Sheffield’s law courts will soon be part of a buzzing new district thanks to a series of residential and business developments.
West Bar is already looking more colourful thanks to Sheffield Council’s Grey to Green planting scheme - and the latest project is the transformation of the office block opposite the crown court into 355 student flats.
The building, known as Crown House, was built in 2010 for business use, but has stood empty since then. Developer London and Scottish Student Housing plans to make use of the block, and contractors are currently carrying out conversion work.
Extensions will also be built to the back of the building, which will then create a courtyard for residents.
Once completed, the apartment building will have a mix of studio and two-bed clusters. Two ‘lightweight’ levels will be added to the top of the building.
At the ground floor there will be a communal area for students along with ‘retail and leisure units’.
The planning application for the conversion includes a student accommodation market report from estate agent Knight Frank, which found 47 private sector direct let halls of residence in Sheffield - providing a total of 7,329 rooms. This figure does not include the large number of houses let to students, or university-owned halls.
In February, when the report was published, there were 13 approved student accommodation planning applications, providing 3,242 beds in total, with several other schemes yet to be decided.
The West Bar area is in line for further redevelopment over the coming years.
Developer Urbo wants to regenerate the area to the north of the law courts as part of a £175m plan known as West Bar Square.
The development is a mix of office space, high quality apartment blocks, a four-star hotel, restaurants, shops and public space.
Urbo has submitted an outline planning application to Sheffield Council.
The firm’s managing director Peter Swallow said West Bar Square was ‘a very significant development for the city’, and would ‘create a premier business district to attract major employers’.
He added: “There has also been strong interest in private rented sector apartments with many investment funds eager to house people in a purpose-built environment.”
Sheffield Council’s Grey to Green scheme has been recognised for its eco-friendly credentials, winning the 2016 Yorkshire Rose Environmental Quality Award.
The project has also been shortlisted for several national awards. The latest part of the project is Love Square, a pocket park development
The council’s deputy leader Leigh Bramall said the city centre had a ‘crucial’ role to play as the commercial business district for the city and wider city region.
He added: “West Bar Square will significantly strengthen the city’s status as a key location for business and professional services, supported by improvements made in the area such as Grey to Green and the recently-completed Love Square.”
The neighbouring Riverside Business District, between Bridge Street and the River Don, and is already home to major employers such as the Home Office and Irwin Mitchell. More development is planned on the east side of the river.
The proposed redevelopment of the Castlegate area should further enhance the area. And nearby Kelham Island is undergoing its own development revolution. The Little Kelham project is of particular note, comprising 153 energy-efficient homes - described as ‘the future of sustainable living’ - as well as a variety of creative spaces, shops and cafes.
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