Boom in city centre housing development 'can protect Sheffield's rural areas'

Grand Central, off Chatham Street in Neepsend, a project from Coda Planning and Knight Knox
Grand Central, off Chatham Street in Neepsend, a project from Coda Planning and Knight Knox
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Ongoing investment in city centre living gives more protection to rural areas, according to developers working in Sheffield.

The city council’s planning committee has dealt with large-scale residential projects on an almost monthly basis over the past two years.

Dun Works in Kelham Island.

Dun Works in Kelham Island.

Some of the developments are aimed at the city’s 50,000-plus students, offering cinemas and games rooms alongside a bed and a bathroom.

Others are private rented flats and studios aimed at young professionals who want to live close to their workplace – either new-build or office conversions.

The housing crisis facing Sheffield – and the UK as a whole – is no secret. But by building in the city centre, developers say they can reduce the number of greenfield sites that are turned into estates.

“There is an acute shortage of housing across the Sheffield and this has been persistent over many years,” said Adam Murray, director of Coda Planning.

The second phase of Southern Grove's Hollis Croft development.

The second phase of Southern Grove's Hollis Croft development.

Coda has been involved in a number of residential schemes over the past few years, and is waiting for a decision on Grand Central – a a development of 131 apartments in Chatham Street/Mowbray Street, Neepsend.

“We need to see a level of house building that can provide for this huge requirement, and this is going to involve brownfield and greenfield sites – even sustainable sites to be taken out of the green belt.

“However, the delivery of high-density housing in the city centre reduces the need to deliver as many of these greenfield sites.”

Converting ‘poor’ offices into flats has improved the urban environment, said Mr Murray, leading to increased interest and investment.

He added: "Delivering housing in the city centre creates urban communities, which are sustainably-located - they reduce the need to travel by private car and keep people healthier by walking to work or to the local amenities more.

"This kind of development also helps the vitality and viability of the city centre by creating an 'on-site' customer base for all services and amenities there. This can only improve the city centre offer for shops, restaurants and the like."

Southern Grove’s Hollis Croft student flat project is among the latest applications to be submitted. For phase two the developer wants to add 66 flats and two townhouses to the 246 flats already approved.

And in Kelham Island, work on South Yorkshire Housing Association’s 225-home Dun Works is well under way.

Business development director Miranda Plowden said: “We’re in the middle of a housing crisis, and rents in the private sector are going through the roof. That’s why this development is such an important step for Sheffield.

“We’ll be offering flats that suit a range of incomes, and it’ll mean that people won’t have to rule out a desirable area like Kelham Island. Dun Works will give people a chance to live in the heart of the area, and live the true Kelham lifestyle.”