Shock as swathes of flagship £1.5bn Sheffield redevelopment plan axed
The leader of Sheffield City Council has dramatically dropped parts of a £1.5bn flagship redevelopment plan over costs, climate change and complaints from residents.
Coun Terry Fox said major elements of the Sheaf Valley Redevelopment Framework would not go ahead - including closing Park Square roundabout and switching the Sheaf Street dual carriageway to the tram route behind Midland station.
He insisted the proposals were only concepts and a consultants’ report simply showed what was ‘engineeringly possible’, while images gave an ‘indication’ of what it might look like.
Now they were being ruled out.
In a statement he said: “We do not feel it meets local needs, offers value for money or would meet our environmental ambitions.”
He added: “The Sheaf Valley Masterplan is an important framework for regeneration. We know that there has been speculation about moving the ring road and I was pleased to be able to confirm today that whilst we are still fully committed to the regeneration of this area, the ring road will not be moved.
“As a council we are doing a lot of work to improve air quality and tackle climate change, I was glad to be able to take the opportunity to confirm that the council will not be pursuing this option.”
In a full council meeting on Thursday he made the shock announcement and dubbed the proposals ‘fake news’.
He said: “In all that is holy, if anybody thought building a ring road through a park is the right decision…for the avoidance of doubt this administration has no intention of doing this scheme.”
Colleague Coun Mazher Iqbal unveiled the £1.5bn Sheaf Valley plan in March 2020 calling it Sheffield’s ‘biggest ever’.
It included a 30-page document with images by project management consultants Atkins.
It was endorsed by the council’s ruling Cabinet ‘to maximise the economic benefits of proximity to the station, particularly with the introduction of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail; take advantage of opportunities to address climate change issues in the area and generally improve the quality of the environment and to resolve a range of transport issues within and well beyond the area’.
In March, developers announced a £40m block of flats on Queens Road. The project was hailed the first piece in the plan.
Following Coun Fox’s announcement it is unclear what remains of it.
Coun Douglas Johnson, one of three Green councillors on the Executive in coalition with Labour, said he was unaware of the decision.
But because the Labour group was in the majority, it was effectively council policy, he added.
But he agreed with it because the re-routed ring road would have destroyed a park and woodland on South Street.
He added: “It’s yet another plan that will never come to fruition, it does affect credibility.”
Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, Lib Dem opposition leader said he was ‘amazed’ by the statement and claimed it sent the wrong message to investors.
He added: “Labour is great at launching plans with nothing to show for it, but this has gone further - it’s been publicly ripped up.
“It will have a knock-on effect on the next plan. Investors will wonder how long it will last.
“The last thing they want is for the council to be flip-floppy.”