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Sheffield secures £20m for Castlegate and Park Hill redevelopment

Funding to support regeneration of the Sheffield Castle site and the surrounding area, as well as a new Park Hill Art Space, has been allocated from the government's Levelling Up Fund.

Castle site draft concept plan levelling up fund june 2021

An indicative concept plan for the redevelopment of the Castle site for Sheffield's bid to the Levelling Up Fund.

A £20 million bid to the government's Levelling Up Fund to support the redevelopment and regeneration of the Castlegate area of Sheffield has been successful.

Sheffield submitted a bid to central government earlier this year which focuses on opening up the section of the Sheaf which passes under the site, making the river into a feature and creating new riverside and wetland habitats.

An "indicative" concept plan obtained by Now Then in July shows a plaza, a visitor centre, an ‘active pedestrian street’, green space including ‘sunken historical artefact gardens’, sculptures, a seating terrace and an ‘art wall’.

The fund will also support the establishment of a Park Hill Art Space and a sculpture park connecting Castlegate and Park Hill flats, as well as providing a home for a new young people's music centre called Harmony Works. Harmony Works, which will be housed at Canada House on Commercial Street, is a collaboration between Sheffield Music Hub and Sheffield Music Academy.

A press release from Sheffield Council adds that "plans also include a multi-purpose space to allow students and other users to perform to the public."

According to the Friends of Sheffield Castle, £15m of the total will be allocated to the Castle site itself, with "further archaeological investigations" and "interpretation of the remains" taking place.

Martin Gorman, Chair of Friends of Sheffield Castle, said on the group's website that the funding "now means we can at last start turning the site into something we can all be proud of, celebrating the history of Sheffield and revealing our long lost Castle."

Louise Hutchinson, CEO and Artistic Director at S1 Artspace, based at Park Hill, said: "We are thrilled with the LUF grant, the cultural opportunities it will unlock for Sheffield are incredibly exciting and long overdue.

"This grant represents a valuable opportunity to create a major step change across Sheffield’s cultural infrastructure and we are delighted to play a part in that transformation."

Sheaf and Porter River Trust, which has advocated for the opening up of the river at Castlegate and recently launched a petition calling for a public consultation on the future of the area, welcomed the announcement, but said the redevelopment would "hopefully also include a substantial public space with the history of the site and the general public at its core."

"We continue to be strong supporters of an early and broad public consultation on the site as we believe the public, as the owners, should have a strong say over its future."

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A view of the Sheffield Castle site from the roof of Yorkshire Artspace.

This summer former council officer Simon Ogden went public with a series of serious allegations about the conduct of Cllr Mazher Iqbal, some of them relating to the Castle site and the wider Castegate area.

Iqbal has been "stepped aside" from his duties on the Council's Cooperative Executive and a formal investigation into his conduct is still ongoing after over a year.

The Star reported last month that Iqbal is still receiving his 'cabinet bonus' of £800 per month despite his suspension.

Speaking in a personal capacity, Ogden told Now Then: "The funding is very welcome and well deserved. It makes the need to reinstate the long-postponed public consultation on both the Castle site and a Castlegate Conservation Area even more urgent and l look forward to dates being announced by the Council without any more delay.

"Although my conduct complaint [about Cllr Iqbal], or at least a part of it, has been reported to the Consideration Committee on Tuesday l have yet to see the final report or hear what the outcome was. Council has up to ten days to publish the decision."

Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park

Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park

Sheffield City Council

Sheffield also secured £17 million from the Levelling Up Fund for the Attercliffe area of the city. The Council said this part of the funding will be "focused on joining up investment in leading-edge employment, travel and quality of life to transform perceptions of Attercliffe."

"The funding will enhance travel routes between Attercliffe High Street and the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, complementing investment in walking, cycling and public transport planned as part of the Transforming Cities Fund," said Legacy Park Ltd Chair Richard Caborn.

"A new cycle hub will be created to encourage active travel and improve links to and from the high street."

by Sam Walby (he/him)

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