£55m to make shops scheme happen

Leigh Bramall Council has launched new plan to create a long-awaited retail quarter.
Leigh Bramall Council has launched new plan to create a long-awaited retail quarter.
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Sheffield’s long-awaited retail quarter ‘will happen’ council bosses have insisted, after a new £55 million plan was revealed.

The council reasoned it would not spend money purchasing properties from Hammerson – the developer behind the shelved Sevenstones project – if it was not confident of a positive outcome.

Its proposal to secure the site between Pinstone Street, Moorhead and Barker’s Pool, involving 19 business and properties subject to compulsory purchase orders so that a new development partner can come on board, was revealed yesterday.

Town Hall chiefs believe the plan is a ‘major milestone’ that will enable the council to take back control of the project after years of delays, and finish it in five years.

Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, said: “People won’t believe it until the retail quarter has started. I completely understand that people will be sceptical until the diggers go on site.

“There are no guarantees in life, but I am extremely confident this will happen. I think we’ve got it exactly right. It’s a different scheme, the council have a stake in making it happen, we are not relying on somebody else but we are in the driving seat.”

The £55m will be borrowed and, the council says, recovered by the value created in the development.

A report examining the options will be presented to the council cabinet for approval next week.

There are several ways the rest of the project, including a £170m construction of the quarter, could be paid for – including working up the proposal for a developer, a forward sale, or even direct funding involving more borrowing.

Further details are to come in another report, but the council says there are around 24 developers potentially interested.

The council wants to have any development partner on board by spring, with demolition to start next year and a target of completion by 2019.