As The Retail quarter frustration goes on…

THE future of  The Moor in Sheffield city centre took another twist this week with the announcement of a £26.5m deal that transfers control of the area. Much of the land and property on and around the precinct, including the site for the new markets, is now in the hands of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership. Both Scottish Widows and the council immediately underlined their commitment to an existing £18m project to relocate the markets from Castlegate to The Moor goes ahead as planned. But the switch in control continues a saga that been running for many years, with market traders still waiting to move to a purpose-built complex. Reports The Sheffield Telegraph RREEF (UK), the property arm of Deutsche Bank, which previously held the long lease from the council

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Image of  the bland monolithic Sevenstone project.

Since the middle of 2009, the SWIP Property Trust has committed over £600m to the commercial property market. In Sheffield, one of its previous involvements was the financing of the former Gap fashion store at the corner of Pinstone Street and Barkers Pool, which is now a Barclays Bank Altogether Scottish Widows, whose ultimate parent company is Lloyds Banking Group, is acquiring 24 acres of predominantly retail property with some office, leisure and car parking. Its estate includes the block below Debenhams and the Chesham House office block off Charter Row.

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Image of  the bland monolithic Sevenstone project.

Work continues on repaving the bottom of The Moor in a scheme financed by Government redevelopment agency Yorkshire Forward, but parts of the precinct bear the scars of the recession and the wait for redevelopment. Retail quarter frustration goes on over Developer Hammerson who has put the huge scheme on hold due to the recession, Sheffield Council was reported in January 2010 to be providing a £20 million “rescue package” to prevent the Sevenstone new retail quarter development from falling through.

We are seeing Sheffield become a ghost town with empty shops and un let new office accommodation and 24 acres of land sold to Scottish Widows and it is reported as good news?, failed project after failed project litters this city Sheffield’s record at getting any kind of retail scheme off the ground is absolutely dreadful. It lags behind every other northern city and is falling further and further behind. Looks as though Trinity is ploughing ahead in Leeds, Eldon Square in Newcastle has recently been developed, even much smaller places like Wakefield are managing to improve the retail offering.

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Image of  the bland monolithic Sevenstone project.

It is literally leagues behind every other major city of its size and we are left with a ghost town in some regard I like urban dereliction in fact I love it but how the fuck can we see public funds given for what in effect is the wholesale privatisation of our city that we are been asked to pay for and bail out the likes of Hammerson and now RREEF (UK) walk of with public cash in there pockets, is not time some serious questions are asked over this ongoing farce?

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