Fresh plans have been drawn up to turn a well-known Sheffield car dealership into offices, commercial units and houses – eight years after similar proposals were given the go-ahead.
The former Gilder's showroom at Banner Cross off Ecclesall Road South has largely stood empty since the motor firm relocated to Meadowhead a decade ago.
But last year the site, which covers more than two acres, was purchased by city developer Primesite UK – and now the company is preparing to submit a planning application.
The existing showroom would become four retail or leisure units, accountants Brown McLeod have signed a lease for 9,000 sq ft of offices in the old workshop and eight townhouses are to be built at the back of the disused building.
Brown McLeod specialises in handling the finances of clients in the entertainment and arts industries like Jarvis Cocker, Richard Hawley and Pete McKee, and hopes to hire 40 new staff at Banner Cross.
Meanwhile, ‘leading national occupiers’ have expressed interest in the site’s commercial space, Primesite says. This element of the scheme is expected to open next spring if the council gives the green light.
In 2009 an application to create a supermarket and 16 homes was refused after opposition from neighbours in Banner Cross, who objected mainly on traffic grounds.
Then, in 2010, councillors gave the go-ahead for the Volkswagen showroom to be converted into a restaurant or bar above a food shop. The workshops would have become apartments and at the rear, off Talmont Road, seven houses were planned. A working group was set up to look at traffic issues – bans on left turns from Ecclesall Road into Psalter Lane, and right turns into and out of the Gilder’s site, were suggested.
However, work did not start on the redevelopment, and Gilder’s carried on using the mothballed site as a space to store and valet cars.
The VW venture moved to Meadowhead in 2009, and much of the Gilder business was then bought by Bradford-based JCT600 in 2013. The Banner Cross showroom was not part of the deal and in 2016 the place was briefly re-stocked with used vehicles, but in 2017 owners Scott’s Developments sold its last three car franchises to Stoneacre.
Scott Hinchliffe, director of Primesite, said the new project would provide ‘much-needed housing and office space’, increasing the viability of nearby shops and creating jobs.
“The site has lain empty for far too long, it is time that it was brought back into use,” he said. “The proposal provides a perfect mix of acceptable uses.”
John Roddison, of Brown McLeod, said the business wanted to combine its three Sheffield offices into one single open-plan floor, allowing it to grow its workforce from 60 to 100. “We are heavily focused on music, film and the arts both locally and internationally, so the interior design of the building will reflect our passion for the entertainment industry,” he said.
Architects Cartwright Pickard, and consultants Coda Planning, are involved in the scheme as well as property agents Colloco and Crosthwaite Commercial.
Benjamin Dakin, of Coda, said: “Significant thought has gone into the design of the proposals to ensure that it not only respects the character of the area, but also enhances it.”
Primesite is also turning Botanical House, the former Wake Smith offices on Clarkehouse Road opposite the Botanical Gardens, into homes.