£25m Sheffield Ski Village site developer sacked after four years for being too slow

The developer of Sheffield’s £25m Ski Village site was sacked for failing to make progress.

Extreme was dumped after failing to meet revised timescales despite the city council extending them twice.

The company was supposed to build a nationally significant outdoor sports destination on the site of the former Ski Village. Four years on, and no visible progress has been made at the Parkwood Springs site.

The shock decision ends the dream of the city hosting a flagship facility employing 400, attracting one million people a year and pumping £50m into the local economy over 10 years, on top of the £25m initial investment - for now.

The 51-acre site is derelict and overgrown.

Councillor Terry Fox, city council leader, said they were considering ‘all options’ for a ‘high quality outdoor leisure centre’.

He added: “Parkwood is a fantastic and vast space with huge potential, but it is also a very complex site in terms of development, and the Covid pandemic has meant some work could not be undertaken as quickly as originally planned.

“In recognition of this, the council twice extended the timeframes within its agreement for lease with Extreme but they were unable to meet the revised timescales.

“When the most recent agreement with Extreme came to an end, we chose not to extend it. We strongly believe that the site has a future as a high quality outdoor leisure centre and we will now consider all options for the site.”

Extreme was dumped after failing to meet revised timescales despite the city council extending them twice.

Extreme was signed up with a blaze of publicity in 2017. The site had been a hugely popular dry ski slope in the 80s and 90s and hopes were high of a revival.

But there was little sign of progress in subsequent years and the pandemic stopped work in 2020.

In February, Extreme boss Alistair Gosling said they were sticking with the project and a planning application would be submitted within four months.

The first sign of trouble came a month later when the city council announced it was stepping in to take over the access road.

The site was a magnet for flytippers.

But even in July, Extreme bosses were saying there was ‘phenomenal’ interest from firms keen to run a bobsleigh, ski slopes, chair lifts, mountain bike trails, an 80-bed hotel and cycle shop and hire centre.

Coun Fox said there was no financial cost in ending the agreement for lease and they were taking legal steps to formally notify Extreme.

But he insisted the project was not back at square one.

He added: “We have made progress in various areas across the Parkwood site. We have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the site, what’s possible and its potential.

Coun Terry Fox, Sheffield City Council leader.

“A number of studies and investigations have been completed and we are therefore now in a much better position to progress with the development.”

The cost of designs for an access road were £400,000, he added, which could be used in future, he added.

It is believed Extreme and others spent £600,000 on plans and surveys.

Coun Fox added: “It is already a popular spot for cyclists in the city, and we want to build on this investment and work to unlock the site’s full potential.

“We are confident that Parkwood has an exciting future as an outdoor leisure destination that will complement the fantastic sports offering already available in Sheffield.”

Extreme was approached for comment.

Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.