Letter: John Lewis is a business, not a charity

This letter was written by Maureen Bownas

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 1:13 pm
John Lews in Sheffield City Centre is set to close taken by Chris Etchells.

I read with interest on last week’s letters page, comments from John Barker regarding the relocation of Kommune food hall into the John Lewis building. What a good idea! I agree, it is time to move on.

I feel that John Lewis does not deserve the bad feeling that is being generated. It is a business, not a charity. And as such relies on footfall and turnover to pay wages, running costs and pensions.

Since the opening of Meadowhall, predictably shoppers with their cash have moved away from the city centre. The city planners and the general public knew this would happen, but did little to help support the remaining businesses in the town centre. Now that area looks like a ghost town.

I am now concerned that if we are not careful we shall lose M&S, Waterstones, the Sheffield market and Atkinsons and other businesses.

Since restrictions were eased I have shopped every week in Atkinsons and the market and have bought from Waterstones. But on every occasion, in spite of warm welcomes from the stores, there were few shoppers.

I urge you to get out and visit our shops. They are desperately in need of our footfall. It is time for us all to use our spending power and also demand more help from our council, for the remaining shops and facilities in the city centre.

So yes, let’s regenerate the John Lewis building, with Kommune, maybe a Citizens Advice office, some interesting shops and facilities and make space for the Central Library. That area has plenty of potential.

We have two wonderful universities in the city, both with excellent planning and architectural departments. Let us ask for their input too.

Sheffield needs to appeal to all age groups as well as making the city centre attractive and accessible to everyone.

As John Barker suggests, keep the historic facades as much as possible, retaining some of our proud past, at the same time support existing and new businesses that we need for a vibrant future.