New vision for key site in Sheffield gets go-ahead

Another big development of student flats has been given the go-ahead in Sheffield - this time a giant 21-storey tower offering space for more than 450 residents.

Thursday, 30th November 2017, 12:20 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th November 2017, 12:23 pm
An artist's impression of the approved 21-storey tower of student flats, showing how it will look from Furnival Square. Picture: Urban Innovations

The scheme, called The Gate, is to be built at Furnival Square, on empty land next to the Jury’s Inn hotel.

The site was once the home of Office World, and planning permission was granted a decade ago for business accommodation on the land, as well as the hotel - but the recession hit and the full project was not taken forward.

Then, last December, plans for a 21-storey block with space for 344 students, as well as 2,200 sq m of office space, were approved by Sheffield Council.

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But now an amended scheme by developer McAleer & Rushe has been given the green light. The offices have been dropped, creating space for more student flats. There will be 139 apartments in total - 78 studios and 61 clusters, ranging from four-bed to nine-bed units.

Either side of the main, 21-storey tower will be two smaller buildings 11 and 12 storeys high.

As well as the flats the development will contain a cinema, kitchen, common areas, a study room and a gym.

Granting approval, council officers said the developer claimed the offices were ‘not viable’, a view supported by a report from Jeremy Wilson of commercial property experts Knight Frank.

“They conclude office floorspace is likely to be difficult to let and to achieve rental values significantly below the level for new floorspace,” officers said. “Although not all the arguments are accepted, it is considered the applicant has presented a strong case as why an office student scheme would not be viable on this site.”

The flats would have a ‘high-quality, contemporary design’, officers added.

They noted The Gate would have a courtyard with ‘restricted dimensions’ that would affect students’ privacy and offer ‘poor levels of natural lighting’.

However, officers said: “The scheme will make a positive contribution to the skyline while the tower element will add to the stock of good quality tall buildings in the city. The scheme will regenerate a key gateway site.”

Officers said the flats would ‘reduce the pressure on family housing in residential areas.’

Earlier this month plans were approved for more than 130 new student flats on the corner of Chatham Street and Mowbray Street, on the edge of Kelham Island, while designs were submitted for a 15-storey student development at the Stokes Tiles site on Moore Street.