Hammerson has ditched its plans for its £600m Sevenstone retail development in Sheffield

Sevenstone - Hammerson

Hammerson has abandoned plans to develop the £600m Sevenstone retail development in Sheffield city centre.

Announcing its half-year results this week, the developer said it had “reached mutual agreement with Sheffield City Council not to progress Sevenstone”.

Hammerson originally planned to develop a £600m project with 860,000 sq ft of retail space and a 260,000 sq ft John Lewis store.

However, the department store retailer decided to remain in its existing Sheffield store, and although Hammerson sought to revise the scheme and reduce it by around 250,000 sq ft it was not able to come up with a viable proposal.

The scheme was also hit by the continued expansion of the out-of-town Meadowhall shopping centre by rival British Land, which Hammerson has said has drawn expenditure out of the city centre.

In a statement Hammerson said: “We have worked with Sheffield City Council for some time to achieve a retail scheme which creates a thriving city centre environment in Sheffield.

“Through this process, we have looked at various options to redesign the original large scale scheme which was conceived pre-recession, however we have now decided to begin the process to end our development agreement with the council on Sevenstone.”

Sheffield council will now need to seek a new development partner for the scheme.

In its results, Hammerson said it had around £200m of extensions and refurbishment work on its existing centres underway and was moving ahead with planning permission for other large retail schemes in Leeds, Brent Cross in North London, and in Croydon, where it is planning a £1bn ‘mega-mall’ in partnership with developer Westfield.

Last week Croydon council stepped in to help Westfield and Hammerson purchase the land necessary for the development, which is the largest planned retail scheme in the UK, with the council sending around 200 requisition letters to affected landlords notifying them of its intention to pursue compulsory purchase orders if commercial deals cannot be agreed.

In its results, Hammerson said: “Going forward, we must ensure that our capital and human resources are appropriately focused on completion of schemes which offer the most attractive returns over the medium to long term.

“The main focus of Hammerson’s strategic UK development projects will be on its major retail schemes in Leeds and London, including Croydon and Brent Cross, which in total will deliver circa 327,000m² of new retail space over the coming years.

“This is in addition to the refurbishment programme of existing centres and retail park extensions.

“Consequently, Hammerson has reached mutual agreement with Sheffield City Council not to progress Sevenstone, the proposed new retail quarter for Sheffield city centre.”