Opposition call for inquiry into loss of shopping mall deal

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Opposition councillors in Sheffield are calling for an inquiry to be held into the collapse of the deal to create the Sevenstone retail quarter in the city centre.

Liberal Democrats say the lack of a deal with developer Hammerson to make the project a reality has cost 1,000 jobs.

Coun Ian Auckland, Liberal Democrat business spokesman on the council, said: “Progress on The Moor re-development, which was secured by local Liberal Democrats, demonstrates Sheffield is ripe for investment.

“However, investors are increasingly being driven away by Labour’s anti-business rhetoric.

“Since the collapse of the Sevenstone deal, many questions remain unanswered and local people are demanding to know how the Labour council managed to cost the city so many jobs.”

Coun Auckland said: “What action was actually taken during nine months of dither and delay? And what convinced Hammerson that Sheffield Council was not a suitable partner when it was progressing projects elsewhere in the country?

“These questions point to a complete failure of leadership at the very top of the council.”

Liberal Democrat councillors will ask for an inquiry at Wednesday’s full council meeting – but the idea is set to be rejected by the ruling Labour group.

Labour said there was no progress on Sevenstone during three years when the council was under Lib Dem control and say an inquiry would waste time and money.