Two firms had agreed to run ski slopes, chair lifts, a ‘bobsleigh’ run and mountain bike trails, while another seven - including an 80-bed hotel and cycle shop and hire centre - are set to sign as soon as planning has been granted, The Star understands. And there are a further 20 expressions of interest.
A source close to the project said: “To have the confidence all these companies have in this leisure development is phenomenal.”
The project depends on a £6m new acess road to the site at Parkwood Springs.
Sheffield City Council is ‘talking figures’ with Network Rail over the use of a bridge and landowner Viridor, according to the source.
An agreement soon could see the project - which has a one-year build time - open by early 2023, he added.
Sheffield City Council and developer Extreme Destinations have not commented since the authority stepped in and took over the access road in March.
But the source revealed the route now being proposed: visitors would approach via Parkwood Road and use an old haulage road across the landfill site, newly asphalted, to reach the ski village. They would exit via Vale Road and a narrow rail tunnel on Bardwell Road in Neepsend.
Sheffield City Council has applied to Sheffield City Region for a £6m grant to pay for the road, car park and landscaping to make the approach like a ‘private drive at Center Parcs’. It is also spending £300,000 on a feasibility study.
Access agreements and a publicly-funded grant were ‘better with the council’, the sourced added, leaving Extreme to focus on ‘what will be at the end of the road’.
The project was also delayed by the pandemic. But it is understood Extreme and others have spent £600,000 on plans and surveys.
News of the continued commitment from operators will be met with relief in Sheffield.
The flagship facility is a ‘hugely important’ part of Sheffield’s ‘Outdoor City’ brand. It could create 400 jobs, attract 1m people a year and pump £50m into the local economy over 10 years, on top of the £25m investment, it is claimed.
The original Ski Village was hugely successful when it opened in 1988 and attracted skiers from across the North and Midlands. But it was destroyed by fire in 2012 and suffered repeated arson attacks. Today, the 51-acre site is derelict and overgrown.
The source added: “I went up there recently and a family from Manchester was having a picnic. The dad had been an avid skier in Sheffield and he’d come out of nostalgia. The place produced four Olympians - it’s something Sheffield should be proud of.”
A city council report from March states it is the city’s ‘most significant potential outdoor recreational hub and hugely important to help further cement the Outdoor City identity and deliver economic benefits, such as over £30m increased investment’.
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’.