Plans to regenerate Sheffield’s riverside business district and principle hotel area are set to be given the go-ahead by the City Council’s Leader within the next few days.
Over the last 15 years Sheffield city centre has experienced a significant transformation, spreading out from the award-winning ‘Heart of the City’ regeneration programme. Following the re-location of the indoor market to The Moor, it is now possible to begin the transformation of the Castlegate area.
It proposes the transformation of the corridor linking Riverside Business District and Castlegate to the rest of the city centre with a strong emphasis on flood prevention.
The Council has been working in partnership with a team from the University of Sheffield’s Landscape School, which designed the spectacular meadows at London’s Olympic Park. The team will apply a scientifically tested attractive and cost effective method to achieve maximum impact and sustainability in partnership with leading contractor Boningale, Streets Ahead partner Amey and the social enterprise Green Estate.
Professor Nigel Dunnett of the Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield said: “The Grey to Green project in Sheffield’s Riverside District is one of the most ambitious and visionary urban transformation projects in the country, further boosting Sheffield’s credentials as a green city.
“We are proud to be a core partner in this scheme, and to bring our support and technical expertise to help make this a truly ground-breaking example to other cities in the UK, whilst also providing exciting opportunities for our students to become involved with real-life innovative and cutting-edge planning and design projects.”
The ‘Grey to Green’ scheme has grown out of proposals in the City Centre Masterplan update of 2013 and is a key step towards the vision of where the city wants to be over the next 10-15 years.
Councillor Leigh Bramall, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Development said: “It is intended to transform the riverside area of the city into a green environment suitable for expanding business and hotel development.
“It’s an area that will not only link the city centre with Victoria Quays and The Wicker, but also provide an attractive green space to complement the local businesses and make it an attractive location for further investment.
“The potential tourism benefits of opening up the former castle site are really exciting and something I know many local people would like to happen. It’s an important part of our plans to make greater use of the city’s rivers for their leisure and environmental assets.”
The project will transform 1.3 kilometres of redundant roads into an attractive new linear public space incorporating perennial meadows, sustainable drainage, rain gardens, walking and cycling routes that will improve the setting for a number of development sites in the area.
The scheme has already received strong support from businesses and the public. It also forms part of the package of measures in the city centre’s Sheffield City Region Investment Fund (SCRIF) submission as well as a current European Regional Development Fund submission.
Links between the city centre to the Riverside Business District and on to Kelham Island, The Wicker/Nursery Street and Castlegate/Victoria Quays will be improved and this is should increase investment and pedestrian movement in the area.
A network of high quality public spaces will establish Sheffield’s Central Riverside as a distinctive and high quality location for new businesses, and will change investors’ and existing occupiers’ poor perceptions about the area.
The scheme will complement the proposed Castle Hill Park on the former Markets site and establish an appropriate setting for the Crown and Family Courts as well as improving the setting and accessibility of the existing cluster of seven hotels in the area.
When the Inner Relief Road was completed in 2007, it provided opportunities to for new sites for quality employment use. This will create much needed investment, particularly in office and professional and knowledge intensive business services into that area of the city centre.
The enhancement of this part of the city will support Sheffield’s bid for the location of the High Speed 2 station close to the city centre at Victoria Station, which is close to the proposed works.
The scheme will also help to tackle the effects of climate change. A 650 metre corridor of porous surfaces will provide a sustainable solution to surface water drainage reducing run off to the river within the ‘flood zone’ and helping to reduce flood risk from surface water. An increase in tree street cover and shade will also offset the increasing heat island effect of climate change.
Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Head of Engagement at the University of Sheffield added: “In Castlegate we are seeing the first fruits of a completely new approach to partnership with the city, bringing the research resources of the University to bear in very practical ways to animate, discover and transform Sheffield’s oldest quarter whilst learning having fun.”
The project will begin in 2015/16 to meet the timescales and funding of the Sheffield City Region Strategic Economic Plan.
Notes for editors:
The total cost of the scheme is estimated at £3.6 million, with a bid lodged for £1.44 million to the ERDF and £2.16 million from the City Council in advance of SCRIF funding (*NB: SCRIF funding is made up of £0.5 million from the Sheffield City Region’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund and £1.66 million from the Sheffield City Centre SCRIF Regeneration bid).
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