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Page last updated at 15:33 GMT, Friday, 18 June 2010 16:33 UK

Three major Sheffield projects hit by spending cuts

Len Tingle
Editor, Politics Show for Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the North Midlands

Simon Bower and Len Tingle

Local trader Simon Bower takes Len Tingle on a tour of Sheffield's "pretend" shops.

Sheffield is one of the country's biggest losers in the latest round of Government budget savings.

The futures of a new city centre shopping quarter and a business park are now in the balance.

And the offer of an £80 million development loan for steelmaker Forgemasters has been withdrawn.

Treasury Minister Danny Alexander said Labour had made cynical promises without the resources to pay for them.

Nuclear fall out

Forgemasters had intended using the loan to re-equip part of its manufacturing plant in Sheffield to make giant steel components for nuclear power stations.

The company described the decision as a "major disappointment" .

Stalled shopping quarter

A decision to suspend payment of a £12 million pound grant for a new retail quarter is a further blow to the massive scheme which has already been stalled for several months.

Many existing businesses on the site of the proposed Sevenstone shopping quarter have already been bought and emptied. The grant would have been used to buy up the rest of them.

But the entire project is already in limbo because the city's commercial partners have been hit by the fall in the wider economy. They were to provide the bulk of the funding for the total cost of the massive £660 million pound project

"Pretend" shops

Dozens of empty shops which have been waiting for the bulldozers to move in have had their windows filled with temporary displays to soften the visual effect of the economic blight.

Simon Bower, who runs the century old Pollards coffee shop and cafe says his customers used to be shoppers and the local workers. He's now losing thousands of pounds in takings every month.

"But I have a compulsory purchase order on my business too so we can't move. Who's going to buy it?"

He says the area is now more like a film set with window dressing in shops which are otherwise locked and empty.

"Who comes to look at a window display in what I call pretend shops," he says.

Sheffield City Council says the project is still alive despite its temporary financial difficulties.

See the full report on BBC1 at 11:00 AM this Sunday 20th June on the Politics Show for Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the North Midlands.



SEE ALSO
New bid to level 'ugly' building
27 Apr 10 |  Gloucestershire
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15 Dec 09 |  Manchester
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23 May 06 |  Nottinghamshire
Compulsory sale for derelict plot
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