27 March 2017

Plans to uncover some of Sheffield’s rich riverside history at Castlegate are moving forward thanks to new funding from the Environment Agency.

The Environment Agency has awarded Sheffield City Council £50,000 funding to develop designs for Sheaf Field, which could ultimately see the River Sheaf de-culverted as it passes part of the former Castle Market site.

The Council can now progress its Castlegate Regeneration Project by developing designs with a view to preparing a planning application to de-culvert the Sheaf and create a new pocket park on the site.

The new funding will enable council officers to better understand the river layout and make a more detailed design.

Read Simon Ogden’s guide to Sheffield’s hidden rivers here.

Councillor Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “The meeting of the Rivers Don and Sheaf at the former Castle Market site – or Sheaf Field – marks the historic origin of the city and the strategic site of the former Sheffield Castle.

“This funding will enable officers to better understand the site and developed detailed plans for it – but there’s no mistaking its tremendous potential.

“This could restore part of the city’s ancient history and unlock further regeneration for the wider Castlegate area.”

Matilda Street Pocket Park
Matilda Street Pocket Park

The low River Sheaf culvert, which sits on land owned by Sheffield Council under the former Castle Market site, is in a poor state of repair and is already incapable of bearing heavy vehicles. It needs to be repaired or removed.

Joanne Briddock, catchment co-ordinator for the Environment Agency, said: “The Environment Agency is working in partnership with Sheffield Council to progress the River Sheaf project.

“This project will reopen the hidden underground section of the River Sheaf where it joins the River Don at Castlegate and will restore the Sheaf to its’ rightful place at the heart of Sheffield.”

The Castlegate site has a long history – it’s where Sheffield began and where it got it’s name – from the Norman Sheffield Castle, the likely imprisonment of Mary Queen of Scots, through centuries of markets, industry, the first purpose-built Town Hall and courts to the blitz and more recent Castle Markets constructed in the 1950s.