OPINION: Progress at last

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Few issues have been more of a bone of contention in Sheffield over the past decade than the frustrating saga of the city’s New Retail Quarter.

While the financial downturn did its bit to derail the original Sevenstone project, in developer Hammerson’s hands the state of inertia was allowed to continue for too long, leaving Sheffield behind while other Northern cities managed to complete grand shopping schemes.

One of the few areas where movement was ever made on Sevenstone was Hammerson’s purchase of buildings around Pinstone Street, Moorhead and Barker’s Pool.

Now the council plans to borrow £55 million to buy the buildings back, so work can soon begin on making a revised retail quarter a reality.

According to Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, this would mean the authority is back ‘in the driving seat’ - a much more reassuring position to be in.

The new proposals will succeed if there is a strong will to make them happen, and judging by the tone of today’s announcement, there clearly is on the part of the council.

It would appear progress is finally being made at last.

Let’s hope the decisive action continues.

by Richard Blackledge