Developer homes in on Sheffield

DEVELOPERS could be given the go-ahead next week at the second time of asking for a big housing scheme on the edge of Sheffield city centre.

Student and private flats - along with a micro-brewery and small winter garden - are planned to replace old industrial buildings at the corner of Sylvester Street and Sidney Street. Another building due for demolition is the former Niche nightclub.

Councillors refused permission earlier this year partly because they thought the complex in the Cultural Industries Conservation Area, would be too big and the balance was tipped too heavily in favour of student accommodation.

Now a revised application from Elmsdale Estates for a smaller development with fewer student flats and more private housing has won over council planners, who will advise councillors to give the all-clear on Monday.

“The site is located in close proximity to the Sheffield Hallam University campus and the city centre and is a sustainable choice for both student and private housing,” says a council report.

On the table is a scheme for five buildings with a total of 162 student flats, 63 private apartments and 21 townhouses along with small shops, offices and a micro-brewery on either side of the junction. Two old factories - Renown Works and Speedwell Works - are earmarked for clearance, but part of another, Albert Works, would be restored.

The tallest building would now be six storeys compared with seven, and the volume of student flats has been reduced from 445.

English Heritage, the Government-backed conservatiion agency, says it is now comfortable with the proposals, and council planners are welcoming the “significant improvement” in the suggested mix of accommodation and the reduction in the scale of the buildings, which they say are now in keeping with the conservation area.

“The scheme has been revised substantially to address the previous reason for refusal,” they are telling councillors.

If approval is given, one of the conditions is likely to be that the developers pay £291,000 towards improving open space in the city centre.

Despite hundreds of student flats being built in and around the city centre in recent years, developers says there is still the demand for more - of the right quality in the right location.

The Manor Property Group has submitted plans for a £52m ‘village’ accommodating 880 students on the site of the former Gordon Lamb car dealership at the corner of Summerfield Street and Napier Street, off Ecclesall Road. Details are currently being assessed by the council.