Sheffield Council is being urged to ‘get its act together’ about the future of the Sevenstone retail scheme - after failing to reveal the result of supposed ‘crunch’ talks.
Discussions between chief executive John Mothersole and developer Hammerson, held last Thursday, were meant to produce a ‘decisive’ result about whether the developer would give a firm commitment or be dropped for an alternative company.
The meeting followed news that Hammerson aims to start work on its Eastgate Chambers scheme in Leeds, which includes a ‘flagship’ John Lewis store, at the end of 2014, subject to obtaining detailed planning consent.
Sheffield’s scheme has been on hold since 2009, despite £30 million of business rates being made available in advance to help cover costs.
Sheffield Hallam MP and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “Up to £30m is available through Sheffield’s City Deal, delivered by the Government months ago.
“Given that up to 1,000 new jobs are on the line, it is about time that the council got its act together and ensured this investment is used sooner rather than later.
“Over the months we have had various ultimatums, summits and crisis talks from Labour councillors. But we still don’t have a start date for these improvements, which we all know are urgently required to create a stronger economy.
“It’s not surprising that local people and businesses are losing confidence in the leadership at the Town Hall.
“Some urgency needs to be introduced and I can think of no better way of doing this than inviting other developers to look at delivering the Sevenstone project.”
Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council cabinet member for business, said: “We will be in a position to either move forward with Hammerson or seek an alternative development partner shortly.”