Bid to kickstart city regeneration initiatives

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News: Sheffield Telegraph online 24-hours a day.

HOPES of kickstarting regeneration projects in Sheffield city centre resurfaced this week as part of a submission for millions of pounds of Government money.

Financial help is being sought to get moving two stalled office schemes - one to complete a trio of St Paul’s Square office blocks between the Peace Gardens and Union Street and the other for a cleared site near the railway station.

It is also planned to tap a £700m fund to redevelop the site of the Castle Market once stallholders have moved to The Moor later this year. The ruins of the Castle will be unearthed and could be incorporated into a park, alongside offices and housing.

But all the projects must compete with others from across the rest of South Yorkshire, north Derbyshire and north Nottinghamshire.

They are vying from grants from the Sheffield City Region Infrastructure Fund, which pulls together pots of money which was previously handed out by the Government on a scheme-by-scheme basis.

Now, as part of the Sheffield’s City Deal, councils, the transport authority and the private sector can decide where the investment is made.

Sheffield’s bids are formulated in six packages - city centre, the Lower Don Valley, the Upper Don Valley, energy generation, flood mitigation and Supertram extension.

Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield cabinet member for business, skills and development, said: “We have put together a wish-list of proposals which we would like to see supported. Schemes submitted for funding have to provide a boost to the area’s economic development, through helping businesses to grow or improving infrastructure.”

In general, the city’s submissions reflect existing priorities, such as extending Supertram to suburbs such as Dore and Stocksbridge, construction of the Sheffield to Rotherham bus rapid transit route via the new Waverley township and Advanced Manufacturing Park, off the Sheffield Parkway and improving flood defences in the Lower Don Valley.

Also in the list is a proposed expansion of the district heating system for businesses in the Lower Don Valley, using heat from the Blackburn Meadows wood-burning power station which is currently under construction.

Of the city centre projects, Coun Bramall said: “Proposals could involve support to kickstart development of the remaining site at Sheaf Square and the last block at St Paul’s Place. Other projects we would like to see funded are creating a new riverside business district, exposure of the old castle and redevelopment of the markets.”

However, there will not be enough money for all of Sheffield’s infrastructure schemes and those submitted by neighbouring authorities. One of them is to complete the Robin Hood Airport link road.

Other transport initiatives suggested by Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, Chesterfield, north Derbyshire and north Nottinghamshire councils will also be discussed today (Thursday) by South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority.