Laycock House development causing worry for future of charity shop

Planned development of the historic Laycock House is leaving a Sheffield charity shop in search of a new home.

The stroke support shop moved into the Victorian building last year with a two year lease, but are being told by the council they must leave early next year to make way for the heart of the city II development.

Manager of the shop, Tracey Newman, has said the current development has left the shop on an “island”, and is struggling to attract customers.

Newman said that the shop went from making £3,500 to £5,000 a week before development began, to struggling to make £1,000 since.

The shop needs to move by early next year, and finding a new premise for the charity is proving a difficult task.

Newman said: “We’re a stroke charity, so people who support us have either had strokes, or have relatives that have had stokes so we need to be very aware that the buildings have got be suitable for access”.

“Its a big, big issue for us at the moment so we’re looking for help really. We’re looking for a sympathetic landlord that might just give us a start, that would be absolutely wonderful”.

Another employee simply said: “we’re doomed”.

Meanwhile the historical significance of the old Athol Hotel, attached to Laycock House, is being fought for by heritage groups as it is under threat of destruction.

Robin Hughes, member of the Hallamshire Heritage group, says that although the council has changed their attitudes towards historic buildings, in this instance a lot more could be done.

“It hasn’t translated into how they go about approaching the sites that they’re developing. The smaller building that will be built in place [of the Athol Hotel] will stick out like a sore thumb compared to everything else that’s from the 19th century”. he said.

Although their fight to keep the hotel continues, with members of the Hallamshire Heritage group planning to submit comments on the plan, Hughes admits that he is hopeful rather than confident that the hotel will remain.

The council were asked for comment about this planned development, but has not responded.