The tower is one storey taller than a previously approved building. Credit: planning documents

Oppidan tower poised for Sheffield approval

Plans for a 40-storey co-living project at Castle Square are recommended for approval, a development that would bring close to 450 studio apartments to the city centre.

CJS7, trading as Oppidan Life, is the co-applicant with SFGE Properties for a proposal billed as Kings Tower.

Oppidan is a business led by Colin Shenton, an experienced and well known Manchester-based property industry operator.

The plans for Sheffield involve the demolition of the corner retail space at 51-57 High Street, formerly occupied by Primark, and its replacement with a 40-storey tower.

The project also includes the redevelopment of the basement, ground and first floor of 59-73 High Street, a building that is half-occupied by easyhotel.

Hodder+ Partners is the architect for the project, with Savills engaged as planning consultant.

Clancy Consulting, Watt Energy, Weddle, BB7, RWDI, LTP, Stephen Levrant Heritage, ADT and ARS are also on the professional team, along with Avison Young’s right of light team. Ambiente provides visual support and St Francis Group is the demolition consultant.

The site is bound by High Street, King’s Street and Angel Street. As mapped out in the planning officers’ report there will be 428 units in the tower itself: one four-bedroom cluster, 37 five-bed clusters, 37 six-bed clusters, one seven-bed cluster and one 10-bed cluster.

On top of this, the 59-73 High Street space will house commercial and communal space, along with 20 studios. A residents’ gym is earmarked for part of this space.

Working with Crowley, SFGE had secured consent for a 39-storey tower at the site in 2020, which was to feature 206 apartments, permission having now lapsed. This tower was also Hodder-designed, and visually was broadly similar to that in the fresh application. The key difference is the change to co-living, the model where space is created by residents using shared facilities.

Oppidan chief executive Shenton told Place Yorkshire: “The Kings Tower proposal is the result of two years of collaboration with Sheffield City Council which have produced the highest quality co-living scheme in the country, a landmark 41 storey building for Sheffield bringing £85m of investment to the city.”

Shenton added: “More than a third of the building’s floor area comprises shared spaces for residents and the rest is large studio apartments
for those who require privacy and social interaction in equal measure.” In addition, Shenton Group owns the buildings on both sides of King Street and two further phases will follow along with the reinvigoration of the pedestrianised King Street itself, he said.

Hodder + Partners is the architect. Credit: planning documents

Hodder is well versed in tall building projects, with a project roster including the much-anticipated St Michael’s in Manchester, designed for Gary Neville’s Relentless group in partnership with Salboy.

Sheffield’s officers recommend approval on condition of legal agreements being completed. There have only been a handful of objections, although Cllr Ruth Mersereau has objected on behalf of city ward councillors, and Sheffield Conservation Advisory Group has registered concerns over scale.

Partly addressing the councillors’ concerns, officers stress that the proposal is not for student accommodation, but would address a more acute area of need in the city, that of accommodation options for young professionals.

Sheffield cannot currently demonstrate a five-year housing supply, meaning that the “tilted balance” in favour of approval should apply.

Summing up, officers said: The proposal accords with the aims of the City Centre Strategic Vision, which demonstrates that a high density, residential-led, mixed use development is appropriate and the area is ideally situated for a major landmark proposal to act as a catalyst to regeneration, especially given its public transport links and gateway location.”

Committee will consider the project on 9 January. The plans can be viewed on Sheffield’s planning portal at 22/02691/FUL.

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