Sheffield greenlights £65m plan to build its own Chinatown

Could Sheffield have a Chinatown district like Manila's?
Could Sheffield have a Chinatown district like Manila's?
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EASTERN PROMISE has helped push through plans for a multi-million pound development dubbed Sheffield’s answer to China Town.

Plans for a £65m complex complete with student accommodation, private property, an oriental supermarket, restaurants, offices and a public square were given provisional approval at a meeting of the city council’s planning committee this week.

The site, near to London Road, known as one of the city’s most vibrant multicultural areas, will also include a ‘business incubator’, with conference space and training facilities, designed to boost economic links with China.

New Era Development Ltd, which is behind the proposals, say it will put Sheffield on the map as a destination for investment from the far east.

Managing director Jerry Cheung said: “The incubator will have partners working together to welcome Chinese businesses to come to be in Sheffield, we will offer a better service than Leeds or Manchester.”

The so-called China town comprises of three buildings, from five to 21-storeys high, which will be home to 695 student bed spaces, and 14 private two-bedroom apartments.

A planning report prepared ahead of the meeting said: “The scheme is high-quality and significant development at a prominent gateway location on the edge of the city centre. It will provide for redevelopment of a partly vacant, underutilised, unattractive site in a manner which will result in significant physical and economic regeneration.”

Work on phase one of the development will begin this summer and the complex is likely to be complete within three years.

The vision for creating a hive for Sheffield’s Chinese community has been in the making for several years. Dignitaries from the Chinese embassy were present at the unveiling of the plans last September.

However, Mr Cheung has stressed that the development, which will be named New Era Square, would not simply cater for the city’s 10,000-plus Chinese population.

He said: “These proposals have a more cosmopolitan feel incorporating all cultures, not just Chinese.”

Developers must comply with a number of conditions which have been set out in the planning approval agreement.

A spokesman for Sheffield Council said: “The legal agreement is necessary to secure the re-appraisal of the need for an affordable housing contribution if implementation is delayed; the building of both phases; and public open space contribution if there is delay in completing the second phase.”