New apartments approved despite fears they will create problems at church

Councillors gave a mixed reaction to the Nursery Street development
Councillors gave a mixed reaction to the Nursery Street development

Developers can build almost 270 new apartments in Sheffield city centre despite concerns that parishioners at a nearby church will be affected.

The planning board was divided on plans to build 268 residential units on the site at the junction of Nursery Street and Johnson Lane.

Sheffield Testing Laboratories and an open air car park will be bulldozed to make way for the homes.

There were concerns that two 12 storey blocks would be too high, there would be a lack of parking and it would impact on worshippers at the nearby New Testament Church of God.

The grade II listed stone church was built in 1948 by William Flockton in a Gothic Revival style. Beyond the church is the grade II listed Aizlewoods Mill, a former corn mill which is now offices and industrial units.

Catherine Beatty, general manager at Aizlewoods Mill, told Sheffield Council’s planning meeting: “I believe more objections would have been received if local businesses had received better notification, rather than signs on lamposts. We feel there’s been no community involvement at all.

“The area is unsightly and is in a dire need of improvement and the erection of a mixed use development with affordable housing would be a favourable concept and is welcomed.

“But the scale of the development gives us concern as 12 storeys is far too great to complement or enhance the urban skyline. Worshipers at the church will leave the front door to be faced with a bin store and plant room.

“Also of importance is the removal of 25 parking spaces in a pay and display car park and a number of roadside parking bays. The church has frequent and well attended week day funerals and the local roads are frequently overrun by vehicles used by mourners.

“Adding a further 268 homes requires far more than the 43 parking spaces provided for. Displaced local residents and workers will also require provision if this car park is removed. There is simply not enough parking for vehicles currently using the area without removing further spaces.”

Councillors had mixed views on the plans.

Coun Robert Murphy said: “It’s clearly out of character with the area. It’s right next to a conservation area and next to a listed building and I’m concerned about the removal of a cycle route.

“If we have a funeral at the church, a delivery, extra cyclists and people looking for parking spaces it’s a recipe for congestion.”

The majority of the board agreed to the scheme.

Coun Peter Price said: “The site is a derelict mess and something has to be built there. This responds positively to the riverside area. The Town Hall is a grade 1 listed building but we still built a high rise block across from the Peace Gardens and it fits in well.

“We have a massive dilemma because we have 20,000 residents to provide for in this city centre and if we don’t start building there and start building higher, we will have to go into the Green Belt.”