Heritage buildings overlook the brewery courtyard. Credit: planning documents

Capital&Centric fleshes out Sheffield vision

Following consultation this spring, detail has been added to the plans for a 550-home scheme at the Cannon Brewery site, with the tallest new building proposed at 18 storeys.

The developer, which is also responsible for the redevelopment of Eyewitness Works in the city along with a host of North West projects, announced the submission of plans in June, after public exhibitions had been held.

Those plans, now validated on the Sheffield planning portal, show that the developer and its architect shedkm are moving forward with the intention of retaining and converting the brew house to 20,000 sq ft of workspace and overhauling the site’s water tower, a slender, three-storey brick block dating to around 1900, for residential and community uses.

Potentially, C&C could also retain the existing grain warehouse for residential use, seeking to add a two-storey penthouse.

The plans included in the hybrid application also cover seven new buildings, ranging between five and 18 storeys – it is stressed with shedkm’s design and access statement that this is to be seen as the maximum height envisaged.

These plans should by no means be seen as final, said Richard Spackman, development director at the firm:

“The Cannon Brewery district will be a considered city extension as Sheffield grows. We’re super-conscious that we’ve a real responsibility to get the design right and deliver something that transforms this whole quarter of the city, so we’ll be doing loads more design work on the detailed application for the site in consultation with locals and the council.”

The historic buildings proposed for retention are all within the first of two sites that make up the overall masterplan site.

This main brewery site is a triangular block bounded by Rutland Road, Boyland Street and Neepsend Lane, with a courtyard at the centre. The second site, to the north of Boyland Street, is also triangular, and will house the tallest of the proposed new buildings. The pair of sites are similar in size, at around two acres each.

Spackman said: “The former Cannon Brewery site is a brilliant opportunity to create a standout community for Sheffield. The site is a bit of sprawling wasteland at the moment and the current layout of the existing buildings doesn’t make best use of the land, but it has bags of potential.

“The big drivers for us in terms of the design have been not only ensuring we come up with something that’s viable and delivers over 500 high quality homes for the city, but fosters a sense of community without displacing any existing businesses.

“Our approach is all about bringing more people to live in the area, in turn supporting new and existing businesses. The initial plans do that whilst also keeping a decent amount of ground level space free so we can deliver gardens and public squares where people can come together.”

The taller buildings are planned for the site’s eastern gateway. Credit: planning documents

Brew House

As mapped out in shedkm’s design & access statement, the Brew House occupies a prominent corner at the junction of Neepsend Lane and Boyland Street and as such forms an important gateway into the scheme, as well as being a key marker building, already recognised as such.

The Brew House was purpose-designed for brewer Stones and when it started operating in 1962 was one of the most technologically advanced in the UK. It housed a pub in the ground floor and basement, originally called The Underground and later renamed the Pig and Whistle. The Brew House was a bespoke design to showcase the brewing process and features a complex series of double and triple height voids in floorplates, due to it previously housing vats, tanks and casks.

Grain Warehouse

Shedkm describes the warehouse as “for the most part a blank brick box, but with a distinctive glazed staircase and expressed structural frame which lend the building a strong sense of rhythm, giving this functional building some architectural quality” – although the architect said this has been compromised by the incorporation of the older facade on Rutland Road and by some later alterations.

Will it be part of the future? Shedkm said that “the double height volume and the close spacing of the column grid do make the Grain Warehouse challenging to re-purpose. The upgrading of the thermal performance of the building envelope would also require major alternations to the fabric”.

However, the architect continued: “We think there is merit in retaining the Grain Warehouse if a new use can be made to work. Further investigation is required at the detailed design stage to explore opportunities to re-purpose the building.”

Public spaces

The brewery courtyard in the main site is to become a landscaped garden, with a more active mews street to one side. On the second, denser site, an urban public square is the aim. Shekm said that “more secluded green streets will loop around the site, animated by street trees, rain gardens and pocket parks”. Commercial uses are placed on the ground floor around the more public areas to provide activation of these spaces.

Spackman said that C&C is keen to ensure the development does not stand alone, but instead plays a role in the development of the area, echoing shedkm’s view that Cannon Brewery should be “a neighbourhood that stitches itself into the existing fabric of Neepsend”.

He said: “We want to capture the general spirit of Neepsend, so we’re planning to keep as many of the existing buildings as we can, which will depend on their suitability from both a layout and structural perspective. They’ll be juxtaposed with new buildings that have a contemporary feel but very much complement the rustic, industrial past of the surrounding neighbourhood.”

The professional team also includes Curtins, Urbana, Axis and Watt Energy.

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