Hammerson presses ahead... in Merthyr Tydfil not Sheffield

Artist's impression of part of the Sevenstone new retail quarter scheme for Sheffield
Artist's impression of part of the Sevenstone new retail quarter scheme for Sheffield
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Hammerson has given its latest update to the stock market – leaving out any mention of Sheffield’s stalled Sevenstone retail quarter.

The property company has mentioned how construction of the first phase of its new Eastgate Quarters scheme in Leeds – anchored by a 24,000 sq metre John Lewis store – is set to start in spring 2014.

Buildings on Cambridge Street remain boarded up as Sevenstone project is further delayed

Buildings on Cambridge Street remain boarded up as Sevenstone project is further delayed

Meanwhile, work on a 4,600 sq metre extension of the Cyfarthfa Retail Park in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, including a 4,600 sq m Marks and Spencer, is to start ‘later this year with stores open for trading by Christmas 2014’.

Other projects mentioned include two schemes in Paris, and developments in Marseille and Croydon.

Although work on Sevenstone has previously been timetabled to start in 2014, the development is not mentioned at all in the document – Hammerson’s Interim Management Statement for January to May.

Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: “They mention Leeds and even Merthyr Tydfil but not Sheffield – for goodness sake!

“Hammerson do not look serious. If the council knows something we don’t and Hammerson is really going to commit now, then that’s good news and they should get on with it.

“But there has been no news on Sevenstone in either of the company’s last two reports to the markets.

“They need to put up or shut up. Sheffield’s going backwards while we wait.”

Mr Wright’s calls for Hammerson to be dropped unless it starts work imminently have been echoed by Deputy Prime Minister and Hallam MP Nick Clegg. Lack of progress comes as it is approaching 10 years since discussions were first started between the council and Hammerson about Sevenstone. Details of the scheme were first made public in 2005.

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, opposition Lib Dem leader on Sheffield Council, said: “It’s become apparent that Sheffield has dropped off Hammerson’s priority list.

“It’s clear that if the project is to go ahead, the council needs to get tough with Hammerson or look elsewhere.

“I’d like to know how many times the Labour council leader Julie Dore has met with Hammerson representatives to push Sheffield’s case.”

Sheffield Council chief executive John Mothersole said: “I am meeting Hammerson on a weekly basis and we are having detailed discussions with them about making progress.”