Local shops in a Sheffield district centre are getting a makeover in a pilot project aimed at putting the heart back into the area.

Work starts at the end of this month to refurbish 47 shop frontages in Darnall, giving them new signage and guttering, and sprucing them up.

All the shops are independent stores. Darnall has been chosen for the scheme because of the area’s potential to become a thriving hub for the community.

The work is expected to take around six months and is part of Sheffield City Council’s strategy to help, support and promote local shopping centres. The scheme is funded by the Local Growth Fund, which is the money awarded to the Council for building new homes or bringing empty homes back into use.

Councillor Harry Harpham, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods, said:

“Darnall centre has a strong community and excellent transport links, but has many shops in poor state of repair. This will help the area become more attractive to shoppers and boost the centre’s potential.

It’s a bigger picture than refurbishing some shop fronts. Regenerating shopping centres can put the heart back into a district and make it a place where people want to live and businesses want to invest. If this approach proves successful we will look at using it in other district centres facing similar issues.

With around 47 shops along Main Road and Staniforth Road signed up to the scheme, work will be going on throughout spring and summer. Businesses will remain open at all times and we aim to keep disruption to a minimum. We can assure shoppers that it will be worth the wait.”

Paul Roberts from contractors RF Joinery and Shopfitting Ltd, added:

“We are proud to be working in conjunction with Sheffield City Council and the local community to regenerate areas within the local community and promote a sustainable city.”

The wider regeneration framework for the centre includes improvements to the general street scene to make the area feel cleaner and safer, training and support for traders, and encouraging housing development on nearby vacant sites.