Fresh student test for Bramall Lane area

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News: Sheffield Telegraph online 24-hours a day.

Another big student and private housing complex is being lined up for between Bramall Lane and London Road.

Accommodation for 535 students alongside 74 apartments is earmarked for the site of the former Denby Street nursery and surrounds, near the Sheffield United stadium.

It follows plans for accommodation for 700 students as part of a Chinese-financed development at the St Mary’s Gate end of Bramall Lane, and would sit alongside The Forge, which is already home to more than 1,000 students.

The latest scheme will raise questions about whether the area is becoming saturated with student and other single people’s accommodation at the expense of more mixed communities and some traditional businesses.

At the same time, it is acknowledged that such purpose-built blocks can help to ease the pressure on traditional residential areas such as Broomhill and Crookes and help to revive rundown areas.

Agents for RTM (South Yorkshire) Ltd, behind the new project, say temporary uses of some land in the area give it a “fringe” character which “is not helped by the fact that Bramall Lane remains the target of a road widening scheme”. It is thought that the line of a proposed road is still protected, but there has been no movement for many years.

Local Green councillor Jillian Creasy said there was still a market for student flats close to the universities, “which will displace students from more distant blocks and houses in multiple occupation”.

The future of areas in and around the city centre “may well lie in residential as well as business, hospitality and retail,” she said.

“Planning law makes it difficult to specify the type of housing built, but the city council needs to up its game on attracting mixed developments suitable for a wider range of people to live within walking distance of where they work, shop and play.

The old Denby Street nursery site is set back from the main road and could have been used for blocks of larger apartments with surrounding gardens and attracted the kind of occupants who live much further out of the city centre, but would love to be nearer to Sheffield’s dynamic hub.”