A JOBS bonanza could be on the cards for Sheffield’s Lower Don Valley after a £24 million scheme was unveiled to turn a huge former steelworks site into an industrial estate.
Developers Wilson Bowden and Marshall Group have announced plans to buy the disused 19.6 hectare Outokumpu site, on Shepcote Lane, off junction 34 of the M1 motorway at Tinsley, from the steel company.
They predict the development could create as many as 1,450 jobs.
Some 150 jobs would be directly created by the development, with a further 1,300 created indirectly.
Sheffield South East Labour MP Clive Betts welcomed the announcement.
“It’s very good news at a time when there hasn’t been much for a while,” he said.
“The site is in a marvellous location and I would fully support the idea of a business park on there - although there will be issues to be ironed out, such as improving capacity of roads around junction 34 to cope with extra traffic.”
Robert Grafton, development director for Wilson Bowden in the North, said: “We are proposing a business location, predominantly industry, manufacturing and possibly some warehousing and some small office development.
“It is quite a challenging and tricky site for a number of reasons.
“That is why we are seeking external support to get things going.”
The developers plan to apply to the European Regional Development Fund for £7.8 million to help meet the cost of redeveloping the site.
They have already had a bid for £2.8 million from the first round of the Government’s Regional Growth Fund turned down, but are now considering whether to make a fresh bid for money in the next round.
Mr Grafton said: “If we could get funding we would want to get on with it.
“There is a fairly extensive lead-in time required because of some of the remediation required, so it would be 18 months to two years lead-in before we are building.”
Wilson Bowden has agreed ‘preferred bidder status’ with Outokumpu, but needs to gain planning permission and funding to complete the deal to buy the land.
n Yorkshire Forward, the regional development agency, was planning to buy the site but its proposal was abandoned as the organisation is now being wound up.