Appeal battle looms over £35m scheme in Sheffield

How the development would look
How the development would look
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A planning appeal battle is looming after Sheffield Council’s decision to refuse permission for a £35 million scheme of flats, student accommodation and shops on Ecclesall Road.

Councillors rejected the application to redevelop a former car dealership between Summerfield Street and Pear Street at a Town Hall meeting this week. The project was set to feature four blocks – one 12 storeys high – offering over 2,000 sq m of retail space, 130 residential apartments and accommodation for more than 200 students.

But planning committee members followed officers’ recommendation of refusal, turning it down by seven votes to five. Main concern was one of scale – the tallest block was deemed to be out of character with the surrounding area.

Dan Simpson, of developer Hallminster, said he was ‘extremely disappointed’ and that the firm could take its business to other Northern cities, such as Manchester and Leeds, instead.

“We believe the design of the development is top quality and appropriate for the location,” he said.

“It was described as imaginative and in keeping with its surroundings during the public consultation process.”

Mr Simpson added: “The committee’s decision has left us with no option but to appeal to the planning inspectorate in an attempt to ensure Sheffield does not miss out on a £35m project.

“We want to invest in Sheffield, but we fear we are being forced to turn to cities such as Manchester and Leeds, which are more receptive to developers.”

He claimed Hallminster was not given enough time to consider the officers’ objections ahead of their recommendation to the committee.

A council spokesman said the authority was not in a position to comment while the appeal process was under way.

Darren Southgate, of Sheffield-based Bond Bryan Architects, said: “This is the first time a development we have designed – and we work in cities such as London, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield – has been taken to appeal.”

Suggestions to scale back the 12-storey student accommodation element were rejected by the developers, as they said this would render the project unviable.

The committee also identified issues with the layout of some bedrooms.

The location of the windows meant the rooms would be left in darkness if future developments were built.

Meanwhile, officers said the development encroached on the car wash next door and could affect the prospect of one day redeveloping that site.

Once the appeal is lodged, a Government inspector will examine the council’s reasons for refusal before reaching a verdict.