Flats scheme revives the hope of Sheffield ‘masterplan’ development

editorial image
0
Have your say

Hundreds more apartments are on the way for students near Sheffield city centre in new plans which hope to kickstart work on a stalled ‘masterplan’ development.

Developers want to put up two interlinked blocks of flats catering for more than 300 students on Radford Street in Netherthorpe, the site of the old St Philips Social Club close to Sheffield University.

Agents Deloitte say the project will act as a ‘catalyst for development’ and want construction to start by summer at the latest.

Almost five years ago outline permission was granted for a big scheme off Netherthorpe Road called Westgate, consisting of private and student accommodation, as well as offices. Initial proposals held out the prospect of 500 jobs and envisaged just 85 flats for students, with 125 private apartments aimed at ‘key workers’ such as teachers, police and medical staff. A third building would have offered 11,500 sq metres of offices.

But Deloitte, on behalf of developers Marcus Worthington Properties and Panacea, say the recession - ‘longer and deeper than predicted’ - meant the scheme had ‘simply been unviable’ until recently.

Discussions have now started with the current landowners to acquire not only the site for the proposed new flats, but also the rest of the land earmarked for Westgate.

“The Radford Street student residential scheme will act as a catalyst for the wider redevelopment of the area,” a planning statement to the council says.

“The opportunity is time sensitive, with a need to develop the site to meet the commencement of the 2016/17 academic year.

“To do so, construction would need to commence by early summer 2015 at the latest.”

The applicants ‘would not be able to commit to buying the remainder of the site’ without student flats going ahead as the first phase, the statement adds.

In total, the two proposed blocks would house 305 bed spaces within 192 units, along with other facilities such as a gym and games room. There would be 141 studio flats, 23 cluster apartments, 10 ‘premium studios’, six three-bed flats and 12 ‘twodio’ apartments.

The interlinked blocks are aligned with the hillside along Netherthorpe Road, ‘generating pockets of green space’ which ‘improve the streetscape’.

Deloitte says there continues to be strong demand for more private student accommodation in Sheffield.

“As a result, there is significant pressure on communities such as Broomhill and Crookes, with many traditional properties better suited as family housing currently converted into multi-occupancy student houses.

“This application represents an opportunity to bring the site back into full use with an attractive, modern building that meets the needs of neighbouring communities and Sheffield’s students.”

Meanwhile, under separate plans, permission is being sought to demolish Minalloy House, the former Sheffield University journalism department, on Regent Street in the city centre, and put up an eight-storey building with 85 apartments.

Developers Hostombe Group have not yet disclosed whether the flats - 80 studio apartments, and five one and two bed apartments - will be marketed as student accommodation. However, the site is next door to a 10-storey block of student apartments, and is close to the university’s huge new Diamond engineering building.

Planning officers will assess each scheme before preparing reports ahead of any final decision.