Too much? - Debate rages over development of Sheffield trendiest district

A debate is raging about the future of one of Sheffield’s trendiest districts as developers move in and heritage businesses move out.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 12:41 pm

Some property professionals think Kelham Island is becoming ‘overdeveloped’ with new flats at the expense of the heritage that made it interesting in the first place.

The former industrial area beside the River Don was at the forefront of the city living boom and regularly appears in national top 10 list of cool places to visit. In 2018 it won the UK’s best neighbourhood at the Urbanism Awards.

But the future of two heritage craft businesses has highlighted what some see as rampant gentrification.

Cabinet maker Paul McCarthy, left, and silversmith Chris Perry may have to leave their respective workshops at Kelham Island to make way for a housing development.
Cabinet maker Paul McCarthy, left, and silversmith Chris Perry may have to leave their respective workshops at Kelham Island to make way for a housing development.

Cabinet maker Paul McCarthy and silversmith Chris Perry – both based at The Cottages, on Alma Street - face having to move out because the property looks likely to be sold for housing.

Landlord AW Tools aims to sell it to developer Citu, which has earmarked the area as residential.

A Citu spokeswoman said: “AW Tools decided they needed to relocate from their current premises to somewhere that better suits their business needs.

“Citu is purchasing Globe Works and looks forward to sharing exciting plans for the future of the building in the next few weeks.”

Chris Thompson, managing director of Citu.

Architect Matt Bowker, managing director at Coda Studios Ltd, said he was worried Kelham Island was being redeveloped ‘in its entirety’ and failing to balance residential and work uses.

Lucy Macbeth, marketing executive at at Baldwin & Francis Ltd, said: “As a resident I think they are overdoing it, it’s losing its heritage and character.”

Business owner Martin Wallis-Keyworth added: “Over developed, not enough green space and totally disjointed from the city centre thereby diluting the city centre proposition further.”

Martyn Benson, principal at Bradmarsh Templar Ltd, said: “Money always talks - sometimes over-riding social conscience and with very unfortunate results!”

Ian Clarke, internal controls manager at ABB Motors and Drives, added: “This doesn’t seem like a great idea. Fingers’ crossed that something can be worked out.”

Responding, Matt Davison CEO at Portland Investment Group, said he might be able to accommodate both businesses at the original Globe Works on Penistone Road nearby.

He added: “We intend to create new workshops in the old engine house early next year. This timescale may fit in with both Citu and AW Tools’ timeframes.”

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.