Letters:  It looks like it is being destroyed by greed and power

After many years living near, and observing the development of Ecclesall Road since 1970 I have views which I feel I should share with your readers.

By Angela Furniss
Tuesday, 05 March, 2019, 11:29
Ecclesall Road

In 1970 there were only a view shops for the discerning shopper and these were at opposite ends of the road. There was a contemporary fashion shop and a more traditional ladies dress shop towards one end of Ecclesall Road and also a contemporary fine jewellers near Hunters Bar together with a designer homeware store.

I was one of these retailers and can remember Ecclesall road when it appeared to be insignificant as a shopping destination in comparison to it’s current attraction for the fashionable, young professional seeking good well cooked food, clothes and apparel, and the student looking for a modern, interesting environment within which to socialise.

Before I decided where to locate my retail business in 1971 I diligently researched which route into Sheffield City Centre was the most popular and how many of each make of certain luxury motor vehicles used this route.

After studying Fulwood Road, Abbeydale Road and Ecclesall Road it became abundantly clear that wealthy people who had moved out of town into Derbyshire preferred Ecclesall Road as there entry into town.

It was clearly obvious that I should open my business on Ecclesall Road and I began looking for a property which I subsequently bought and enjoyed success as a retailer.

However there is a problem. This area has risen to succeed, and so has the cost of retailing on Ecclesall Road. Commercial rates and rents are astronomically high and appear to be rising. There are many shops closing, more charity shops opening. A familiar story.

The very small minority who still survive manage do to so by creativity, imagination and sharp business sense. One example is the Design Studio shop which should be congratulated for surviving for over thirty years and is continuing to do so, but the creative and imaginative designer who owns this business like many retailers, has to continually come up with good ideas to attract business in return for being challenged and penalised for this by greedy unimaginative landlords who cannot see beyond their noses, and a City Council who has a reputation for applying the most crude, unimaginative methods to generate income to help

liquidate it’s massive debt. Parking and bus gate fines etc. indicated by obscure complex signage.

Why should we allow non creative people power over creative individuals? Creatives like artist, designers and craftspeople are responsible for the visual world around us. We are deluged by ‘designer’ goods, automobiles, fashion garments etc. all designed by someone who is likely to have been to art school.

But to some people, the cultural and visual world is a complete mystery. Compound interest and buy to let investment isn’t rocket science but people who live on the proceeds of these are bringing the private innovative individuals in business to their knees.

Many of these people have control over our world and are unable to generate original and creative ways of generating income, or recognise an aesthetic we can all enjoy. Intellectual wealth is priceless .

Ecclesall Road is a wonderfully attractive place to be and as a result of all the effort retailers have made over the years to make this area what it is now. My neighbourhood has changed from being ‘bedsit’ land to beautifully cared for Victorian and Edwardian Villas owned by successful young people who recognise the potential of this special part of Sheffield. No thanks to anyone other than those people who have to pay the penalty of high commercial rates and rents. Also, let’s not forget those people who have lived in their little ‘palaces’ on the terraces behind Ecclesall Road who are now surrounded by squalor, noise and ugliness from unregulated tenancies and are too frail to resist or tolerate the discomfort of managing to live in an environment they don’t recognise anymore. .

The words I have used mostly are creativity and imagination. Our world would not exist without these and it looks like it is being destroyed by greed and power.

Roy Ridsdale