City retail quarter verdict awaited

News: Sheffield Telegraph online 24-hours a day.
News: Sheffield Telegraph online 24-hours a day.

COUNCIL leaders will be monitoring the latest financial statement, expected tomorrow (Friday), of Sevenstone retail quarter developers Hammerson.

The company is due to give a general update to the Stock Exchange - and the authority will be looking for a commitment to pressing ahead with the long-delayed project to transform the area between Barkers Pool, Pinstone Street and Moorhead.

Hammerson has previously listed in its financial statements the locations for new developments across the country - so far to the frustration of Sheffield’s leaders, who have been pushing for the green light for many months.

Already the council has said that it wants the company it has been working with for several years - to the stage where most of the land has been assembled ready for demolition and construction - to end the uncertainty.

Moreover, Sheffield has indicated that if Hammerson is not prepared to press the button in the current economic climate, it will look for an alternative developer in an attempt to finally get things moving.

One of the key players, the John Lewis Partnership, has underlined its commitment to a bigger and more modern store, with the original option of developing the site of the former Wellington Street fire station, still on the table.

Talks are continuing between all the parties, but civic patience is likely to be tested unless Hammerson underlines a desire to move up a gear.

Sheffield believes that the scheme has answered questions about is viability as a result of the Government allocating up to £30m towards infrastructure work through a fund uses future income from business rates to offset the risk of major developments.

A radically redrawn retail quarter is envisaged that would see construction start next year and end by 2016.