THEY have gone through the upheaval of the installation of Supertram tracks, the controversy over the bus and tram gates and even flooding.
Now traders in Hillsborough are preparing for another big challenge – responding to the impending arrival of retail giants on their doorstep.
Shopkeepers and the council are working together to develop a strategy for the regeneration of Hillsborough as district shopping centre, with a public meeting lined up for next month.
Traders fear they will by affected by three new superstores – an Asda that is being built in Chaucer Road, Parson Cross, a Sainsbury’s that is planned for Claywheels Lane and a Tesco Extra that is being built at the corner of the Wicker and Savile Street.
Competition will also come from the new Kilner Way retail park in Wadsley Bridge.
All the developments are within two-and-a-half miles of Hillsborough, although the council has yet to decide whether to give the go-ahead to the proposed Claywheels Lane Sainsbury’s, next to Fletchers Bakery.
The Federation of Small Businesses fears a cumulative impact on the long established district shopping centre.
Over the years, it has withstood many challenges, but now faces being squeezed even further, says the organisation, which is working with the council’s North Sheffield Regeneration Team.
FSB’s South Yorkshire chairman, Andrew Flower, said: “In their long history of service to the local community, Hillsborough’s shopkeepers have encountered many setbacks, including wartime bombing in 1940, year-long road closures in 1993 due to the construction of Supertram, the flooding of 2007 and the perennial problem of traffic congestion and lack of parking spaces.
“But now Hillsborough’s traders face new challenges in the face of the opening of three new supermarkets and a major retail park.
“On top of this, changing shopping patterns, an ageing population, the economic recession, worsening traffic conditions and crime and anti-social behaviour are all having an impact on Hillsborough’s shopping tradition.
“It is vital people in the area do something now if Hillsborough is to maintain its time-honoured status as the shopping hub of north Sheffield.”
Elaine Feeney, North Sheffield Regeneration Team project officer, urged local traders “and anyone else with an interest in working collectively towards improving trade within the centre” to attend the meeting, at 5.30 for 6pm on Tuesday, May 24 at the new office of Hillsborough Forum at 9, Proctor Place, off Middlewood Road.