Sheffield Hallam on course for two major projects

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SHEFFIELD Hallam University’s multi-million-pound redevelopment strategy is set for a major boost next week with the green light for two big projects.

Council permission is expected on Monday for a new ‘heart’ for the Collegiate campus and for housing on the old Psalter Lane campus.

Seven-storey Marshall Hall, which was built in the sixties, is scheduled for demolition to make way for new buildings of between one and three storeys around a central atrium on the Collegiate campus, off Ecclesall Road.

New teaching and social facilities, including a 220-seat lecture theatre, will mainly be used by students and staff from the university’s Faculties of Development and Society and Health and Wellbeing. They are due to be ready in 2014.

Council planners say the project “will significantly enhance the appearance of Broomhall Conservation Area. The removal of the seven storey Marshall Hall block is, in itself a significant visual benefit. The proposed building is of a high-quality contemporary design.”

A report to councillors adds: “The development will also enable SHU to vacate older buildings at the northern part of the campus which will be subsequently be released to generate funding for their ongoing investment in the city.”

Local reaction includes a comment from the charity, the Broomgrove Trust, which runs a nearby nursing home. It says it has no problem with the upgrading of the campus, but raises concerns about the loss of 18 car parking spaces, which it says will put an even greater strain on the roads. Planners believe the council’s and Hallam’s permit parking scheme “will ensure there is no impact”.

Meanwhile, an application for 40 houses and 22 apartments off Psalter Lane is also in line for council approval.

Outline permission for housing was granted 11 years ago but Hallam’s ambitions have been thwarted latterly by the economic downturn. Now it has teamed up with Bellway Homes with a view to converting the Edwardian Bluecoats School into 14 apartments and to building 40 houses and eight apartments on the rest of the site, which has already been cleared.

Eight comments from nearby residents include one welcoming the removal of “a longstanding eyesore” but others express fears over extra traffic on Brincliffe Gardens and the difficulties in crossing Psalter Lane.

Planners praise “a good quality scheme of traditional design” and the “sensitive” conversion of the old school.

One of the conditions likely to be attached to the expected approval is the payment of £1m towards ‘affordable housing’ elsewhere in Sheffield.

The figure is “significantly below” the normal contribution in such circumstances, but it is required so that Hallam can press ahead with a deal to release the land for development.

“The university needs a significant capital receipt in order to bring forward the next stage of development of their city centre campus,” say planners. “Such development will have significant benefits for the city economy, and these benefits are sufficient to justify the lower contribution for affordable housing.”