New hope for empty site at Sheaf Square after HS2 decision

After a decade standing empty it is suddenly the hottest plot in Sheffield.

Monday, 31st October 2016, 6:43 am
Updated Monday, 31st October 2016, 8:55 am
Land off Sheaf Square in Sheffield.

The giant piece of land next to Sheaf Square by Midland Station presents a huge opportunity for the city to capitalise on HS2.

Cleared following the demolition of Sheaf House in 2005 and Dyson House in 2006, interest evaporated as the country plunged into recession.

Since then it has been hidden by hoardings with few of the thousands of passengers who pass the site every day realising quite how big it is.

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Now, the world has turned, the economy is on the up and - thanks to a campaign by The Star, the city council and the Chamber - HS2 trains will be pulling into the station.

The high speed rail service is expected to boost top level trade between Sheffield, the North and London.

And that makes this land suddenly so valuable.

Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business and economy, said: “Sheaf Square is now one of the best development sites in Sheffield with the news that HS2 will come into Sheffield Midland station, as well as its proximity to the city centre and Sheffield Hallam University’s campus.

“We’ve been working with the Homes and Communities Agency who own the land to understand their plans for the site and to make sure their aims match ours. We want the development to move forward as quickly as possible in line with our ambitions for the city centre.”

The HCA owned three plots of land in the area, known as Sheaf Valley.

It sold one to Kevin McCabe’s Scarborough Group which is now building the £20m ‘Digital Campus Two’ - set to include two buildings next to the existing Electric Works and Ventana House.

It also sold the site of the former Nelson Mandela Students’ Union building, on Sheaf Street straight across from the station, to Sheffield Hallam University.

A spokesman for the HCA said they were planning to bring the empty plot to market.

He added: “We are currently seeking to acquire the site of a former sub-station on the final parcel of land, to consolidate ownership and we are working closely with Sheffield City Council on their plans to improve highway capacity in the general area.

“We are also seeking to agree the planning brief for the site with the council before bringing the land to the market. One consideration here will be how we support the council in any plans it may have for HS2 and its impact on land around the station.”

HS2 trains will use existing railway tracks to reach Sheffield, on a loop off the main north-south line. But it is expected to need some land for maintenance and services.

The final green light for the project is expected in January and the first trains are expected in 2032.