More non-student homes needed in Sheffield city centre, says developer

Adam Higgins and Tim Heatley, co-founders of Capital&Centric, outside the former Eye Witness works
Adam Higgins and Tim Heatley, co-founders of Capital&Centric, outside the former Eye Witness works

More non-student homes should be built in Sheffield city centre, a major developer has claimed.

Capital&Centric is drawing up plans to convert a Grade II-listed former cutlery works near The Moor into nearly 100 homes.

How the 21m Cutler's Village development at the old Eye Witness works in Sheffield city centre would look (pic: Capital&Centric)

How the 21m Cutler's Village development at the old Eye Witness works in Sheffield city centre would look (pic: Capital&Centric)

Its co-founder Adam Higgins believes there are opportunities to build many more homes in the city centre, helping to ‘breathe new life’ into other lesser-visited parts of town.

READ MORE: First look at £21m Cutler’s Village apartments plan in Sheffield city centre

A raft of student apartment blocks have gone up in the city centre in recent years, but he told a development conference he believes the potential for other housing is relatively untapped.

His firm has taken on several big redevelopment projects in Manchester city centre but its planned £21 million conversion of the Eye Witness and Ceylon works, including a café/bar on Thomas Street, is its first foray into Sheffield.

Speaking at the Built Environment Networking event at Sheffield’s Cutlers’ Hall on Wednesday, he said: “What attracted us to Sheffield is the fact that, at least in my perception, there’s not a lot of city centre living…

READ MORE: Heart of the City II – plans submitted for another block of £500m Sheffield development

“There’s been a lot of student development in the city centre but not a lot of non-student development.

“In Manchester there are a lot of non-student developments going up but we like the idea of coming into a city where we feel there are a good few years of growth to develop.”

Capital&Centric submitted plans in November to create 97 homes at the former cutlery works on Milton Street, and a decision is pending.

READ MORE: Sheffield Council takes on new housing development in well-known estate

Mr Higgins told attendees at Wednesday’s conference how he hopes to keep many of the existing features at the Eyewitness site, including large steel presses, fireplaces and safes, while converting the premises into loft-style apartments and town houses.

He described it as a ‘fabulous’ building in a ‘forgotten area’ of the city centre, where he said people only tend to venture at present if they have a particular reason to do so.

The new development in Sheffield would become part of a thriving new Cutlery Quarter, it is envisaged.

Mr Higgins said his approach to development wasn’t just about ‘bricks and mortar’ but creating a 'sense of place’, with the company having organised events from art battles to DJ sets at its sites in Manchester.

Capital&Centric made national headlines two years ago by banning investors from snapping up flats at a factory conversion in Manchester and selling only to owner-occupiers.

Speaking on Wednesday, he explained how the company did this because, having personally curated every square foot of the new homes, its

owners could not bear the thought of overseas investors buying them and leaving them empty.

He said he would love to do the same with all its developments, including the one in Sheffield, but finances meant this was not always possible.

Wednesday’s conference was an opportunity for those in the trade to hear about the development opportunities across Sheffield and South Yorkshire, and to make new contacts.