The date when a developer for Sheffield’s new retail quarter will be confirmed has been delayed by six months, it has emerged.
Outline plans for the £480 million scheme in the city centre have been submitted.
The project replaces the failed Sevenstone scheme, scrapped after long delays.
However, written questions between Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore and Liberal Democrat opposition leader Colin Ross reveal there has been a change to when the development partner will be announced.
Answers to similar written questions in February said the partner would be confirmed by this month, and since then it has been said that it would be expected by the end of this year.
Now ‘officers have revised the target date for announcing the preferred development partner’ to February or March 2016, according to the written answer.
At Wednesday’s full council meeting, Coun Ross asked what caused the delay.
Coun Dore said there were legal discussions ongoing, some of which were ‘extremely confidential.’
But Coun Ross said those discussions had been known about for months and ‘something has changed’.
Coun Dore replied: “The answer is consultation.”
Afterwards deputy council leader Coun Leigh Bramall insisted the council was still ‘firmly on track to open a superb new city centre shopping and leisure destination in 2019.’
He said that in public consultation the announcement date given was early 2016.
He added: “With any scheme of this scale, it is inevitable project timescales are adjusted along the way, usually without an impact on the final delivery date.
“We are confident Sheffield Retail Quarter will still open on time.”