Criminals ‘won’t benefit’ from Sheffield shop scheme

Work to regenerate the Spital Hill area of Sheffield.
Work to regenerate the Spital Hill area of Sheffield.

A council scheme to restore Sheffield shop fronts is set to be altered – to reduce the risk of accidentally improving businesses owned by convicts with ‘serious criminal offences’.

Sheffield Council approved proposals to upgrade shop fronts in Spital Hill in January, but is making the tweak to the scheme to avoid spending public money on convicted criminals’ stores.

A report said: “Since work commenced on the Darnall scheme in March, one of the lessons that has been learned has been the potential risk of the council finding itself in the position of carrying out works to property owned by persons who have unspent criminal convictions for serious offences.

“Although in practice this has not occurred, it is considered prudent to reduce the risk of this happening in future schemes.”

It went on to stress the importance of the schemes to the area, adding: “Shop front improvement schemes contribute to the overall attraction and confidence of the area by improving the street scene, helping boost the image and reputation of the centre, and encouraging private investment.

“The schemes address the appearance through the public funding and implementation of physical improvements to the front elevations of existing privately owned independent businesses, and it is important that processes are in place to ensure funding is used in a proper manner.”

Fiona Champion, regeneration manager at Sheffield Council, said: “We have reviewed the criteria for our next scheme which will be at Spital Hill. Darnall was our first pilot project and, as with all projects, we carry out continuous reviews at each stage.

“Development work is still ongoing for Spital Hill, following the success of the scheme at Darnall, and we anticipate work will start later this financial year. We are looking forward to the improvements to this important gateway shopping centre that will enhance work already completed.”