Firm’s fears over £60m project

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A traditional Sheffield company says its future is being jeopardised by a proposed £60m residential, leisure and commercial development between Bramall Lane and London Road.

Lathco Ltd in Boston Street, which specialises in plating, silverware and metal design and manufacturing, is on part of the site earmarked by Chinese investors for a scheme that includes accommodation for up to 700 students.

The firm “provides a modest but vital number of jobs in an industry that has been in decline in the region for a number of decades,” says its planning agents DLP in an online objection to the council to the application for the New Era Square project.

DLP says the area is officially designated for fringe industry and business, Lathco has “no ambition” to relocate and it is “unlikely” that alternative affordable premises are available.

Any relocation would “cause an upheaval which would most certainly disrupt the business, including, at the most basic level, the delivery/supply chain. The development would seriously prejudice the business and consequently put at risk the 19 full-time jobs which are currently provided.”

The scheme, between Boston Street, Bramall Lane, Arley Street, St Mary’s Gate and Sheldon Street, includes student accommodation alongside shops, including a Chinese supermarket, restaurants and business ‘incubator’ units ‘to enhance enterprise and trade between China and the UK’. A 21-storey tower would overlook a square where open-air events could be staged. Up to 400 jobs are predicted.

New Era managing director Jerry Cheung said “good progress” was being made, so Lathco’s comments “come as a surprise”

The project was “wholeheartedly welcomed” at its launch, attended by a Lathco representative, “who told me how good the scheme was. We are puzzled, to say the least, to hear of the comments.”

For months, New Era had worked closely with Lathco, along with the council and the Local Enterprise Partnership, “to help get the best possible relocation outcome. That help has included one of my advisors working with them to find alternative locations. In addition, we have made what we believe to be a generous offer of compensation.”

Mr Cheung added he was “confident” the issue would be resolved satisfactorily.