millions of pounds redeveloping the former McDonalds and JJB block, and the building immediately below Debenhams, have been announced on top of the new markets and repaving works.

Debenhams is also understood to be ready to revamp its store.

The news comes as a report from the British Retail Consortium revealed South Yorkshire is one of the worst affected areas in the UK for empty shops with 15 per cent of premises lying unused.

And a previous survey by the Local Data Company published in September found 26 per cent of Sheffield city centre shops are unoccupied - many in the area of the Sevenstone retail scheme.

Progress on The Moor was welcomed.

Janet Barker, a customer service worker for BT who lives in Greenhill, said: “Redevelopment of the extra blocks will be tonnes better and, of course, the new market will bring in customers.”

Retired soldier Barry Taylor, of Gleadless Townend, added: “Once the markets come down to The Moor, it’ll bring some life to the street.

“I’d like to see stores like House of Fraser come back to the city centre. I think the extra improvements announced for The Moor will make a difference.”

The state of The Moor, with empty shops and street works, was branded ‘terrible’ by Norton Lees pensioners Anne and Brian Slingsby.

Mr Slingsby said: “I’m sick of The Moor looking like a building site. Improvements need to be finished.”

And Kenneth Cooney, a retired licensee from Dore, added: “It’s about time something was done because The Moor is a disgrace.”

Sheffield Council chief executive John Mothersole said the number of empty shops was set to be addressed through The Moor’s revamp and once Sevenstone is built.

He said: “Empty shops are high due to three factors - changing retail environment, premises acquired for Sevenstone and because Sheffield does not have the right stores for retailers.

“That will hopefully be put right with the new developments.”