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Work has started! The ‘Enabling Phase’ of the Castle Hill/Sheaf Field project – site clearance and earthmoving plus structural surveys of the culverts and some new archaeology is now under way lasting probably until June.

We are told that the current plans will then be reviewed in light of what is uncovered by the enabling works to give more accurate costings before full contract is let.

The Good News!

We welcome the Council’s introduction of a Representative Board to oversee Castlegate regeneration and the Levelling Up programme – something the Trust and other stakeholders asked for from the start. The Trust is represented on it along with other community and heritage organisations including Friends of the Castle, the Exchange St Collective, Andalus Community Centre and Exchange Place Studios. The meetings are chaired by Paul Blomfield MP

The original deadline for Round 1 Levelling Up funds to be spent by March 2024 has been extended to 2026 allowing more time for refining the plans, prioritising works  and possibly seeking additional funding.

The Council has obtained an additional £5 m for the Castle site from the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority to ensure that among other things the whole of the de-culverting of the Sheaf within the site  is carried out.

The river channel is to be reshaped to create fish passage over the Castle Orchard Weir allowing fish to enter the Sheaf from the Don where salmon are now returning.

Work in progress

The Trust will continue to argue for reprofiling of the Sheaf bank to allow visibility and public access and enjoyment of the water as well as a restored wildlife habitat and easy maintenance. We feel strongly that this is critical to the day-to-day attractiveness of the park and contribute to wellbeing, biodiversity and public safety. The public safety benefits have been endorsed by South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue.

This proposal received strong support in all consultations, from members of the Planning Committee and from the public at a well-attended meeting of the Central Area Local Committee in November 2024.

The council design team is looking at options to achieve this ambition but it is not yet guaranteed.

Meanwhile members of the Trust are contributing to proposals for public art, heritage interpretation and visitor facilities and shaping the future governance and management of the new park which we hope will allow a wide range of community as well as commercial activities and volunteering opportunities.

Follow the Project in Real Time

Go to the Trust’s website to find a link to a webcam recording the work on site from the Trust’s camera in Exchange Place Studios.

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