UP TO £700m is up for grabs which could see more Supertram routes and exciting redevelopment of the city centre.
Sheffield Council will be competing against proposals from other councils across the rest of South Yorkshire, north Derbyshire and north Nottinghamshire for grants from the Sheffield City Region Infrastructure Fund.
Among the projects Sheffield Council is seeking funding for are:
Supertram extensions to suburbs such as Dore and use of tram-trains to connect with Stocksbridge and Beighton;
Redevelopment of the Castle Market site to expose parts of Sheffield Castle and create a park and new business district;
Work to kick-start building work on planned office blocks in Sheaf Square outside Midland Station and at the remaining St Paul’s Place site in the city centre;
Campus improvements at both Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam universities;
Major improvements to Penistone Road to reduce congestion and add a third lane in each direction for buses, plus create a new link road between the A6102 and A61, avoiding Middlewood shopping area;
Construction of the Sheffield to Rotherham bus rapid transit route via the new Waverley township and Advanced Manufacturing Park;
Expansion of the district heating system for businesses in the Lower Don Valley, using heat from the new Blackburn Meadows wood-burning power station which is currently under construction.
Sheffield’s bids are to be discussed alongside proposals from the neighbouring councils at a meeting of South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority on Thursday, before being submitted for consideration by the infrastructure fund.
Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council cabinet member for business, skills and development, said: “We have put together a wish-list of proposals which we would like to see supported. Schemes submitted for funding have to provide a boost to the area’s economic development, through helping businesses to grow or improving infrastructure.”
The first round of allocations from the funding pot will be for projects which can be ‘delivered’ by 2015 - and further grants will be awarded at later dates.
Coun Bramall said the Supertram extensions would be considered for a later round of grants, because preferred additional routes have not yet been determined.
He said: “The trial period for tram-trains between Sheffield and Rotherham is not due to finish until 2017 and we would want to see how successful that is before deciding whether the concept could be expanded to other areas.
“We have aspirations to extend the Supertram route to Dore and Totley, Stocksbridge or the south east of the city. If tram-trains work, they open up a whole range of possible routes where there are existing, under-used rail lines.”
Funding towards a Supertram line to Dore has already been pledged by the Government to coincide with construction of the HS2 high speed rail network, to provide a link to Sheffield’s station which will be at Meadowhall.
Describing the city centre projects, Coun Bramall said: “Proposals could involve support to kick-start development of the remaining site at Sheaf Square and the last block at St Paul’s Place.
“Other projects we would like to see funded are creating of a new riverside business district, exposure of the old castle and redevelopment of the markets.
“Other schemes which would bring large benefits include the Penistone Road corridor improvements to reduce congestion, which is a particular problem. We also have plans to build a new road link from Middlewood to the A61, bypassing the Middlewood shopping area, also reducing congestion while helping shops and the reliability of Supertram.”
Coun Bramall said grants could also be sought from the infrastructure fund to support an £11 million flood defence project on the River Don – which is being part-supported by businesses.
However, the council is currently looking into whether it can receive European Union funding for the flood relief scheme.
And expansion of the district heating system for businesses in the Lower Don Valley would ‘boost Sheffield’s reputation’ as an environmentally-friendly city and help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, Coun Bramall said.
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