Property for sale Sheffield: New Rockingham House studios on West Street will be 'very pokey' says councillor

A Sheffield councillor has criticised plans to convert a city centre building into ‘very pokey flats’.

By Lucy Ashton, Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 26th November 2021, 9:44 am
Updated Friday, 26th November 2021, 1:24 pm

Rockingham House on West Street could be transformed into 162 studios but City ward councillor Ruth Mersereau is concerned they will be too small to live in comfortably.

Developers The James strongly disagrees and says the scheme will offer a desperately needed housing solution.

Coun Mersereau said: “These are mainly very pokey flats. The studios are exceptionally small – 50 studios measure 20-22 sqm and 56 studios measure 23-24 sqm.

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Developers The James say converting Rockingham House on West Street into studio apartments will offer a desperately needed housing solution (image Bond Bryan)

“Government standards say that a one person dwelling should be a minimum of 37 sqm.

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“The developers said they didn’t want to build student accommodation as they ‘are not comfortable with the small size of the units and it is not in line with their premium brand’.

“The development seems to be cramming as many units as possible into Rockingham House to maximise profits and minimise space standards.”

City ward councillor Ruth Mersereau fears studio apartments planned for Rockingham House on West Street will be too small

‘Studio apartments a success in other cities’

The James said this model of studio apartments had been popular for some years.

A spokesman said: Often, the only option for young professionals is to find house shares with strangers, with no guarantee of the standard of accommodation or even their privacy or safety.

“Often, these forms of accommodation are in unknown neighbourhoods far from the city centre.

“For many, the opportunity to be able to afford to move to somewhere of their own, of the quality that is being offered through this proposal, is something which is sorely lacking across the city.”

The James said shared communal spaces included a lounge area, study and a gym along with a bike store for 64 cycles so residents could ‘forge a community on their terms’.

They added: “This model has been tried and tested to great success in Liverpool with a further scheme currently being built in Manchester.

“Increasing interest levels in Sheffield should be seen as a sign of recognition for how much the city has to offer.

“We strongly disagree that the studios are ‘exceptionally small’ and would point towards the permission which exists on the building for a student conversion proposing more and much smaller units.”

Planners are considering the application.