Business leaders have backed ambitions proposals for a huge industrial complex in Sheffield that could create nearly 5000 jobs.
The scheme involves building a number of new business units on derelict land in the Lower Don Valley – a move which project leaders claim could unlock as many as 4800 new jobs.
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The proposals are still only in the early stages but they received an early boost today as Sheffield Chamber of Commerce gave their stamp of approval.
Brenda Jordan, chief operating officer, said the organisation “welcomes and supports these proposals, which we believe will assist in bringing further economic prosperity and jobs to the region.”
But she added that the scheme will only work if they ensure the road network can handle the extra traffic.
She said: “We would like to ensure that adequate road management systems are factored into any planning approval, given this area already suffers from significant traffic congestion.”
The River Don District scheme has been revealed by British Land, which co-owns Meadowhall, and capitalises on their already approved plans for a £300 million extension to the shopping centre that could create 1000 jobs when it opens in 2021.
The brownfield site was previously used for industrial purposes but is now only used occasionally as an overflow car park for Meadowhall. It benefits from an existing planning permission dating back ten years for an “office-led, mixed-use scheme.”
The new vision is for a number of “industrial, research and complementary office” units for “major occupiers and new start-up companies.”
This would run alongside the booming Advanced Manufacturing Park – which provides a home to huge businesses like Boeing, Rolls Royce and McLaren – on the Sheffield-Rotherham border.
It would also be just a few short miles from the health and research developments cropping up at the Olympic Legacy Park.
Proposals envisage “up to 4, 800 new employment posts can be delivered on the site.”
A travel plan will ensure occupiers carry out journeys “by modes other than by car” and to make the most of train, tram and bus links. Improvements could also be made to the area's cycle and pedestrian paths.
This also comes after British Land previously announced a £15 million scheme to upgrade two roundabouts near Meadowhall to improve traffic flow.
A public consultation will last until September 21. The plans can be viewed online at www.river-don-district.co.uk or at a drop-in session at The Source Skills Academy on Meadowhall Way, on Thursday, September 6, from 2.30pm to 6.30pm.
An outline planning application seeking ‘in-principle’ approval from Sheffield Council will be submitted in September.
More detailed plans showing designs of buildings will form part of a later full planning application. If this is given the go-ahead then building work could begin.
No long-term time time scales for when the scheme could open have been revealed yet.