Political row after £25m Sheffield ski village is delayed for four years

A war of words has broken out over delayed plans for a £25m adventure sports complex in Sheffield.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 5:25 pm

Lib Dem leader Coun Shaffaq Mohammed compared the problems to ‘a lot of Labour announcements’ where nothing happened ‘apart from increased costs to the taxpayer’.

He also took a swipe at developer Extreme.

But Labour rival, Coun Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business, hit back saying the Lib Dems ‘talk down everything that happens in Sheffield’.

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The Ski Village opened in 1988 but was destroyed by fire in 2012 and has suffered repeated arson attacks.

The row erupted after the council was forced to ‘step in’ to build the access road to the proposed development on the derelict Ski Village at Parkwood Springs.

It said developer Extreme had ‘failed to make significant progress’ after winning the contract in 2017 and ‘delivery timescales are now at risk.’

The project is a key part of Sheffield’s Outdoor City identity, set to create 400 jobs and attract 1m visitors a year.

Coun Mohammed said: “They first announced the development in 2017, to great fanfare, but since then, as with a lot of Labour announcements such as the Sichuan Guodong construction investment, nothing has happened apart from increased cost to the Sheffield taxpayer.

The current access road features a narrow single-vehicle tunnel. But a report states it is necessary to ’secure access across a bridge owned by Network Rail’.

“The ski slope was meant to open in 2019, and is costing £30,000 a year to maintain whilst we wait for another no hope developer to start work”

In February, Extreme boss Alistair Gosling said they were still committed to the project and hoped it would open in 2023.

Coun Iqbal said: “Extreme provided an update only in February, reported by The Star, that they are still committed to delivering this project despite COVID delays.

“This is just more attempts by Shaffaq Mohammed and the Lib Dems to play politics.

“The Lib Dems have no positive ideas or policies and just try to talk down everything that is happening in Sheffield.”

It is unclear where the access road will go. The site is reached via a narrow single-vehicle tunnel on Douglas Road.

A council report also states they must ’secure access across a bridge owned by Network Rail’.

It adds: ‘Preliminary discussions have taken place with the landowner and Network Rail but detailed negotiation on legal agreements, potential warranties and indemnities still need to be negotiated’.

The authority also needs a £6m grant from the Sheffield City Region to fund the work. A Sheffield City Council spokeswoman said they had not yet received it.

Mr Gosling declined to comment.

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.