Plans for ‘Marie Celeste’ Sheffield retail park agreed

Artist's impression of the steel frame of Southey completed, at Kilner Way retail park, beside Halifax Road.
Artist's impression of the steel frame of Southey completed, at Kilner Way retail park, beside Halifax Road.
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Work on a stalled retail park dubbed the ‘Marie Celeste’ is set to start soon after plans were agreed.

Councillors backed the proposals for a multi-million pound extension of Kilner Way off Halifax Road, Wadsley Bridge, and said it was a sign that investor confidence is returning to Sheffield.

Hundreds of jobs are predicted to be created by the scheme, and the expansion includes three retail units, a gym, a restaurant and smaller shops.

Mark Aylward, from planning agent ATP which represented applicant Derwent Construction, said after the meeting: “The applicant has had the site for many years and is thrilled to make the investment and create 600 new jobs.”

The application must now be referred to the Secretary of State because of its size.

Mr Aylward added: “We are hoping to start work straight away, the contractors have been appointed so as soon as the second consent is released they will start.”

A separate planning application that will enable one of the park units to become a Netto supermarket has also been submitted, and the store is expected to be ‘trading by Christmas’.

The plans were objected to by Stocksbridge Regeneration Company, which feared they would affect the £42 million Fox Valley development which is already in its first phase.

But officers told the meeting that analysis had found there would not be a ‘substantial’ impact on other shopping centres.

A report said it was expected around £1.8 million worth of trade would move from the Stocksbridge scheme to Kilner Way.

The meeting also heard that ‘legal issues’ had been behind the delay, which has left an unfinished large steel frame up at the site.

That frame will now be turned into five shops and the gym.

Councillors spoke of how they had been concerned about the Kilner Way site’s future and viability because of how long it had been since progress was made.

Coun Alan Law, chairman of the planning committee, said: “It is like the Marie Celeste, isn’t it?

“But it is all down to these legal problems.

“Hopefully this will sort it out and we can get it dealt and done with.”

Coun Bryan Lodge added: “It is an expression of confidence that things are starting to pick up in Sheffield.

“It does look horrible having that frame there for such a long time.”

The retail park is currently home to stores including Halfords, Argos, Pets at Home and Gala bingo. Its turnover is set to increase from £15m to over £50m.