Here's everything you need to know about Yorkshire's tallest tower which will be built in Sheffield city centre

This will be Yorkshire’s tallest tower – and the 38 storey building is right in the heart of Sheffield.

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 4:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th January 2020, 11:35 am

The tower is 117m high - that’s 5m taller than its nearest rival, Broadwater Place in Leeds.

It will have more than 1,200 rooms and will become a landmark on the skyline from its base at Rockingham Street.

The £100m scheme will also include a 17 storey block on Wellington Street and a 12 storey block on Trafalgar Street.

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Yorkshire's tallest tower is set to be built on Rockingham Street in Sheffield city centre
Yorkshire's tallest tower is set to be built on Rockingham Street in Sheffield city centre

There will be 1,065 studios, 140 one bed flats and 25 two bed flats in ‘co-living’ accommodation, a relatively new concept where residents have a smaller than average private living space but large communal areas.

Will it be iconic?

Councillors on the planning board were at odds over the design of it. Coun Chris Rosling-Josephs said: “We have said for a long time we should have an iconic building.

“This is a start and we are looking to have something that’s iconic. If we don’t build tall buildings, we will be building on the green belt. I have never had a problem with high rise buildings, they are all over the world, but we seem to have an aversion to them here.”

Coun Peter Price said it was a first for Sheffield. “Most major cities in the world are going down this route to protect our green areas.

“Building up is the way to go. Developers and investors are prepared to put their money where their mouths are. It will be iconic and will look good.”

But Coun Roger Davison said: “It’s not St Paul’s Cathedral. This is not iconic, it is a utility building for people to live in.”

Small living spaces

Councillors had concerns about the small size of the units - the studios will only be 18sqm.

There’s some trade-off between the small units and the large amount of shared space which would include a gym, common room, cinema room, cafe, study rooms and dining rooms.

The studios would be an affordable price with all-inclusive rents typically less than similar schemes.

But Coun Bob McCann said the accommodation wasn’t suitable. “You are cramming people cheek to jowl and it becomes unsustainable as people don’t like to live there. We need to look at the size of this accommodation.”

Coun Peter Garbutt agreed: “I am very concerned that we need to maintain good standards of living and something about 4.5m by 4.5m is not adequate living space.”

And Coun Jack Clarkson added: “The units do seem very small and people are going to be like sardines.”

Planning officers said there were already developments in the city with units as small as this and the rooms could be amended to make them bigger in future.

Coun Tony Damms reminded colleagues that the development was aimed at students, graduates and young professionals.

“We are making the assumption people are going to live there permanently but it will be ideal for people on short term contracts.

“This building has merit and we will see if developers made a mistake with smaller flats but they have been successful in Leeds and Birmingham for people to rent for a short period.”

Planning officer Lucy Bond said there was a “trade off” and by having high density buildings in the city centre, it meant the green belt could be protected.

Concerns over cladding

Several councillors were concerned over cladding and fire safety.

Coun Jayne Dunn said: “What can we do to ensure the cladding is fit for purpose? What checks do we have if these properties are sold on? The needs of the city change so how do we make sure it stays an iconic building of the future?”

Coun Jack Clarkson added: “I’m concerned about the height with 1,230 people inside and I’m fearful for people’s safety. Do the fire service have any equipment that can reach the top of these buildings?”

Officers said cladding wasn’t a consideration for the planning board and comes under the building control department but all new buildings over 18m high must have a sprinkler system fitted as standard as well as the materials being non-combustible.

Officer Lucy Bond said: “Fire safety is really important and we appreciate where you are coming but it’s not a consideration for this committee.”

She added that renting the apartments was part of the legal agreement and they could not be sold on to private occupiers.

Will it create a wind tunnel?

The new tower will be 5m higher than the Bridgewater Tower in Leeds and a wind tunnel effect there has been blamed for one death and 25 incidents.

Coun Andrew Sanger said: “This raises the question about safety with the wind speed. We don’t want to make the same mistakes that Leeds Council made with Bridgewater Place.”

There are five different criteria used to assess wind speed and officers said this tower wouldn’t create problems.

Officer Lucy Bond said: “This is not an uncomfortable walking situation. The worst area is next to the open car park but even there it would allow for fast walking.

“There may be occasions where wind is particularly noisy but we can’t account for every scenario and there will be internal noise conditions.”

Developers Code are aiming to start work in summer. Jamie Lewis of Code said after the meeting: “We’re delighted to have been given the green light to deliver this hugely ambitious project.

“We’re excited about Sheffield and its regeneration. The council is doing a great job in transforming the area around our development site with Heart of the City II and this was a key factor in giving us the confidence to invest at this scale.

“Our development will replace a car repair yard and vacant office building with a keynote development that brings hundreds of people into the area to support local shops, cafes and restaurants.“