HUNDREDS of new jobs could be created in Sheffield with long-awaited plans finally progressing for a major Tesco store.
Talks are under way for the supermarket giant to take over the Territorial Army site at Manor Top.
Discussions are taking place between the supermarket chain, TA and Sheffield Council officials with a view to submitting a planning application - seven years after the scheme was first proposed. The barracks, next to the Manor Park Centre, are home to 38 Signal Regiment - which would move to new £15 million barracks on an empty site off Penistone Road, Hillsborough, opposite the Sheffield Wednesday football ground.
The Hillsborough site is owned by Tesco, but not used apart from as a matchday car park.
The new TA barracks would be funded by the Treasury using money from the sale of Manor Top barracks to Tesco, which would be paid in addition to the land-swap for the Hillsborough site.
Lieutenant Colonel Jeremy Bleasdale, regional chief executive of the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, said: “If Tesco manages to complete negotiations for Manor Top, there would be a land-swap with us for the site at Penistone Road, which Tesco currently owns.
“The new barracks would cost about £15 million and would be used to house 38 Signals.”
Lt Col Bleasdale said the new barracks would be ‘open plan’ to accommodate different types of Territorial Army units as a review of the reserve forces is ongoing and could result in changes to the city’s current squadrons.
Two other TA sites - historic Endcliffe Hall, built by Victorian steel industrialist Mark Firth and taken over by the Army in 1916, and Somme Barracks, on West Street - could also both be sold and the units based there moved to Hillsborough.
Lt Col Bleasdale said: “No decision has been made to dispose of either Endcliffe Hall or Somme Barracks, but we are always reviewing what is cost effective and will consider the future of all our sites in Sheffield once the review of reserve forces is completed.”
The council said it could not comment about the plans.
Tesco said a full consultation exercise and publicity about the proposals would take place before any planning application is lodged.
A company spokesman said: “We are keen to invest in Sheffield, create jobs and improve supermarket shopping.
“We are looking at a range of sites and Manor Top is one of them.”
At least 200 jobs would be created, depending on the size and type of the store.
■ A date has not yet been set for the outcome of a public inquiry held in January into plans by Tesco to build a new store next to the existing Morrisons at Halfway, Sheffield.
The proposals were initially rejected by Sheffield Council because it wants the land to be used for housing.