2,200 new car parking spaces may be created

MORE than 2,200 new car parking spaces could be created in Sheffield city centre if plans to build two huge multi-storey car parks are given approval by planning councillors.

Developers have applied for permission to build a 10-storey block containing 1,696 spaces as part of the city's Sevenstone retail development between Wellington Street and Devonshire Lane.

In a separate project, 529 spaces could be provided on the site of the Sheffield Assay Office, in Portobello Street, in a new building which would also include shops and restaurants.

Many motorists and commuters will be delighted at the news that two new car parks are planned, after the city lost several in other redevelopment projects including spaces beside Park Square roundabout.

Protests have been registered with Sheffield Council at busy times, including Christmas and around the World Snooker Championships, after regular commuters struggled to find a place to park.

But some opposition has been registered to both schemes, with Sheffield's branch of the Green Party demanding that the Sevenstone car park is rejected by the planning authorities.

In a letter to the council, Green Party councillor Bernard Little, who represents the city's Central Ward, said: "I urge you to recommend the rejection of this proposal for a multi-storey car park.

"As a city claiming to be leading the way on environmental best practice, along with concerns about wider financial instability and rising fuel prices, we should not approve it."

Bosses at neighbouring Westfield Health have also objected to the size of the proposed building, complaining of "overshadowing" while the Victorian Society has condemned it as "monolithic".

The car park development on Portobello Street would be six storeys high, with around 10,400 sq ft (966 sq m) of the building used for shops and restaurants and the rest used for cars.

Some neighbours of the development, including Sheffield University, have objected to the council over worries that the road infrastructure in the area would not be able to cope.

According to detailed plans, the Sevenstone car park would include "green walls", which are made up of hundreds of tiny plants in a bid to soften the outline of the building.

It would also provide a new base for the city's Shopmobility scheme, which loans electric scooters and other mobility aids to help disabled and elderly shoppers.

If approved, the Portobello Street scheme would incorporate what are described as "coloured glass and aluminium louvres to provide visual interest during both the day and night."

Land for the car park at Portobello Street has become available after the Sheffield Assay Office, which was established in 1773 and hallmarks precious metals, announced a move to Hillsborough.

The council has received several letters supporting the provision of new car parks in the city centre, and both applications have been recommended for approval by Sheffield Council planning officers.

Each of the two schemes will be considered by members of Sheffield Council at a meeting to be held next Monday at 2pm in Sheffield Town Hall. The meeting will be open to the public.