Offices to be converted into 250 apartments

The resident population of Sheffield city centre is set to grow even further with the conversion of two office blocks into 250 apartments.

Proposals to convert Sovereign House in Queen Street - adding two storeys - and neighbouring Bank House have been given the council go-ahead.

Almost all the new accommodation will be one bed studios and apartments. There will be a communal garden, coffee shop, games, TV and laundry rooms. There will also be a gym, which will be open to the public.

The project is another reflection of the increasing popularity of the city centre as a place to live as well as work, shop and be entertained.

Latest census figures indicated the population the Central council ward has more than doubled over the past ten years, driven primarily by an influx of students and young professionals.

Sovereign House is empty and is described by the council as “an 11-storey rather anonymous office building”.

New Bank House is four and five storeys and is being vacated by the council, which is consolidating offices in the city centre.

The Queen Street area is largely commercial. “However, as office vacancy rates have increased, a number of properties have been converted to residential accommodation,” says a council report.

“In addition, large residential-led schemes have been constructed around the inner ruing road and West Bar area, close to the application site.”

The new apartments will “add to the vitality of the Cathedral Quarter”.

Building insulation will protect residents from traffic noise, adds the council, while there are no noisy bars or clubs on the doorstep.

One of the conditions of Signature Realty being granted permission is a contribution of £290,000 towards improving open space in the city centre.

Much of the new housing in the city centre in recent years has been for students, with more on the way.

A scheme to convert part of Bells Court in Bailey Street, off Trippet Lane, into 39 student apartments was approved on Tuesday.

The application involves adding two storeys and an extension at the back. Council officers welcome the retention of the existing building and the design.