Mosborough: Forgotten Sheffield village has the best of both worlds

Mosborough.

Mosborough.

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The sleepy village of Mosborough is rarely the focus of national media attention.

But, after Labour suffered a crushing defeat in a Sheffield Council by-election last Thursday, losing a seat just weeks after a Jeremy Corbyn rally in the city centre attracted thousands of supporters, the suburb suddenly hit the headlines.

Mosborough High Street.

Mosborough High Street.

The election was to replace Isobel Bowler, a popular Labour councillor in the Mosborough ward, who died in June.

In May, Labour won all three seats in the ward, with the Lib Dems languishing in fourth place behind Ukip and the Conservatives.

But last week Liberal Democrat candidate Gail Smith won on an 11-point lead.

Ms Smith had previously served as councillor for Mosborough for four years, but was voted out in 2012 as city residents rejected her party’s role in the Coalition Government.

St Mark's Church, Mosborough.

St Mark's Church, Mosborough.

Despite Sheffield city centre rallying behind Corbyn, is it really a surprise that the former Derbyshire village of Mosborough – which only became part of Sheffield in 1967 – did not?

Coun Gail Smith said many Mosborough residents feel the Labour-controlled city council has neglected the village for years.

“The fact that more than 150 issues have been reported to me in the last week alone shows just how neglected this area has been,” she said.

But Coun Smith does not agree that she owes her victory to the ‘Corbyn effect’. “A lot of people have been saying that I only won the seat because Labour voters don’t like Corbyn.

Mosborough.

Mosborough.

“The fact is I worked hard for this area last time I was a councillor and I worked extremely hard on my campaign for re-election.

“I actually live in the Mosborough ward too, unlike the Labour candidate – who lived 20 miles away in Stocksbridge.

“Regardless of party politics, people want to be represented by somebody who actually knows the area.”

For lifelong Mosborough resident Christine Yeardley, aged 65, who remembers the Debyshire days, she agrees the village sometimes feels like it has been forgotten.

She said: “It sometimes feels like things that happen in the rest of the city take a while to come to Mosborough.”

Despite grumbles about being forgotten, speaking to residents and business owners is, on the whole, a very positive experience.

Villagers speak of a tight-knit community which supports its independent businesses, shops and pubs.

Many speak of the delightful countryside nearby and a sense of belonging and knowing one another.

In the short drive from the city centre to Mosborough, things do change noticeably. While walking the streets, for instance, locals offer a cheery ‘hello’ as they pass – a tradition long-lost in the middle of Sheffield.

The streets are tidy too, while there are some grand buildings along with a plethora of pubs, eateries and shops.

For Mark Froggatt, aged 20, Mosborough strikes the perfect balance between city and country.

Shop assistant Mark said: “There’s not loads to do in Mosborough for a young person. However, you’re a 20-minute drive from the city centre and a few minutes’ walk into beautiful countryside. You get the best of both worlds really, I’ve always been very happy here.”

After falling in love with the village, Louise Bateman, 46, opened The Little Bean Bag café on the High Street in December.

“For a small village we have so many independent businesses and shops,” she said. “More importantly, people in the village support their local business, which is so important. Mosborough residents look out for each other, they support each other and everybody knows each other.

“But even if people don’t know each other, they’ll still say hello.

“It’s a friendly place with such an amazing community spirit.”

Kathleen Jones, a regular at the café, said she has always liked Mosborough life.

She said: “People are very friendly here, everyone’s always up for a chat and a laugh – that’s why I like it so much.”

Coun Gail Smith said she was ‘delighted’ to be representing the ward again and said she has high hopes for its future.

“The Mosborough ward is a very special place and I am so happy to represent it again. I can’t promise to solve everybody’s problems, but I can try.

“I want to say a big thank you to everybody to the people of Mosborough for giving me the opportunity to work with them for them.”

Gail said she will be out and about in the coming weeks and plans to announce drop-in sessions and meetings with residents. Email gail.smith@sheffield.gov.uk for details.