Calls for rethink of Sheffield centre scheme

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CITY centre residents and businesses have urged bosses rethink plans for a major development in Sheffield.

Sheffield City Centre Residents Action Group called for a change of strategy for the Sevenstone project following a lack of progress on the site.

The group met with Sheffield Council chief executive John Mothersole to voice concerns over the scheme - hit by a series of setbacks.

Members put forward alternative ideas after developers blamed the poor economy and the struggle to find an anchor store for its failure to launch.

Ideas included involving small, independent businesses, housing and leisure facilities, green spaces, tourism and community-based activities.

It comes as London-based developer Hammerson promised to outline new proposals for the Barker’s Pool, Pinstone Street and Moorhead area this autumn.

Construction was originally due to have started in 2010 with the first shops opening at the end of last year.

In July, Mr Mothersole identified Sevenstone as one of several sites which could benefit from Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s announcement that £50m of new investment to transform derelict areas of the city centre.

Linda Cooley, spokeswoman for SCCRAG, said: “We questioned whether the development of the city centre had to be retail led, with prominence given to large retail establishments.

“The group feels a city centre that caters for a variety of interests and age groups would support retail growth and establish the city centre as a destination not only for shopping, but also for cultural activities and socialising.”

She said they hoped to work with the council to meet the challenges faced by the city.

Hammerson project director Richard Brown said: “Hammerson is still continuing talks with John Lewis as an anchor tenant for the scheme alongside a range of other brands to complement the potential retail mix.

“A retail led scheme has been promoted in the city for many years and is widely regarded to be essential to boosting the city; currently poorly represented in retailing terms.”