First look at plans for more than 360 new homes in Sheffield city centre

The site of a former Sheffield tool factory, known as Kangaroo Works, could spring back into life as a huge new apartment block.

By Robert Cumber
Friday, 31 May, 2019, 12:27

The vacant plot near Devonshire Green, which is currently used as a car park, would be transformed into a £50 million housing complex with 364 apartments.

Plans to transform the 1.4-acre site on the corner of Rockingham Street and Wellington Street were this week submitted to Sheffield Council, and work could begin by the end of the year should they get the green light.

The proposed development is part of the Heart of the City II masterplan to transform the city centre with a mixture of shops, restaurants, offices, apartments and four and five-star hotels.

The new homes at Kangaroo Works, named in homage to the long-since-demolished factory which occupied the site, would be for private rental.

The developers Angelo Gordon and Ridgeback Group say the one-to-three-bedroom apartments would be aimed not at students but at residents keen to set down roots in the city centre.

How the proposed Kangaroo Works housing development in Sheffield city centre would look (pic: Whittam Cox Architects)

Michael Crooks, of the Sheffield-based builder Brantingham Homes, which has been appointed to manage the scheme, said: “Great progress has been made with Heart of the City II in recent years and we’re delighted to be submitting plans for this next block.

“Kangaroo Works is a key residential site within the scheme and will help support the forthcoming retail and leisure occupiers.

“Demand for this type of housing is very high. It offers great flexibility and appeals to a wide range of people who want to live in the city centre – close to shops, restaurants and cultural attractions.

An aerial view of how the proposed Kangaroo Works development in Sheffield city centre would look (pic: Whittam Cox Architects)

“We are seeking to create a permanent community of residents that will contribute to the future growth and vitality of the city centre.”

The site, which is labelled ‘Block F’ in the Heart of the City II masterplan, was sold by Sheffield Council earlier this year to Angelo Gordon – a major US-based global investment advisor – and Ridgeback Group.

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They have employed Brantingham Homes to manage the scheme, working alongside Chesterfield-based Whittam Cox Architects and building partner Henry Boot Construction.

A computer-generated image showing how a roof terrace at the proposed Kangaroo Works development in Sheffield city centre would look (pic: Whittam Cox Architects)

The proposed brick-fronted complex, opposite the Grade II-listed Aberdeen Works, would range in height from four to 15 storeys.

It would feature up to five commercial units on the ground floor, which the developers say would be ideally suited to cafés, restaurants or start-up businesses.

Given its city centre location, just four new car parking bays are planned, which the application states would be adopted by the council and potentially used for either a car club or electric vehicle charging.

The site was home to the specialist hand tool makers Robert Sorby and Sons from the late 19th century and became known as Kangaroo Works after one of the brand names used by the firm.

The land was first developed in the late 18th century, amid the rapid expansion of Sheffield’s steel industry, having previously been used for agriculture.

At the end of the 19th century, before the post-war slum clearances, it contained a mixture of cramped back-to-back houses, pubs, factories and smaller workshops.

An aerial view of the proposed Kangaroo Works site in Sheffield city centre as it looks now

Ian Lowson, director at Whittam Cox Architects, said: “We are pleased to see our plans progress and look forward to working closely with the team on this important asset for Sheffield city centre.

“Our design team comprises professionals who live and work in the Sheffield City Region, so have both a firm understanding of the urban context and a vested interest in delivering a scheme of exceptional quality.

“It will enhance the character of the area and create a bespoke, transformational scheme for Sheffield.”

George Bossom, of Ridgeback Group, added: “Sheffield is becoming one of the UK’s most dynamic cities.

“We believe this scheme will set a new benchmark for quality in the city centre, contributing to the creation of a new, vibrant commercial district.”

How the proposed Kangaroo Works housing development, on what is known as 'Block F', fits into the wider Heart of the City II masterplan to transform Sheffield city centre