Star Opinion: Saga over new retail quarter in Sheffield city centre has taken a new twist

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The saga over a new retail quarter in Sheffield city centre has taken a new twist.

A group of local business people say they have the backing – in expertise and cash – to build a £500m scheme by the end of 2018. (see Business Weekly).

But the self-styled Sheffield Retail Development Group is very light on detail.

Apart from its illustrious spokesman, the rest of the band of adventurers and corporate backers are a mystery.

Sheffielders, rightly, will be saying, ‘hold up, the last time we had passionate business people and unnamed financial backers was when the Federation of Small Businesses was leading a campaign to reopen Sheffield City Airport – and look what came of that’.

They might follow that with the shrug that comes from waiting more than 13 years for a new city centre.

The original £800m Sevenstone Hammerson scheme was scaled back to a three-and-a-half stone version before the city council lost patience. But nearly a year after the authority effectively said it was going to run the project by itself, little has happened.

It’s no wonder, £240m has been cut from budgets in the last few years.

So this new group could be the answer to prayers. Convince us.