Sevenstone talks as Sheffield project stalls

Downgraded: The Sevenstone plans have changed after recession.
Downgraded: The Sevenstone plans have changed after recession.
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TALKS are to be held before the end of the month between Sheffield Council and Sevenstone to thrash out when work will begin on the stalled project.

The scheme has been on hold for three years.

The Star understands two options are on the table - building in stages, which would begin in late 2013, or a ‘big bang’ approach which would involve developing everything together from 2014 onwards.

Sevenstone was first announced almost a decade ago, and it was originally envisaged the first of the new stores would open in 2011.

Due to the recession, Sevenstone is being downgraded with the new street at the heart of the development to be single level rather than double. John Lewis will remain in its current location.

The delay in starting work in Sheffield has been queried by former Lib Dem city council leader Paul Scriven - when the developer has announced other schemes in the intervening years.

Mr Scriven said: “The key question is just how committed to Sheffield are Hammersons?

“Do they have us at the bottom of a very long list?”

One of the most recent developments involving Hammerson is the Croydon Alliance, in London, which involves more than 1.3 million square feet of shops and restaurants, four department stores, and a 500-flat tower.

Plans do not yet have approval but Hammerson and co-developers have announced work will start on site in 2014, for completion in 2017.

Hammerson said it remained committed to Sevenstone but added it has offered properties within the scheme’s area for short-term rental to help reduce the amount of empty properties.

Richard Brown, project director at Hammerson, said: “In the past three months we have agreed six new lettings in the Cambridge Street and Pinstone Street area of the development site. In addition, five existing businesses have agreed to continue to trade to maintain an active presence within the development area.

“We also continue to sponsor the Sheffield Showcase Project, which is an excellent use of vacant units to promote local enterprises. We continue to actively manage the site in advance of our development proposals coming forward.”