Castlegate Levelling Up Fund

Castlegate is where Sheffield history starts, with the meeting of the Rivers Sheaf and Don at the ‘Sheaf Field’, the Norman castle, the city’s first bridge crossing, markets and later the first purpose-built Town Hall and Courts.

Despite serious wartime bomb damage the area retains significant historic importance including Lady’s Bridge, the Old Town Hall and Courts and the remains of the castle buried in the foundations of the former Castle Market site.

Whilst the centre of retail and local government has gradually shifted away during the 20th century, Castlegate continues to perform an important, if changing role in the city centre.

This includes a number of large and smaller retailers, a significant number of professional and office employers, the largest concentration of city centre hotels, Snig Hill police station and Magistrates Courts.

The future of the Castlegate Quarter

Castlegate is beginning to take on a new role as a place where new forms of employment, leisure and living can be tried out and developed.

Since 2013, the 'Rediscovery of Castlegate' project has caught the wider public’s imagination and has become one of the central ‘place-making’ initiatives in the City Centre Master Plan, and a major opportunity for innovation and collaboration with community organisations, the city’s 2 universities and businesses.

The clearance of the old Castle Markets and the removal of through traffic from the former inner ring road (Exchange Street/Castlegate/Blonk Street) together with changes in retail occupancy has created new space and opportunities.

The long-standing ambition of reconnecting the city centre with its waterways – the Canal Basin, Rivers Don and Sheaf is now achievable.

Castlegate Partnership

A Castlegate Partnership including the Friends of the Old Town Hall and of Sheffield Castle, the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, the Culture Consortium, local hoteliers and traders as well as ourselves has been formed to promote a collaborative and innovative approach to regenerating the area.

Several key place-making interventions have been proposed including: 

  1. Archaeological and structural investigation of the Castle Market site, aimed at creating a new green space on the Castle site and defining potential small development sites.
  2. Removing the structurally unsound River Sheaf culvert which runs under part of the site and the creation of a new riverside pocket park to be known as Sheaf Field.
  3. Reclaiming areas of redundant former ring road for public space, sustainable drainage and other uses with improved connection to Victoria Quays through the next phase of the Grey 2 Green Corridor Restoration.
  4. New uses for the historic Old Town Hall.
  5. Completion of the office and mixed use development on Broad Street. West/Exchange Street known as The Square.
  6. Imaginative new uses for other buildings such as the listed Castle House Co-op Department Store, other vacant shops and the former multi-storey stables on the riverside.

Our bid for the Levelling Up Fund

Since the formation of the Castlegate Partnership and the place-making interventions listed above, we have been successful in our bid for Government Levelling Up Fund money. This will now enable the area to be regenerated.

This was a package bid bringing together three projects that respond directly to the Levelling Up Fund’s call to ‘prioritise investment that not only brings economic benefits, but also helps bind communities together’. It welcomes visitors, residents, and investors into a previously neglected part of Sheffield’s heritage, using public realm interventions to create new sense of place. It links historic sites with revitalised cultural institutions that will nurture the city’s talent for generations to come. The three projects are:

  • The Castle
  • Park Hill Art Space
  • Harmony Works

The Castle is the centrepiece. It provides essential infrastructure and enabling work to unlock the future development of a large brownfield site and the economic regeneration of Castlegate quarter. Castlegate is the birthplace of Sheffield. At the confluence of the River Sheaf and the River Don, this was once the heart of the city, and the site of the castle demolished in 1648. Once a thriving commercial area, it has lost its identity and purpose. The Castle project will re-establish Castlegate as a vital part of the city centre. The River Sheaf will be de-culverted and complemented by new green space and public realm. Land will be readied for future development, with a first anchor already identified: Education and Skills. Other plots will be activated by ‘meanwhile uses’ that encourage healthy lifestyles. This is the culmination of a ‘grey to green’ process that is transforming a derelict ‘no go’ space into one of Sheffield’s most exciting neighbourhoods.

Contact City Regeneration

Floor 4, Howden House
1 Union Street
S1 2SH
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