Wednesday 25 February 2015

The demolition of the Sheffield’s former Castle Markets site is now underway.

Preparation work on the building has been completed over the last two months, but now the heavy machinery has moved in and the main structural demolition has begun.

Specialist work on removing asbestos from the buildings is also being carried out in stages before each of the buildings are removed.

The work is expected to be completed by November this year and will be part of the plans for the regeneration of Sheffield’s Castlegate and Riverside quarters.

The City Council and its partners have launched a series of funding bids to transform the environment and encourage new businesses to the area.

Many of these ideas were first seen as part of the City Centre Master Plan consultations during 2013. But of these the most high profile is that of ‘Rediscovering Sheffield’s Castle’.

The site is of huge historical interest and has many stories to tell, but little of the castle above ground has survived. For this reason the initial concept designs propose the reconstruction of the main entrance to the castle, known as the Great Bastion or gatehouse on its original foundations, which are known to survive, including a drawbridge over the re-excavated moat.

Councillor Leigh Bramall, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Development said: “We have waited for a very long time for this opportunity to start the transformation of Castlegate – the site where Sheffield was born.

“The project will contribute significantly to the wider regeneration of the area as well as to the city itself. Although rooted in our heritage, this project will benefit our economy and many different communities, including local businesses, residents, school children and students across the city as well as our visitors, many of whom stay in the seven nearby hotels.”

The partners are at pains to emphasise that these are just concepts and will be subject to what emerges from the ground as well as full public consultation on planning before they are finalised.

The City Council is working on the project in close partnership with the University of Sheffield, the Friends of Sheffield Castle, Museums Sheffield, Green Estate, the Castle Education Group, and Yorkshire Artspace, several of whom are also promoting complementary initiatives, will assist with fundraising and the long term management of the site.

Alongside ‘Rediscovering Sheffield’s Castle’ several projects are also set to transform other parts of Castlegate and the Riverside. These include:

• the proposed deculverting of the River Sheaf where it meets the Don. The Council are working with the Environment Agency to ‘daylight’ the river in order to reduce flood risk, improve the habitat and provide and attractive environment in the Castlegate are of the city linked to the castle site.

• the construction of a 1.3 km chain of green spaces along the former Inner Ring Road from Park Square to Shalesmoor– called the ‘Grey to Green Corridor’ – taking in the Castle Hill. This project also involves the University of Sheffield’s School of Landscape Architecture, Green Estate and the Riverside Business Association, including Urbo Developments, as well as the charity Autism Plus.

• the reuse of vacant buildings, starting with the former South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive offices, now reinvented as Exchange Studios by Yorkshire Artspace, and the former Castle House Co-op soon to be transformed into a hive of creativity by the Engaged University starting with the Festival of the Mind in September

Details of each of these initiatives will be released separately.