Ambitious proposals have been revealed to build a huge industrial complex in Sheffield that could create nearly 5000 jobs.
Project leaders hope the plans will unlock the potential of a derelict site in the Lower Don Valley, to the south of Meadowhall, by building a number of new business units.
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The idea is for the development to compliment nearby industrial sites by giving booming businesses potential to expand while also offering space for new firms to start trading.
The River Don District scheme has been revealed by British Land, which co-owns Meadowhall, and capitalises on their already approved plans for a £300 million extension to the shopping centre that could create 1000 jobs when it opens in 2021.
Proposals are only in the early stages and the company has launched a consultation giving the public the chance to help shape the development.
In a statement, the company said: “Advanced manufacturing and the health-related sectors are booming locally in an area increasingly referred to as the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District, with its primary focus around Waverley in Rotherham, Sheffield Business Park and the Lower Don Valley where the RDD is located.
“Despite this, land supply for these uses is limited. Our proposals would aim to change this.
“We intend to develop the RDD to provide the type of units in demand in the area, with the majority focused on helping new innovation-based businesses in the area to flourish.”
The brownfield site was previously used for industrial purposes but is now largely empty and only used occasionally as an overflow car park for Meadowhall. It benefits from an existing planning permission dating back ten years for an “office-led, mixed-use scheme.”
The new vision is for a number of “industrial, research and complementary office” units for “major occupiers and new start-up companies.”
This would run alongside the booming Advanced Manufacturing Park – which provides a home to huge businesses like Boeing, Rolls Royce and McLaren – on the Sheffield-Rotherham border.
It would also be just a few short miles from the health and research developments cropping up at the Olympic Legacy Park.
Proposals envisage “up to 4, 800 new employment posts can be delivered on the site.”
A travel plan will ensure occupiers carry out journeys “by modes other than by car” and to make the most of train, tram and bus links. Improvements could also be made to the area's cycle and pedestrian paths.
This also comes after British Land previously announced a £15 million scheme to upgrade two roundabouts near Meadowhall to improve traffic flow.
A public consultation has been launched until September 21. The plans can be viewed online at www.river-don-district.co.uk or at a drop-in session at The Source Skills Academy on Meadowhall Way, on Thursday, September 6, from 2.30pm to 6.30pm.
Residents views will help to inform an outline planning application seeking ‘in-principle’ approval from Sheffield Council that will be submitted in September.
More detailed plans showing designs of buildings will form part of a later full planning application. If this is given the go-ahead then building work could begin.
No long-term time time scales for when the scheme could open have been revealed yet.
Paul Case, development director of British Land, said: “More research is required to determine the best mix of premises to meet market demand – which is why we are applying for an outline planning permission at this stage – but the primary focus is supporting the future development of advanced manufacturing and health and wellbeing.”