Developers defend overwhelmingly unpopular Sheffield office block plan

Developers behind controversial plans for a 10-storey office block in Sheffield say it would combat a ‘chronic’ shortage of space and refusing it could be ‘hugely detrimental to Sheffield’s economic growth’.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 9:53 am

Grantside bosses say ‘CN Tower’ on the corner of Charles Street and Norfolk Street would have room for 450 workers and without it potential occupiers may be forced to look elsewhere.

The firm spoke out after residents complained it would block natural light, destroy privacy and damage businesses. Some 127 people have objected on Sheffield City Council’s planning portal, with just one in support.

Grantside has applied to demolish two concrete office blocks from the 1960s and 70s and build a ‘10-storey, net zero carbon, Grade ‘A’ office’ with shops on the ground floor.

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The existing buildings.

Chief executive Steve Davis said: “According to Sheffield City Council there is a ‘chronic shortage’ of high-quality, Grade ‘A’ office space in the city centre. This is hugely detrimental to Sheffield’s future economic growth both in the short term and the long-term, as potential occupiers may be forced to look elsewhere.

“Sheffield, like everywhere, has been hard hit by the pandemic and you only need to look at the loss of some big anchor tenants like John Lewis and Debenhams, to see the impact of having little to no activity in the city centre.”

In a report to the council’s cabinet earlier this year, council officers confirmed only 17,000 sq ft of Grade ‘A’ office space was available at the time, whilst the typical average amount of space let in the city centre each year amounts to 118,000 sq ft, he added.

Objectors claim about 40 apartments in St Paul’s Chambers, Berona House and Waterhouse would lose light. They are supported by Coun Martin Phipps.

Image of the block behind the red stone St Paul's Parade. Pic by The Collective.

Others are concerned about damage to businesses.

One states: “Unity Yoga is a very popular yoga studio, in which the owners have worked extremely hard to create a fantastic, widely loved studio with a great community...it would be a real loss to see them go.”

Another states: “Even in 2019, the Sheffield Our City Our Future report recommended there was more than sufficient space, and this was before changes in work patterns as a result of COVID.”

Planning officers are still considering the application.

The CN Tower from Norfolk Street (image: Grantside).

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The CN Tower from Charles Street. (image: Grantside)

Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.