Revised homes scheme is ‘still substandard’

Community representatives in Broomhill have condemned revised proposals in the saga of the redevelopment of the site of the former Tapton halls of residence for housing.

They say it is “disappointing” to see “so little has been done” to address their concerns - and those of Government-backed conservation agency English Heritage - despite the number of protests and the length of time since the latest scheme was submitted.

In particular, Broomhill Action Neighbourhood Group claims the updated application fails to respect the character of the local conservation area and amounts to “overdevelopment” in places.

Council approval is being sought to replace the former halls of residence off Crookes Road and Taptonville Road with 97 houses and apartments.

Taylor Wimpey, which is working with the University of Sheffield, has submitted amended proposals after widespread opposition to its initial strategy. More than 80 individual objections have been lodged.

The main changes are to the layout of the houses at the Crookes end of the site.

But BANG says the results are “very poor”, especially when compared with a housing scheme, from a previous developer, that was approved previously. It has now reverted to something similar to one that was rejected after a public inquiry, says secretary Lee Kenny.

One of the main objections is to introducing terraced houses along Taptonville Road, “which seems to indicate either a lack of understanding of the Broomhill Conservation Area character or a careless disregard for it”.

It is also argued that 12 semi-detached houses would be “squeezed” into the botanical garden behind Taptonville Road, there is an “inappropriate mix” of building materials” alongside some of Sheffield’s finest Victorian villas and there would be parking problems at the southern end.

“Given that the developers do not appear to have addressed any of (the) points in their revised scheme, we hope that the council refuses planning permission this substandard development proposals and insists on higher standards,” says Ms Kenny.

Council planners are assessing all the implications. A report is likely to be presented to councillors next month.

A fresh attempt is being made to deliver a housing scheme to replace the University of Sheffield’s former Tapton halls of residence.

Residents near the site, off Crookes Road and Taptonville Road, are being asked for their views before a revised application is submitted by the University in a new partnership, with Taylor Wimpey Yorkshire.

Already preliminary talks have been held with the council on proposals that would reduce the number of homes from 113 to 94.

Council approval was granted two years ago for another developer to build houses and flats, but demolition and construction failed to materialise.

The go-ahead was amid community protests over the effect on a Victorian ‘secret garden’, an experimental botanic garden containing more than 2,000 species of plants.

Community representatives in the Broomhill area are scrutinising the latest details, and the impact on the garden is likely to be among the key concerns.

Planning consultants DLP say the original walls of the garden will be retained, areas around an arboretum will remain open and tree roots will be protected.

The proposed development will be three storeys, with the occasional fourth, with a similar footprint to the one in the approved scheme.

Broomhill Forum secretary Howard Fry said: “We need to look at the detailed drawings.”