Office complex built to spark Manvers regeneration will now be converted to housing

An office building constructed as part of the transformation of the Dearne Valley in the late 1980s is to be converted into a complex of apartments after standing vacant for the last decade.

Thursday, 4th April 2019, 3:58 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th June 2019, 3:17 pm

Humphrey Davy House in Golden Smithies Lane at Manvers went up when the area was an Enterprise Zone, but appears never to have been used for its indented purpose as offices.

Instead, it was occupied by Sheffield University and was a midwifery college before being vacated and put on the market around ten years ago.

No buyers emerged and members of Rotherham Council’s planning board, who approved a change of use for the building, were told the structure was now beginning to fall into disrepair.

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A company called The Lettings Room has now been granted planning permission to convert the building, and put up an extension, to accommodate 109 apartments.

Because the building was out of use, it qualifies for a ‘credit’ under planning rules, meaning there is no obligation on the developer to provide affordable housing as part of the scheme.

They must do so for the new space in the extension, however, handing over £120,000 to be spent elsewhere.

The meeting was told housing associations, which would take on responsibility for the affordable homes, are reluctant to accept individual apartments, preferring schemes where they are responsible for an entire building.

The conversion project only needed to go before planners because of a quirk in regulations, because a change of use from offices to homes no longer needs approval.

However, because there is no evidence the building was ever used for offices, formal permission had to be sought.

Councillors concluded the scheme was a valid use for a building not needed for its intended purpose.