18,000-signature shops petition handed to council

An 18,000-name petition in opposition to plans to demolish a row of shops in the Devonshire Quarter is now in the hands of the council.

It will be taken into account when a decision is made whether to approve redevelopment in Devonshire Street to make way for two new units – shops or cafes/bars – and 14 apartments.

The authority is under pressure to save the block that includes Rare & Racy, the Natural Bed Company and Syd & Mallory, with many protesters saying Sheffield city centre cannot afford to lose independent and individualistic shops.

But cabinet member Leigh Bramall said it could only judge the application according to national planning rules, assessing issues such as the scale of the development and the impact on its surroundings, and the balance between retail and places to eat and drink in that block. “Planning is a quasi judicial process.

“The fact that an application has been received doesn’t mean the council or its planning board has made a decision. Anybody can put in a planning application.”

Developers say the block is in poor condition, and its proposed replacement would be similar in design.

Coun Bramall acknowledged the size of the petition and said: “We don’t want to do anything that will harm the character of the Devonshire Quarter and Devonshire Street. It’s a lovely unique street, and we invested in the green and supported the Tramlines festival.”

The council was also encouraging the development of similar areas such as Kelham Island and the Antiques Quarter around Abbeydale Road.

A council verdict on the Devonshire Street application could be made next month.

lBed shop milestone, P19