Another boost for retail quarter

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THE delayed scheme for a £600m retail quarter in Sheffield city centre received another boost this week – this time from the Government.

A £30m loan to Sevenstone developers Hammerson is being rescheduled, which will take some of the financial pressure off the company and increase the chances of the project getting off the ground.

The Government’s Homes and Communities Agency stepped in to help finance the relocation of the fire station from Wellington Street to Eyre Street and to relocate a large underground cable.

Now the investment is being restructured so no repayment is made until construction starts.

Hammerson and the council can press ahead with completing the remaining compulsory purchase programme by the summer for land between Pinstone Street, Moorhead and Barkers Pool.

Council chief executive John Mothersole said: “In basic terms this helps to deliver a scheme which will transform the retail in Sheffield city centre. Where Hammerson were to pay back the HCA’s investment for enabling works up front, this can now be paid at a later date.”

Local Government Minister Grant Shapps said: “I am delighted to see that following fundamental revisions, the Sheffield Retail Quarter is once again viable. Sheffield City Council, the Homes and Communities Agency and the developer have worked hard together to get this stalled scheme off the ground - successfully securing greater investment from the private sector and reducing the requirement from the taxpayer.

“It’s an important scheme for the city that will deliver much needed economic growth and jobs.”

The council hopes construction of new shops and other buildings over an area half the size of Meadowhall, anchored by a revamped John Lewis store, will start in 2013/14.