Eyewitness Works was Capital&Centrics's first step into Sheffield. Credit: via Font Comms

Sheffield looks to advance Devonshire Quarter

The council wants to sell a number of sites as it looks to build on the momentum of projects such as Capital&Centric’s Eyewitness Works and push for more city living.

A meeting of the city council’s transport, regeneration and climate policy committee on 12 June will be asked to sign off on officers’ work in looking to get sites ready for market.

The council is also playing a part in the proposed redevelopment of the grade two star-listed Beehive Works, which the owner is looking to make a mixed-use commercial hub.

As set out in a report for councillors, the Milton Street neighbourhood, as identified within the council’s city centre strategic vision, is emerging as a new residential area within the wider Devonshire Quarter, which in itself is a key component of Sheffield’s drive to increase city living.

Officers are proposing a land disposal strategy that will ensure a balanced mix of housing. Most of the unconsented, undeveloped land in the area is under council ownership, giving the city greater ability to steer things.

As the report outlines, student accommodation had been the dominant player in recent development, a situation that has changed with the adoption of the Sheffield Plan, and other areas opening up for PBSA. Instead, BTR has risen here, with Moda’s proposed 410-home Hanover Way development following Eyewitness Works – Sky-House’s DQ scheme may also be switched to BTR, according to the report.

Potential disposals

The council owns two key allocated housing sites, at Fitzwilliam Street and Milton Street. Development at the latter is likely to be limited to four storeys, given the proximity of the listed Eyewitness Works.

The Milton Street car park was acquired by SCC in 2019. Officers note that the height restrictions create an opportunity for “exemplar city centre family housing on a more familiar domestic scale” sucgh as townhouses or maisonettes. The locale is described as family-friendly, with open space at Devonshire Green and Gell Street playground, with a primary school nearby.

Officers propose the site’s being taken forward as family housing, potentially to be disposed of to a housing association with an affordable homes remit attached.

At Hodgson Street, an earlier scheme had been started, with the site now made good following brownfield grant funding secured last year.

Options are relatively open: the height of a scheme could go to seven floors, while the next door site had a lapsed consent for 77 apartments. The sites could be developed together, but the neigthbouring site’s owner may go a different way. Another option is for this site to be marketed in harness with the Milton Street plot.

The 170 Fitzwilliam Street plot comprises vacant land at Thomas Street, Egerton Hall and the FW Wallace motor works – the council owns the site freehold, but the company holds a long lease. This site could accommodate development of 10 storeys, with 100 apartments on the table.

Beehive Works

Built as a cutlery factory in the 1850s, some of the complex is still in use, although the works are on the Heritage At Risk register.

The owner has approached the council and Historic England with plans to restore the entire building in a scheme that could include offices, F&B, retail, makers’ workshops and potentially museum/arts/venue space.

It is estimated that the overall cost will be £3.9m, and the funding gap currently stands at £2.6m – even with a heritage repair grant of £400,000, which is currently in the works, a significant shortfall. The grant would go towards safeguarding the future of the four-storey Egerton Street block, the most vulnerable part of the works.

Beehive Works; owner is at this point seeking strategic support from the council for the mixed-use scheme. The site is, however, allocated for housing, with 46 homes pencilled in.

Progress on schemes

An update is provided on 12 projects in the area, with C&C’s Eyewitness Works, and Sky-House’s DQ, where demolition is complete, the most advanced. Moda’s scheme is consented and awaiting a start on site.

Consent is also in place at Trafalgar Street for CODE Sheffield, but the applicant is now seeking to reduce the scheme from 38 storeys to 32. Some other sites have seen consents lapse.

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