Sheffield’s skyline is set to have a new 21-storey tower of flats at a key gateway if major plans get the green light next week.
Planners say the New Era development near St Mary’s Gate roundabout – to be built with Chinese investment – has ‘significant’ benefits.
The tower, with bedrooms for 695 students, will overlook a central public plaza with shops and cafes that could also be used for entertainment.
There will also be 14 private apartments, space for businesses and office while an existing cash and carry supermarket will be enlarged.
A report to Sheffield Council next Tuesday say it will transform ‘unattractive’ and partly vacant land between St Mary’s Road and Bramall Lane.
It adds: “The scheme represents substantial investment that will provide a multi-cultural social hub and Chinese business incubator with the potential for significant inward investment and business development.
“The development will provide a new urban destination for the benefit of the wider community including a new public square, and enhancement of the pedestrian and cycle infrastructure at St Mary’s roundabout.”
The plan aims to build on the cosmopolitan London Road area while catering for students coming to study in Sheffield from China, Malaysia and Singapore.
It is recommended for approval subject to conditions and a legal agreement requiring it is completed within an agreed timescale.
An objection from existing electroplating firm Lathco Ltd, which occupies a building on the site, said the business would be forced to relocate and disruption ‘would prejudice the business and put at risk 19 full-time jobs’.
It points out the land is in a fringe industry and business area in the council’s own plans.
English Heritage has also said the 21-storey element will ‘intrude’ on nearby St Mary’s Church and planners should weigh up the benefits against harm. But planners say the development is considered to be ‘acceptable’.