Star Comment - Let’s see some more enthusiasm for £100m Attercliffe scheme
£100m plans for 700 homes at ‘Attercliffe Waterside’ are to be welcomed - there is a housing crisis and this is a big plot in an up-and-coming area that’s ready to go.
Plus it’s brownfield, so planning shouldn’t be too tricky. And it’s mid way between the city centre and Meadowhall, with great transport links and a canalside setting.
The next Kelham Island then. What’s not to like?
The snail’s pace and the secrecy, that’s what.
The Star revealed this week that Leeds developer Citu is the city council’s ‘preferred bidder’ for this scheme.
But rather than shouting about it, the information only came out when we enquired - a year after an announcement was due.
And when we did contact Citu boss Chris Thompson he didn’t want to talk.
We appreciate that Sheffield’s biggest new housing estate since Mosborough in the 1970s takes time to develop.
But Coun Mazher Iqbal said Citu bosses had been ‘quite clear’ they had the financial firepower to bring it to fruition. And the authority could help with the social housing element, which some developers don’t like because it slices into profits.
So why do we get the impression Mr Thompson is a man with the world on his shoulders, not someone in the box seat for a £100m prize?
Expect a planning application early next year, he says. But what’s been happening for the last 12 months?
Heaven knows how long the silence would have continued without our intervention.
MP Clive Betts has similar criticisms about transparency and pace and this week took the unusual step of criticising fellow Labour politicians.
At this rate, and I’m sorry to break it to you, but it could be two decades until this project is complete. Look at Heart of the City (formerly Sevenstone), Castlegate, the Ski Village, Park Hill.
Meanwhile, Citu has been building 52 houses at ‘Little Kelham,’ a project some say has been slow and problematic.
To be a success, Attercliffe Waterside must also change perceptions with a big marketing and brand exercise, like Urban Splash did with Park Hill.
The time to start that is now.
No one said it would be easy. But a lot more enthusiasm and openness wouldn’t go amiss.