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Levelling Up: Planning application submitted for transformation of Castle site

A CGI of the planning proposal for the Castle site in Sheffield

An exciting planning application has been submitted by the Council for the transformation of the Castle site public space, including an events space, new public art and opening up the River Sheaf.  

The planning application focusses on the public space element of the site, turning the current empty plot into a vibrant and inviting area in the city centre for residents and visitors to socialise, picnic, enjoy events and more.

The Castle site is where Sheffield began, sitting on the very spot where the original castle stood in 1184 and where the River Don and River Sheaf meet.

As part of the plans, the Council hopes to celebrate the heritage of the area by exposing some of remains of the Castle, including the former gatehouse, for the public to appreciate and admire. Other castle remains will remain in an underground chamber. Refurbishment is required in order reopen it to the public.

Whilst it is not possible to reveal all the remains of the Castle, innovative use of public art across the site will celebrate the history of the area, not just the original Castle but through the industrial era to the Castle Market.

Another throwback to the history of the site is the creation of an events space which is reminiscent of the ‘bowling green’ that inhabited the site in the 1600s. The events square will host up to 500 people at a range of events that will benefit from a plug and play provision.

The Council’s plan will also bring out into the open a large section of the River Sheaf. The Sheaf runs underground and was covered over in the early 20th century. This will create a tranquil terrace to sit, chat and enjoy events with a view over the water.

The council aspires to deliver a green and sustainable community space for all to enjoy, therefore the scheme incorporates robust flood mitigation in the form of sustainable urban drainage (SUDs).  This is a continuation of the ‘Grey to Green’ style planting scheme that can already be seen along Castlegate and Angel Street.

The plans for Castlegate represent the site through the ages while also offering the opportunities for events and space for children to play and explore.

Cllr Mazher Iqbal, Co-Chair of the Transport, Regeneration and Climate Policy Committee, said:

“In November we asked the people of Sheffield what they thought of our plans for Castlegate and took on board that feedback to draw up our final proposal.

“After a fantastic response from public, we’re thrilled to have made progress with the Castle site and now submitted the transformational plans for the public space.

“Our teams have worked incredibly hard to develop a plan which brings together the history of the space and offers an inviting space for Sheffielders to visit and enjoy within the city centre.

“The Castle site has played a crucial part in Sheffield’s history and remains an important part of our city. We hope everyone is just as excited as we are about this next step and bringing the area back to the hub of activity it used to be.”

Martin Gorman, Chair of the Friends of Sheffield Castle, said:

“We are delighted to have been involved in the proposals for the Castle site and overall are supportive of the plans, in particular, the proposed excavation and interpretation of the Castle Gatehouse and other remains. These plans are just the start of what we hope will become a welcoming and re-activated site to celebrate the heritage of our city.”

For info

  • Sheffield City Council secured funding from the Levelling Up Fund in October 2021 to transform the Castle Site, which was once home to Sheffield Castle and Castle Market but is currently boarded up and in a derelict state.
  • The council secured £20m from the government’s Levelling Up Fund to see through its vision for the area, which includes:

    • De-culverting the River Sheaf
    • Creating attractive green public spaces
    • Interpreting the history of the site
    • Preparing land for future redevelopment
    • Understanding the archaeology of the site including the remains of Sheffield Castle
    • Establishing Harmony Works – A destination for all things music in Sheffield. The plans will see Sheffield Music Hub and Sheffield Music Academy come together to create a musical hub in the currently empty Canada House.
    • Developing S1 Art Space – A creative workspace which aims to be one of the largest contemporary art galleries in the North.