Big student complex plan for edge of city centre

Former site of St Lukes School,Garden Strret,Sheffield
Former site of St Lukes School,Garden Strret,Sheffield

A BIG student complex comprising an international college and accommodation with almost 300 beds is being earmarked for a location on the edge of the city centre and the campus of the University of Sheffield.

Plans have been drawn up to transform a largely derelict site between Broad Lane and Garden Street.

Student accommodation specialist Watkin Jones, which has developed student flats around the area, is looking for council permission for a complex ranging in height from four storeys on Garden Street to 11 on Broad Lane, near the cobbled car park and opposite the NHS Walk-in Centre.

The college is designed to cater for overseas students from the age of 16, helping them to improve their skills in English so they can go on to study a degree at the university. “This includes small class teaching, extra English language tuition, one-to-one tutorials and dedicated pastoral support,” the applicants are telling the council.

“On-campus study enables students smoother transition to university life as they are already familiar with their environment.”

Up to 55 staff would work at the complex, it is estimated.

The proposed adjoining student accommodation would have 287 beds, and the council is being told by Sheffield-based planning consultants DLP that the targeted completion date is August next year so it is ready for the new academic year. City planners will study the details before preparing a report for councillors.

A listed building on the site, the old St Luke’s School, off Garden Street, would be incorporated into the complex. The cobbled Setts car park off Broad Lane is council-owned and would not be built upon.

Previous schemes for the site involving apartments, offices and car parking failed to materialise, and now the focus is switching to meeting demand from overseas students.

Research published earlier this month indicated that international students contribute £120m a year to the local economy. At the University of Sheffield, the largest contingent is from China, followed by Malaysia and India.

Already there is a Sheffield International College on Sheffield University’s campus off Broad Lane, although the university said this week that it was not directly involved in the latest application.

Watkin Jones is a national developer, builder and operator of student accommodation. Its work in Sheffield includes Rockingham House across Broad Lane from the proposed development site.

l Vice Chancellor in India, page 8.