Plans for Sheffield’s new £480 million retail quarter could be changed - after the owners of The Moor expressed doubts about parts of the scheme.
In a letter to the city council, the shopping street’s landlord, Aberdeen Asset Management, said it was ‘concerned’ with ‘various elements’ of the proposed retail quarter.
The firm is pushing for revisions to be made to the outline plans that were submitted last year. In an earlier letter to the council, AAM explained that its worries included the overall amount of retail development proposed; the scale of some of the planned ‘blocks’ which the quarter will be divided into; and the way in which The Moor will link up with Barker’s Pool, a revamped Charter Square and an extended Fargate.
A £100 million redevelopment project is currently under way on The Moor. The work, which will effectively create a new high street, involves building several retail units - including a flagship Primark store - and a ‘leisure hub’ featuring a cinema and restaurants.
The comments by AAM are an indicator of the way the landscape has changed in the city centre since the plans for Sevenstone - the initial retail quarter scheme which was axed when the council and developer Hammerson parted company - were launched more than a decade ago.
After a period of decline because of the recession, The Moor’s fortunes are now on the up as progress is made on the private sector-led overhaul.
In its latest letter, AAM said: “We support the objective of delivering investment in the city centre. However, we remain concerned with various elements of the proposed scheme, many of which are subject to ongoing discussions at the city council.”
The company said it would not provide more detailed comments on the plans until ‘a revised scheme is presented’. “We do not wish to stall the application, but are unable to provide comments at this time due to the potential changes.”
Ranald Philips, development director for The Moor’s regeneration, said: “We continue to support, and work closely with, the city council, in relation to its proposals for the Sheffield Retail Quarter.
“At the moment plans have yet to be finalised.
“Our comments relate primarily to the way the two projects will integrate, but it is a shared ambition of the council and ourselves that, together, we produce a cohesive solution for the whole of Sheffield’s retail core.”
Coun Leigh Bramall, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for business, skills and development, said: “The council has been working closely with The Moor’s development team for a number of years to ensure a co-ordinated approach to revitalising our city centre.
“The Moor is a key part of our city centre and it is important to create the right linkages with the Sheffield Retail Quarter.”
More than 3,000 people commented on the plans and over 70 formal representations have been submitted regarding ‘a broad range of important and technical issues’, Coun Bramall added.
“All comments received need to be considered very carefully, including those submitted by The Moor’s development team. The planning application submitted last year was an outline application, meaning that a lot of details still needed to be revised and fixed before the final designs could be agreed.
“Fixing the final design involves ensuring thousands of technical issues are addressed and the scheme works commercially for a range of key stakeholders. This process is ongoing and we are working closely with Aberdeen and others to ensure the retail quarter is as successful as possible.
“This is about our city working together to forge the future. It is a long process, but it is important to get it right for generations to come.”