High expectations for £70m Sheffield flats plan

A £70 million development of flats, cafés and shops with space for nearly 800 students on the edge of the city centre has taken a big step forward.

Thursday, 2nd June 2016, 2:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd June 2016, 2:18 pm
An artist's impression of the proposed flats on Moore Street and Fitzwilliam Street

Proposals are being drawn up to knock down the Stokes Tiles showroom, on Moore Street, as well as other surrounding buildings, and put up four blocks of student flats up to 15 storeys high.

The 244,560 sq ft scheme would cater for 789 students, offering a mix of five to eight-bedroom cluster apartments, studio flats, and four commercial units on the ground floor.

Sheffield Council has now agreed to sell its freehold interests in land at Moore Street, Fitzwilliam Street and Thomas Street, to the developer, Litton Buccleuch, to ensure the project goes ahead. The conditional deal is subject to Litton Buccleuch obtaining planning permission and entering into a building contract.

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The council has already indicated it will support the scheme’s proposed scale, height and use during initial meetings.

The developer has also negotiated terms to acquire the Stokes Tiles site.

The flats would be aimed at students from both city universities, but Sheffield Hallam University has said it is willing to reach a more formal arrangement to promote the property as part of its accommodation portfolios.

The site is a short walk from Hallam’s City and Collegiate campuses.

There are around 59,400 full-time students in Sheffield, with an estimated 18,300 bed spaces on offer - ‘a clear under-supply’, a brochure issued for potential investors says.

Richard Squire, development director at Litton Property Group, which has entered into a partnership with Buccleuch Property to deliver the scheme, said there was more demand for students to live in the city centre, rather than houses in the suburbs.

“We think that over the medium to long-term there will be fewer students living in Walkley, Broomhill, Crookes, and those sort of areas,” he said. “We need more students spending money in shops and cafes. It adds to the vibrancy of the city centre.”

A deal with a major overseas funding partner was close to being agreed, Mr Squires added.

“We’ve been working on it for quite a long time,” he said.

One of the blocks, 10 storeys high and comprised exclusively of studio flats, could be let as private accommodation, rather than for students, according to the plans.

Stokes Tiles has largely vacated its premises, and intends to invest in extending its distribution centre on the Holbrook Industrial Estate, off Rother Valley Way.

A completion date has been pencilled in for August 2018.

More student flats on the way

Plans to convert the empty Crown House office building on West Bar into an eight-storey student accommodation block are recommended for approval at a council meeting on Tuesday.

The offices, built in 2007 but never occupied, would be turned into 355 apartments by the start of the 2017-18 academic year.

A shop would be created on the ground floor.

A planning report to councillors said: “The redevelopment of the site, incorporating and enhancing the existing building, is welcomed.

“Since 2007, the site has had the appearance of an empty, stalled and unfinished project, which in turn has detracted from the appearance of this prominent location.”