There’s been a mixed bag of suggestions on how to develop one of Sheffield’s most well known council estates.
Council chiefs are drawing up a masterplan to regenerate Gleadless Valley, which includes 2,400 properties and shops.
Residents have attended a number of public meetings to give their opinions on how their neighbourhood should be redeveloped.
Coun Jim Steinke, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, says there has been general support for the regeneration plans – which as yet, do not detail any demolitions. The area has less Right to Buy homeowners than other parts of Sheffield.
“Where there was opposition it was very much focused on particular parts of Gleadless rather than the whole project,” he said.
“It’s been recognised that some of the housing isn’t worth investing in. There are some places we can continue to do something with but the sheer cost of other parts means it would be better to build new properties.
“There are also proposals for a sheltered housing scheme at Hemsworth and one of the things that came up from the discussions with older tenants was that they wanted to stay in the area so having something specific for them should be part of the plans.”
Coun Steinke said discussions were still underway about providing community facilities. “The Friends of Gleadless Valley are very vocal about Hemsworth and the old school site as they want a community centre but the problem is we already have significantly underused community spaces nearby so should we be investing in them rather than building a brand new one?”
The steep hills, woodland and open space of Gleadless Valley also need to be considered.
Coun Steinke added: “There’s not much we can do about the geography but we can have better infrastructures with roads and buses.
“We also need to look at expanding Gleadless Valley. When it was first designed it was envisaged it would have double the occupancy, with three centres.
“When it opened in 1959 it was much smaller than planned so we are looking at how we can increase it. There could be new build on great parts of unused space as it’s about space management.
“A lot of people want less open space because of the anti-social behaviour taking place but other people feel it should be preserved so it’s about getting the right balance.”
The council owns the shops at Newfield Green but ideally would like to sell them to a private company so they can be developed properly.
“It’s a big ask because of the current state of retail but I would argue that it’s a safer investment than opening shops in the city centre,” said Coun Steinke.
“Overall some good ideas have been suggested, even small things which can make a big difference such as having electronic power points for vehicles added into any new developments.”
David Rudlin, of urban design agency Urbed, attended the public meetings and says he was keen to hear from residents.
“What we did at the public meetings was the stuff we would normally do back at the office. Rather than come up with three options and ask what people thought, we wanted to discuss it in public and gets people’s opinions right from the start.
“We want to allow people to think about how they may want the estate to develop and whether some demolitions may be an option.
“A few people don’t want to change anything but they are in the minority. The maisonettes have been mentioned, particularly the one block of flats at Ironeside Close tower,s and we know that families want a garden and like traditional houses with a back garden.”
Mr Rudlin says the area still has a strong community. “A lot of people love living here, with the views and greenery in particular.
“People love the greenery but it is a source of problems, such as kids on motorbikes and antisocial behaviour in the woods.
“In the past there used to be wardens and kids clubs and there was always someone responsible there. The open space is unsupervised and part of the discussion is how we create sufficient activities to get over the antisocial behaviour.”