A multi-million pound plan to transform a former Sheffield college campus into a shopping centre has taken a major step forward.
Proposals to build the £35 million retail park - set to create 250 jobs once completed - at the old Norton College off Bochum Parkway in Meadowhead have now been submitted to Sheffield Council.
To be called St James Retail Park, developer chiefs say it will be occupied by ‘high profile’ national chains including a branch of bargain food store Aldi, and that interest from retailers has been ‘overwhelming.’
They believe it will complement regeneration schemes such as the £16m revamp of Graves Tennis and Leisure Centre and the new National Centre for Sport and Exercise.
“This will be a major asset in an area of the city which is currently being regenerated”, said Paul Morris of developer St James Securities, which was also behind the city centre’s St Paul’s Place scheme and the ‘cheese grater’ car park.
“We believe there is a real need for a development like this, as people living close by are currently driving or getting public transport in order to enjoy first-class, large-scale retail and leisure facilities.
“Our vision is that families will be able to come to the area for retail, leisure, sport, fun and food all in one journey. Response to our plans from residents has been generally positive, particularly in relation to conveniently located food shopping with choice from both discount and premium operators, which is very encouraging.”
Adam Mobley, from lead letting agent WSB, said the names of more retailers that were to open in the park would be announced shortly.
He added: “The response from retailers so far, since we started marketing the scheme, has been overwhelming.
“We have some great retail names that are committing to the project and the scheme will provide increased consumer choice for the residents of South Sheffield.”
Norton College, the largest campus owned by Sheffield College, closed last year and courses have moved into a new £8.8m extension for the creative industries at The Sheffield College’s Hillsborough site.
Developers hoped to, subject to planning permission being agreed, begin construction work on the site later this year so the retail park can be open for Christmas 2017.
Another 124 jobs would be created during construction.
However traffic concerns are likely to be raised by residents, and have already been discussed in consultation, as the area is often congested already.
The nearby Meadowhead roundabout, and routes leading off it, are extremely busy at peak times.
Director Mr Morris added: “Concerns were expressed about traffic and highways problems, but £1 million is being spent on access so and from the site, including carriageway widening improvements to the Meadowhead Roundabout, creation of a new fourth lane on Bochum Parkway, a new ‘all movements’ signal controlled junction from the scheme onto Bochum Parkway and a pedestrian gateway entrance to the site.”