Sheffield regeneration plans for Castlegate and Attercliffe affected by rising inflation

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Two major regeneration projects in Sheffield are making progress but soaring costs caused by spiralling inflation have caused some rethinks and project delays.

The Gateway to Sheffield project showcasing the historic birthplace of Sheffield in the Castlegate area of the city centre and £17m regeneration plans for Attercliffe have both been made possible by the government Levelling Up Fund (LUF).

Updates to both projects were discussed by members of Sheffield City Council’s transport, regeneration and climate policy committee this week (November 15).

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The £20m Gateway to Sheffield project in the Castlegate area of the city centre celebrates Sheffield’s historic birthplace at the confluence of the Rivers Sheaf and Don. A new park, Castle Square, will showcase the ruins of Sheffield Castle’s gatehouse that previously lay under Castle Market and displays will tell the story of the city’s origins.

Sheffield Castlegate plans for the city's historic birthplaceSheffield Castlegate plans for the city's historic birthplace
Sheffield Castlegate plans for the city's historic birthplace

Members of the committee also heard from council director of regeneration and development, Sean McClean, that access to government Gainshare funding overseen by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority should mean that the whole stretch of the River Sheaf in the area will now be deculverted, meaning it’s uncovered.

When the LUF plans were initially being discussed, the Sheaf and Porter Rivers Trust, part of the Castlegate Partnership, lobbied hard for complete deculverting, saying that otherwise a historic opportunity would be missed. At that point, the funding was not available to do all the work.

Confident

Coun Andrew Sangar welcomed the news. He said: “This is a really important site. It is where Sheffield comes from.”

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Attercliffe Waterside new homes plan for Sheffield - an artist's impression of views from the canal sideAttercliffe Waterside new homes plan for Sheffield - an artist's impression of views from the canal side
Attercliffe Waterside new homes plan for Sheffield - an artist's impression of views from the canal side

Contractor Keltbray has been brought on board to do the work. It was the only contractor to make a bid for the scheme but members were told that council officials are confident as the firm has recently successfully completed work on the Upper Don Flood Scheme.

The work should start early next year and be complete by March to April 2025.

Development plots next to Castle Square will aim to bring in business investment to the area.

The committee heard that S1 Artspace, which was originally going to create an outdoor art gallery at Park Hill, has now moved off the site to the Sheffield Hallam University-owned White Building on Fitzalan Square.

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A Sheffield Council guide to proposals for the Castlegate area, showing the original S1 Artspace plans for a new gallery in Park Hill. These have now been shelved and S1 Artspace is planning a new indoor gallery and artists' studiosA Sheffield Council guide to proposals for the Castlegate area, showing the original S1 Artspace plans for a new gallery in Park Hill. These have now been shelved and S1 Artspace is planning a new indoor gallery and artists' studios
A Sheffield Council guide to proposals for the Castlegate area, showing the original S1 Artspace plans for a new gallery in Park Hill. These have now been shelved and S1 Artspace is planning a new indoor gallery and artists' studios
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A report to the committee said: “The proposed project at Park Hill has proven to be undeliverable due to a number of external factors including increased costs of site acquisition, changes in the funding landscape, cost price inflation.

“However, the ambition and demand for a gallery, artist studios and associated facilities for S1 Artspace has not diminished, and the benefits of the project coming to fruition are still considerable for the city and the arts sector.”

Exciting

S1 Artspace, which has signed a memorandum of understanding with Hallam, will draw down LUF funding in order to buy a building in the area which is currently on the market. This will be redeveloped to create an art gallery, artists’ studios and associated facilities.

Harmony Works is said to be making good progress in creating an exciting centre for children’s music education and performance, based in the Canada House Victorian listed building on Commercial Street. The project, led by Sheffield Music Academy and Sheffield Music Hub, has been allocated £1.6m of LUF money.

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Harmony Works is expected to be open by September 2026, following 21 months of building work.

In Attercliffe, major aspects of regeneration plans include supporting the world-leading National Centre for Child Health Technology (NCCHT) to be built at the Olympic Legacy Park by the Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.

The LUF money will provide £8m of the £20m cost. As previously reported, rising inflation and construction costs have meant a rethink of the overall funding package, which will mean some delays.

The LUF has funded the council’s purchase of the old Adelphi Cinema and nightclub, which will be the centrepiece of a new Adelphi Square.

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Cultural

It is currently being marketed to operators to lease the building to turn it into a cultural hub. Interest has been shown by 16 organisations and expressions of interest must be made by December 8.

Other major projects include an Innovation Centre to be built at the Olympic Legacy Park by the Scarborough Group property firm. There are also plans already submitted to the council for Attercliffe Waterside, a 1,000-home canal-side housing development with associated arts and cultural spaces and co-working premises based in renovated buildings.

The committee heard that the LUF finance will not be compromised as spending deadlines for both projects have been extended to March 2026.

Coun Ruth Mersereau said there is a huge amount of illegal parking in the area, adding: “There’s no point spending a huge amount of money if it’s not tackled. A huge amount of money will be wasted.”

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Alan Seasman, council service manager for city regeneration and major projects, responded that enforcement has increased in the area and said the planned improvements will also help to tackle the problem.

Work on improving five car parks is also aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour, he said.

Other transport improvements involve providing better cycling links to Sheffield and building a cycle hub at the Olympic Legacy Park, plus upgrading the Attercliffe and Arena Supertram stops. The latter will also be renamed as Arena for Olympic Legacy Park.

Both projects will be overseen by new development boards that involve interested parties, such as businesses and local organisations, with the council. Both are chaired by the constituency MPs who spearheaded the LUF bids – Clive Betts in Attercliffe and Paul Blomfield in Castlegate.