HotC II Block H consultation event

As a key stakeholder in the development of the Heart of the City II development, Sheffield Civic Trust have been asked to contribute to the pre-application consultation on the next phase (Block H) of the development, bounded by Cambridge and Wellington Street, and including the Grade II* Listed Leah’s Yard.

As supporters and members of the Trust, we would like to extend the information regarding the public events providing the opportunity to see the plans and speak to the project team.

Wednesday 25 March 202015:30-19:00
Thursday 26 March 2020
11:00-16:00

38-40 Pinstone Street
(most recently home to ‘Clicks and Mortar’)
Sheffield
S1 2HN

Trustees who are able to attend will be at the event on 25th March from 6pm. Please join us if possible as we review the latest proposals and talk to the project team.

For those that cannot attend in person, the dedicated website (www.heartofcity2.com) has been updated to include information about the current pre-application consultation. Visitors to the website will have the opportunity to complete an online response form about these proposals.

If you would like comments to be included in the Civic Trust’s response, please forward all comments to info@sheffieldcivictrust.org.uk.

A PDF of the Stakeholder briefing note is available to download here: http://sheffieldcivictrust.org.uk/block-h-consultation-brochure/

2019 AGM Co-Chair’s Report

This evening we are holding a meeting about the forward planning and thinking in Sheffield in collaboration with Sheffield Property Association in the coming months and years, alongside our AGM.

This year Rupert Wood and Rosie Dodson have joined and re-joined the Sheffield Civic Trust as Trustees and have brought fresh new perspectives and expertise to the Trustees. Thanks for their input. Thanks too to Trustees who continue to work hard for us and deserve the thanks of the Trust: Simon Gedye, Paul Bedwell [membership], Jim Monach [Secretary], Chris Bell, Liz Godfrey [HODs], Samantha Birchall [SDA], Alex Maxwell [communications], Andrew Jackson [SDA], Janet Ridler [media], Rupert Wood, and Rosie Dodson.

The Co-Chair Lilly Ingleby will be stepping down as co-chair at this AGM, and would like to thank all trustees and collaborators of the SCT for their work this year.

Our key activities have largely continued as in previous years;

Sheffield Heritage Open Days – once again piloted with great success by Liz Godfrey and Louise Watt. Nearly 150 buildings opened their doors this September, spread over two weekends.
This will sadly be the last year Liz Godfrey heads up the HODS team. The SCT would like to thank Liz for the amazing feat of coordination and energy it takes to put together such a vast heritage program. Liz will be extremely missed, and will be handing over to Janet Ridler for the 2019-2020 year.

Sheffield Design Awards – The Sheffield Design Awards 2018 were held in Trafalgar Warehouse in October.
This year has seen the SDA become established as a charitable body with the support of the Sheffield Civic Trust.
Newsletter – continues to come out to some 500 people. This gives very helpful information about our work and issues which are of interest to SCT members and supporters.

Civic Voice – Paul Bedwell continues as a Trustee of the national Civic body and thus keeps us informed of their views and activities. Once again several Trustees attended the annual conference.
YHACS – SCT continues to be a member of The Yorkshire and Humber Association of Civic Societies, and this March hosted Civic Voice and over 20 Civic Societies from across the region for a day of lively debate about meaningful engagement and representation with the planning system, and a workshop with Sarah James of Civic Voice on the Building For Life standard as a template for consultation responses.

Design Review – This year has seen the SCT actively responding to planning applications, albeit at a much reduced rate due to Trustee capacity. Design reviews continue to be a key way of engaging the public in the development of the city and this is an area of activity which the SCT hopes to be more active in.

Heritage – Liz Godfrey remains our hardworking and conscientious representative on the SCC Conservation Advisory Group. If the SCC could resource that group better, more work could be done to safeguard the City’s vital heritage resource.

Live Projects with Sheffield University – Rosie Dodson, working with Carolyn Butterworth of Live Works / The University of Sheffield has channeled the enthusiasm and debate around the future of Sheffield’s High Streets’ into forming a Live Project brief for masters Students at The University of Sheffield. This will run October-November 2019.

Well done and thank you to all Trustees and members who gave so generously of their time to help make SCT a significant force for the wellbeing of Sheffield. If this is to continue we need more Trustees and active members. It is not however necessary to become a Trustee. We welcome members who would like to focus their efforts on one or more particular area of interest. Meetings are interesting and friendly occasions. All Trustees will happily talk to anyone interested in helping in this way.

Lillian Ingleby and Simon Gedye
Co-Chairs

Response to Heart of the City 2, Block B & C consultation

Sheffield Civic Trust Feedback
in response to the consultation on Sheffield’s Heart of the City 2, Block B & C

Sheffield Civic Trust (SCT) thanks Queensbury, Counter Context and the design team at Leonard Design, for presenting the current proposals for The Heart of the City 2 to the membership.
The Trust recognises how the briefing from Sheffield City Council has resulted in the retention of much loved heritage buildings, despite their non designated status. The City Council’s vision in acting as client and driving the brief to the benefit of the city is welcomed.
SCT support the scheme especially on the following aspects;
– the horizontal mix of use i.e. retail at street level with apartments and offices at the upper levels
– access to upper floors with entrances from the street
– the block by block, phased approach outlined in the presentation
– the focus on a mix of uses that the current market is not supporting i.e. 2/3 bedroom apartments with quality external space rather than student housing.
– retention of the existing street pattern
– high-quality public space, that continues the approach taken throughout the city centre
– proposed historic façade retention.

Detailed design comments
Whilst the façade retention is welcomed, the gridded façade ‘folding’ into the existing pitched roof of the existing building (Laycock House) was considered awkward in some members’ minds. As this is a prominent corner, a more sensitive design solution should be considered.
The architectural treatment of corners of both blocks on to the new ‘5 ways’ are a great opportunity for the designers. Seven Dials in London’s Covent Garden was raised as a good precedent for the design. It was felt that the opportunity to mark this significant meeting of streets has been missed in the current design.
It was felt that the glazing proportions proposed within the new buildings should respect the order and hierarchy of the existing street facades more closely. Fenestration which denotes a top, middle and bottom may be more successful. The tendency towards expressing the top of the buildings in ‘zinc hats’ should be avoided, given their prevalence in speculative schemes over the last decade. The proposal for vertical stripes at the top of Laycock House currently give the appearance of cladding, similar to that used recently on a prominent car park in the city. Higher quality materials and detailing rather than the cladding shown are felt to be more appropriate. For instance the larger duplex units that top Block B could be
expressed whilst retaining the materials and architectural language of the rest of the block.
The servicing of the retail units from pedestrianised roads rather than a dedicated service yard is welcomed but will require careful management. This could ensure the strategy to reduce traffic congestion works, by encouraging workers to linger in the city centre after work.

Over view
The current approach of developing the Heart of the City 2 block by block has great potential for a rich and diverse mix of architecture uses and streets in the heart of our city. This richness is emerging in the
public realm, which looks both complex and exciting and is all about Sheffield.. The retention of historic facades will reinforce this diversity and local identity. However of concern is the emerging similarity in the building designs to date. The architectural expression of grids and cladding now emerging on the HSBC building is to be repeated on Blocks B&C. This reinforces the Trust’s belief that a more diverse range of designers should be employed to tie the scheme better to its context.
For future plots, we would welcome a commitment from SCC to promote more variation and design quality by committing to either design competitions or a diverse mix of designers/architects for each plot .
This approach was adopted at Liverpool One and has resulted in a wide range of architecture which enhances the experience of the city. Liverpool One avoids any uniformity or blandness in favour of a rich sequence of spaces and buildings which knit the development into the city – We do not want the blandness of Meadowhall transplanted into our city. We do want a more distinctive, new heart to our city that says ‘Sheffield!’
We hope that Sheffield City Council will consider supporting local suppliers in the awarding of the construction contracts, and proactively implement the Social Value Act, by considering inclusion of local labour clauses as appropriate when commissioning the development.
Whilst the aim for high quality city centre living with a range of types of dwelling is laudable, the City Council should have a long-term plan for a range of ownership, to avoid gentrification that precludes a fair and equitable city centre for its citizens.
We look forward to seeing the planning application in due course, and to engaging with the relevant parties as the Heart of the City 2 scheme goes forward.

Louise Watt
Chair Sheffield Civic Trust
on behalf of the Trustees.
October 2018

Love Sheffield? Join Sheffield Civic Trust and make it even better…

If you love Sheffield join us now, become part of the national civic movement and help make our city even better.

Join Sheffield Civic Trust and you’ll be supporting our activities in promoting Heritage Open Days, Design Reviews on major projects like Sheffield Hallam University’s Charles Street development, our fabulous Sheffield Design Awards, which this week confirmed Leopold Square (below) as Sheffield’s favourite new building, and an extensive programme of events for our members throughout the year.

We are presently working with Urban Splash to secure a tour of its Park Hill development for members later this Spring.


Annual membership is only £10 Individuals or £15 for Families.  To join on line please click here. Alternatively, you can pop a cheque in the post (made payable to Sheffield Civic Trust) to our Membership Secretary, Liz Godfrey at Sheffield Civic Trust c/o 22 Endcliffe Glen, Sheffield, S11 8RW.

Design Review – Sheffield Hallam University’s Revised Charles Street Scheme

Thanks to Matt Hutton and Bruce Raw from Bond Bryan, Nick Jones from Turner & Townsend and David Holland from Sheffield Hallam University for taking the time to present Sheffield Hallam University’s revised proposals for SHU’s Charles Street scheme to Sheffield Civic Trust’s design review panel and for answering our questions.

NB – This graphic image of the Charles Street Elevation relates to the emerging draft scheme and is produced with Bond Bryan’s permission

The following observations reflect the consensus of the design review panel:

  • The revised proposals have successfully addressed many of our previous concerns by providing a more active and animated ground floor elevation onto Charles Street, respecting Brown Lane and the established grid pattern of streets within this part of the Cultural Industries Quarter (CIQ) and achieving an elegant built frontage onto Charles Street that respects the streetscene on this vital pedestrian route.
  • Greater use of glazed openings at ground level allied with the proposed corner cafe onto Charles Street and Arundel Gate will provide better animation and surveillance of these public thoroughfares to the benefit of pedestrians.  Whilst the operational constraints of the proposed lecture theatre are understood the revised scheme suggests the inclusion of design elements that will provide playful and interesting decorative features.
  • However, the panel was disappointed that previously available views of the ‘sawtooth’ rooftop features may longer exist from Charles Street under the revised proposals, which would be a shame.
  • In addition, the trees shown on Charles Street looked out of place and merely tokenistic rather than well considered landscape additions.  We understand that the City Council is likely to take responsibility for addressing this matter separately nonetheless we would prefer to see the building opening out onto a pedestrianised area with quality hard and soft landscaping akin to what’s been achieved elsewhere in the city centre.
  • The treatment of the brickwork elevations, with the introduction of texture and pattern adjacent to Butcher Works, were also seen as a positive intervention in contrast to panels of brickwork interrupted only by windows.  Nonetheless, in our view the pattern of window openings should respect the gradation of opening sizes exhibited in the neighbouring Butcher Works.
  • The proposed inclusion and treatment of Brown Lane was on the whole well received.  The decision to respect this feature and the commitment to improved materials, including paving and glazed doors, were welcomed.  We also welcome the commissioning of the renowned designer, Corin Mellor, for the footbridge which has scope to be a stunning feature.  As with all schemes appropriate detailing will be key to the success of these proposals.
  • The reduction in the extent of brickwork on the Eyre Street elevation of the building has improved the appearance of the building when viewed from that vantage point.
  • Finally, the panel welcomed the university’s commitment, aspiration and continued appetite to regenerate this derelict site by building a new, high quality, scheme at a time of financial constraint, particularly given the slow pace of other developments in the city.

Conclusion

The design review panel felt the revised proposals had successfully addressed the majority of our concerns about the previous scheme which had been refused planning permission by the City Council.  In particular, the revised proposals will:-

  • provide a more active and animated ground floor elevation onto Charles Street;
  • respect Brown Lane and the established grid pattern of streets within this part of the Cultural Industries Quarter (CIQ); and
  • achieve an elegant built frontage onto Charles Street that respects the streetscene on this vital pedestrian route.

It is vitally important that priority is afforded to the needs of pedestrians along the important route through the Cultural Industries Quarter CIQ, which connects Park Hill and the railway station with the City Centre and the planned gateway to the Sevenstone retail development.

Subject to confirmation of appropriate detailing and concurrent landscape proposals, particularly for the pedestrianised section of Charles Street and Brown Lane, we believe the building has scope to make a positive contribution and support the renaissance of this part of the CIQ and the city centre as a whole.

We understand that the revised proposals will be developed in readiness to support a planning application in the near future.  In these circumstances, we trust that our observations will inform the emerging development proposals.