The Keith Hayman Award recognises outstanding contributions to the experience of public art in Sheffield. It has become an annual award, made in conjunction with the Sheffield Design Awards [SDA], with which Keith was heavily involved in its formative days.

Read more about the history of the KHA here

The KHA was awarded for the fifth and sixth time in 2021 thus bringing us back ‘up-to-date’ after Covid restrictions, with the focus still on public art.

The awards were made alongside an opening event for the SDA 2022 which is now an independent charity working with both SCT and the Sheffield Society of Architects.

The Winners and a Highly Commended for 2020 & 2021 were:

‘Hemispheres’, by Owen Waterhouse on Green Lane, Kelham Island 
(Winner, Sculpture/Relief 2020)

‘Workings of Sheffield’, by Will Rea in Orchard Square
(Winner, Mural 2020)
‘Great Sheffield Flood Project’, by Steve Roche at Lidl, Malin Bridge
(Winner, Sculpture/Relief 2021)

‘Growing City’, by Jo Peel, planting by Nigel Dunnett on Yorkshire Artspace, Brown Street
(Winner, Mural 2021)
‘New Era Giant Pandas’, by Hatch Architects in New Era Sq.
(Highly Commended, Sculpture/Relief 2021)

Nominations for the KHA were taken from members of SCT and SDA, the public, officers of the Sheffield City Council and artists themselves, for any work on public display in Sheffield which was installed or produced since 2018 and made a significant contribution to the public realm.

The remaining shortlist was as follows:

  • Jarvis Cocker, by Bubba 2000 on The Fat Cat
  • Stone Scissors, by Robin Loxley at Kelham Island Museum
  • Grey to Green II, sculptural benches and totems by various artists,​Castlegate
  • Park Hill Plinths, by various artists at Park Hill
  • Raw Quality, by Matthew Jarratt at Park Hill
  • Salmon of Steel, by Jason Heppenstall at Sheffield Station
  • Blockscape, glazing patterns by Peter Griffiths on West Street
  • Bounce!, pavement mural by Florence Blanchard at Site Square, Charles Street
  • Metamorphosis, mural by Liz von Graevenitz at Sharrow Community Forum

The Awards Event was held at Perch on Garden St. Sheffield on 18th November when Jim Bell of Arup, representing our Sponsors, the Sheffield Property Association, welcomed over 30 guests; Andrew Skelton, Public Art Officer, Sheffield City Council gave the keynote address on the important contribution of art in the widest sense to the public realm and both our enjoyment and sense of place. Trustees of SCT and SDA spoke of Keith Hayman, the association with the Design Awards and the differing contributions of the shortlist before announcing the winners. Janet Hayman, Keith’s widow, presented the Winners’ certificates. Perch provided a comfortable and appropriate setting for an enjoyable evening, sealed with a take-home bottle of beer specially brewed for the occasion.

The next awards will be made in Autumn 2022 for any artwork not previously submitted which was completed since 1st January 2020. We sincerely hope that our members and supporters will start straight away noting artworks which might become suitable nominations next year. SCT can accept nominations at any time until a closing date which will be published in due course.

The evening was a lively and encouraging occasion on which to celebrate the achievements of artists on behalf of our city.

Public art does so much to brighten up and enliven our City, SCT feels it is important to continue to recognise its contribution.

All further enquiries or nominations please to Jim Monach:

What is the Future of Our High Streets?

Fri, May 14, 2021
5:30 PM – 7:00 PM BST

As part of the Civic Trust’s ongoing work focussing on Sheffield’s ‘high ‘street’ and its development, we are pleased to invite our members and supporters to this affiliated event, part of the Festival of Debate.

This event brings together Sheffield Council officers and academics to discuss the future of the places we live, work and shop.

About this event

Covid-19 has only heightened pre-existing issues with the make-up of our high streets and city centres. The steady growth of online sales, matched with falling revenue in high street retail amidst soaring costs in rent and business rates, has resulted in key questions about the future of our city. This is compounded by the now-widespread adoption of remote working and the likely drop in the use of office space in Sheffield city centre.

This event brings together Council officers and academics to discuss the future of the places we live, work and shop. Sheffield’s recent hard-won bid for significant investment into the city centre could present some welcome solutions, but it’s clear that radical revisioning is required. What lies ahead for Sheffield’s high streets?


Julian Dobson – Hallam University & Event Chair

Professor Vanessa Toulmin – Director of City & Culture, Partnerships and Regional Engagement University of Sheffield

Nalin Seneviratne – Director – City Centre Development SCC

Jesse Matheson – University of Sheffield – CoPERI & Senior lecturer in economics

Sara Boonham – Sector lead for Town and City Regeneration at Gleeds

Rosie Dodgson – The Sheffield Civic Trust

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


Last year’s winner: Plantables, University of Sheffield & David Appleyard

The Keith Hayman Award for public art has been part of the biennial Sheffield Design Awards for a number of years. Named in memory of Keith Hayman, a keen artist and SCT Trustee, it is presented to the artist judged to have contributed most to the enhancement of Sheffield’s public realm in the two years preceding the award.

In celebration of Sheffield Design Awards becoming a registered charity, a retrospective event will be held this autumn (more details coming soon) at which the Keith Hayman Award will be launched as an annual prize judged, as in previous years, by the SCT Trustees.

If you know of a piece of new public art, mural or sculpture, please get in touch and let us know. All suggestions will form a longlist from which a shortlist will be taken and put before Trustees and a specially invited advisor from the city’s artistic community.

To be eligible for longlisting, the work needs to be sited within the city boundary and have been completed in the last two years.

Sheffield Design Award Winners building visits

The Long Barn – Conservation Award winner (Chiles, Evans and Care)

Over the coming months, the Sheffield Society of Architects has arranged a selection of building visits to some of the winners from the 2018 Sheffield Design Awards. Promoting design excellence across the City Region, the planned visits include:


The Long Barn  – Conservation Award winner (Chiles, Evans and Care)


National College for High Speed Rail – Large Project Award winner (Bond Bryan Architects)

Dam View – Residential Award winner (Robin Ashley Architects)


Leavygreave Plantables – Open Space Award winner (Grant Associates & David Appleyard)


The Glassworks – Residential Award highly commended  (CODA)

These projects showcase the variety of areas which the Sheffield Design Awards cover, including the residential, education and public realm sectors.

Not only do the visits include significant projects from well-known national architects such as the National College for High Speed Rail, designed by Bond Bryan Architects, they also incorporate entrants from much smaller practices such as The Long Barn by Chiles, Evans and Care, which reflects the scope of projects which are being constructed in the region, and the diversity of design.

To find out more about the forthcoming visits, please follow @RIBA_SSA and book your place. For more information on the Design Awards please follow @SHFdesignawards

National College for High Speed Rail, Bond Bryan Architects – Large Project Award winner

Endcliffe Park US Air Force fly-past scheduled

UPDATE: BBC Breakfast will be filming in Endcliffe Park from 6am, and there will be a memorial service in the park starting at 8am.
The flypast is scheduled to start at 8:45am, weather permitting.
Further details can be found here:

He has shouldered responsibility for the crash for 75 years, as the plane was trying to avoid crashing into him and other children in the park. He has visited and maintained the memorial every day since it was erected, telling them how much he loves them and is forever grateful to those who saved his life.

War Memorial in Endcliffe Park to crew of U.S.A.A.F. bomber which crashed in 1944

Dan Walker, BBC Breakfast presenter, saw Tony planting new flowers at the memorial and uncovered his story. Dan then began a campaign to get a fly-past for Tony.

The US Ambassador has confirmed that a fly-by will take place on 22nd February, 75 years to the day, to commemorate the event, in Endcliffe Park. Further details are due to be announced shortly.

Sheffield Design Awards 2018

The Sheffield Design Awards culminated with the fantastically attended Awards Ceremony, held last night at the Trafalgar Warehouse.

A record number of entries was reduced to a shortlist of 16 which was visited by the judging panel. Fittingly, the Editor of Sheffield Newspapers, Nancy Fielder was our compere for the evening, and their support continues with excellent coverage of the event.

The refurbishment and extension of Albert Works (pictured), home to marketing agency Jaywing, by Cartwright Pickard Architects, scooped the Overall Award, as well as the Large Project Award.

Our Patron, the Master Cutler represented by the immediate past Master, Ken Cooke presented a new Award, Lifetime Achievement for a Building in Use, to the Peace Gardens on the eve of their 20th anniversary

Leavygreave Plantables by Artist David Appleyard.
Leavygreave Plantables by Artist David Appleyard, Keith Hayman Award winner 2018

Winners in full:

Outstanding Project: Albert Works, Cartwright Pickard
People’s Choice: Chatsworth Bird Hide, Peak Architects
Lifetime Achievement of ‘Building’ In-Use: Peace Gardens, SCC
Open Space: Plantables, University of Sheffield & David Appleyard
Conservation: The Long Barn, CECA
Residential: Dam View, Robin Ashley Architects
Large Project: Albert Works, Cartwright Pickard
Medium Project: Site Gallery, DRDH
Small Project: Public Bar, Melling Ridgeway & Partners
Keith Hayman Award for Public Art: Plantables, University of Sheffield & David Appleyard


The biennial Sheffield Design Awards (SDA) held its 2018 launch at the Town Hall on 10th May. Master Cutler, Ken Cooke, gave a hearty and supportive speech to open the call for entries.

Now open for submissions by built environment professionals, the awards celebrate high design quality in buildings, open spaces and public art – those which make a substantial contribution to the local environment and encourage the preservation, development and improvement of features of historic or public interest within the Sheffield City Region.

Information on the SDAs, sponsorship opportunities and how to enter are at
Schemes must be within the Sheffield City Region area and must have been completed between 1 st June 2015 and 1 st June 2018 to qualify for entry. The entry deadline is 27th June.
Winners will be lauded at the celebration event on Thursday 25th October at Trafalgar Warehouse in Sheffield city centre.

The 2018 Awards are currently sponsored by Sheffield City Council, Glazing Vision, Counter Context, DeltaLight, MSA, Tarmac, Taylor Maxwell, Tobermore, Quatro and Choriso.

For more details go to and follow updates on Twitter @SHFdesignawards.


Castlegate: Fairytale or Phoenix

Tuesday 20th March, saw the latest of the Sheffield Civic Trust public talks, with this one focusing on the future of the Castlegate area of Sheffield City Centre.

Over 70 people attended two illuminating and interesting presentations. The first from, Simon Ogden, Sheffield City Council’s Head of City Regeneration, on the latest progress of plans for the Castlegate area. The second was from Valerie Bayliss, of the Castlegate Preservation Trust and the Save Sheffield Old Town Hall campaign,  on the aspirations of the Castlegate Trust.

If you would like to see Simon’s presentation from the evening then please click HERE. Below are are summary of both presentations.

Harnessing the past for the future

Simon Ogden highlighted the draw of the Moor following the move of the market and other retail that had been located in the Castlegate area. Now the Castlegate area needs a new focus on what its function is. He rued the down-at-heel impression that visitors staying in hotels clustered there are currently experiencing.


He pointed to interesting elements of this area such as Victoria Quays Sheffield Canal Basin, so close, which as yet are still detached and segmented and by the old road layout, and which fail to fully attract the attention they deserve.

Not only is there potential to combine some cool canal heritage atmosphere with the sturdy Victorian and Edwardian heritage above the castle area, but also with proposals for the castle site. One exciting idea involves an elevated ramp above the castle site where people could watch archaeology happening. Current archaeological knowledge is largely reliant on the work of two amateur archaeologists working in the mid C20, Leslie Butcher and Albert Armstrong. The ambition is to undertake further archaeological investigations. You can find more details by clicking HERE.

There is  significant masonry under the ground of the castle site. Archaeological investigations will, in addition to adding knowledge, also tell us the story of Sheffield Castle, a narrative to engage both Sheffielders and visitors. 

Simon set out the aims of development for funding bids for the Castle site including:

  • Overcoming the failed Heritage Lottery Funding Bid for archaeological excavation, including a trench plan.
  • Uncovering the River Sheaf through the site and creation of a riverside  Pocket Park with improved River Stewardship.
  • Extending the Grey to Green Project along Castlegate and into the revamped Exchange Square area which can be reconfigured to work as event space. This is undergoing local consultation currently
  • Public involvement enhanced by ‘The Pier’ a raised viewing walkway over the site, to enable the public to view works from above. 

Of the wider Castlegate area Simon spoke of harnessing the past for the future and working with positive partnerships, such as the City Region Infrastructure Fund (SCRIF). Many of the old buildings are vacant or only occupied at ground floor level. These kinds of buildings could appeal to tech companies and creative industries who look for interesting office spaces. Certainly the plan is to bring new life to these old buildings as Sheffield Hallam University have done, making the old Post Office into the Sheffield Institute of Arts. And new life is under way with the conversion of the former toilets at Blonk St Bridge which will form the Two Rivers café; and Tamper cafés aim to create a Foodhall  in the area.  

The Old Town Hall

Valerie Bayliss’ talk was modulated and factual on a subject that is clearly close to her heart. It was all the more powerful for her measured delivery which remained in place even when she criticised the organisation of her fellow speaker, Sheffield City Council (SCC). Interested readers can go to the websites on the Old Town Hall: and

In brief, when the Courts, which had taken over the Old Town Hall when the current Town Hall was built to accommodate city government, Sheffield City Council sold it to central government.  In 1995 the Department for Environment sold it to G1 Properties. Since that time it has fallen into serious decay. Images of the building in various stages of dilapidation were shown, some from Urban Explorers since no one had legal access to the building. There is now serious water damage, floors have collapsed, walls have peeled. But these aren’t any walls and ceilings. These were once fine examples, as Valerie’s slides showed, of ornate architraves, intricate ironwork and wonderful oak panelling.


In 2007, when this Grade 2 listed building was placed into the UK’s top ten most endangered buildings, a group of seriously concerned citizens set up the Friends of the Old Town Hall. They have done a lot of work, working in partnership with Sheffield City Council, The Heritage Lottery Fund, the Architectural Heritage Fund, and local organisations.  

The task ahead is enormous. The cost of repair following a condition survey and viability assessment  is put at around £10 million. 

A reader may wonder why the council hasn’t used its Compulsory Purchase powers or emergency repairs notice. One might wonder how legislation hasn’t yet been amended by central government since this legislation requires that should a council be unsuccessful in  extracting corrective action from the delinquent owner(s), they must then themselves pay for the repairs themselves. Now  in 2018, after several years of this government’s budget pressures on local authorities, this is clearly not an option.

In recent weeks there was movement at the Old Town Hall. People unknown to the SCC arrived and entered the building, apparently to install further measures to secure the building. It is believed the owners have appointed an architect to look at the building for residential use which is surprising as the study commissioned by the Friends of the Old Town Hall found this not to be a viable option.




David Rudlin – Sheffield Civic Trust Future Housing Launch


Report by Adam Park + Tom Hunt, SCT trustees

Sheffield Civic Trust is calling for a city-wide debate to consider how Sheffield can provide the homes our city needs – now and for the changing profile of the city in the next 10 or 20 years. The rising demand for new housing has been well-documented across the UK, but the Sheffield Civic Trust are interested in bringing local people together to discuss the specific challenges facing Sheffield, and the actions required to tackle these. To kick-off this debate, the Trust invited URBED’s David Rudlin – a leading thinking around future of housing in the UK, demonstrated by his winning entry for the ‘Garden Cities’ 2014 Wolfson Economic Prize (in collaboration with Dr Nicholas Falk). Following on from the Wolfson Prize, David has since been invited by Sheffield City Council to put forward some ideas around where and how new housing might be developed in Sheffield. Because of this dual national/ local perspective, he is perhaps uniquely placed to contribute to this urgent debate, and the Trust were delighted to welcome him to launch our Future Housing theme.

A question of delivery?

Before we delved into the question of how a ‘Garden City’ extension might work for Sheffield, the event was opened with a short film produced by the Wikihouse Foundation – ‘Homes by People/ Homes for People’. The Wikihouse concept was initially developed by the design practice Architecture 00, who were interested in a way of producing a new building system by combining an ‘open source’ platform for sharing designs on the web with technology to ‘print’ houses using digital (CNC) fabrication tools. This idea has since evolved, with the team behind Wikihouse now exploring how ‘custom-build’ housing (tailoring a home to suit your needs, rather than buying a product aimed the ‘average’ buyer) might revolutionise the current housing market. The film raises a number of critical issues, particularly around land values, delivery mechanisms, and the reduction of the home to a saleable asset (rather than part a home or part of a community). It also set a good platform for thinking about how a more flexible and creative planning system might improve the way that housing is delivered.

All of this is particularly relevant to Sheffield, which recently received ‘vanguard’ status for delivering custom-build housing. After a small start (it was suggested that around 90 dwellings could be delivered on former Council sites), Sheffield City Council see custom build as growing into a future method of housing delivery alongside the more traditional developer-led models.

Some lessons from history

This brief foray into an imagined future of custom-builders and printed houses contrasted nicely with the opening section of David Rudlin’s talk, which looked back at the recent history of urban expansion and the Garden City. The need to house a growing urban population and battles over green field land are not new phenomena – which David demonstrated by showing how cities such as Sheffield expanded rapidly into the surrounding countryside in the late 19th and early 20th century. In the wake of this era of rapid urban growth, Ebenezer Howard’s concept of the garden city was conceived as a way of bringing together the best of both town and country into the planning of new homes – by linking the social connectivity and economic activity of the city with the access to nature that many so people crave.

The key theme of David’s Wolfson Prize Entry challenged the very premise of a 21st century equivalent of Howard’s Garden City ideal. Their entry made the case that it simply isn’t possible to create a new town or city from scratch that will match the quality of a place that has developed its character over hundreds of years – such as Oxford, York or Sheffield. The alternative proposal was to ‘graft on’ a sizeable ‘garden city’ extension – effectively doubling the size of a city such as Oxford – by taking a confident bite out of the green belt while creating strong infrastructure links between the new residential districts and the existing city. David made the point that in our thinking around garden cities we ought to be looking more to the city extension of Edinburgh New Town than to brand new towns like Cumbernauld, Welwyn, or Letchworth.

Land value capture

A key challenge of the Wolfson Prize was to generate ideas for the financing and delivery of new homes within the Garden City (it was the Economic Prize after all). Perhaps the most important of these within the Rudlin/ URBED proposal is known as ‘Land Value Capture’.

Due to the triple effect of the scarcity of land in the UK, the high demand for housing, and controls of the planning system, the land value of un-developed land (eg. agricultural land or brownfield land) is vastly out of step with the value of land with permission for houses. David shared the startling fact that the average price of a hectare of agricultural land in the UK is £15,000 but that this rockets to £2.3million per hectare if planning permission for housing is granted! In other words, gaining planning consent creates huge value– which is typically shared out in private profit and fees between the developer, the landowner, and the consultants who successfully won planning consent. In their alternative vision, this uplift in land value (profit) would be captured through a levy and therefore retained for the public, and used to directly fund all of the things that are required to make a place attractive, sustainable, liveable, and popular. Alongside schools, greenspace and social housing, this would include infrastructure such as rapid public transit links with the city centre. Capturing the uplift to pay for infrastructure could be a way to address the reasons behind why new developments often don’t receive popular consent from local communities, despite the need for new homes. For example, if capturing the uplift could pay for new transport links then concerns about new development placing pressure on existing roads could be alleviated (especially if proposals involve building on green belt land), and thus may remove some concerns that can block planning consent being granted.

There was lots of interest in this from the follow-up Q+A – particularly around the political momentum required for this scale of change the system of delivery. Capturing land value uplift requires bold thinking from policymakers but the Rudlin/URBED proposal shows that a solution is viable and demands attention.

How many new homes?

Taking into account increasing longevity, inward migration, and changing social trends, most people agree that more homes are required to meet the demand from a growing number of new households. However, the target for exactly how many new homes might be required in Sheffield is still up for debate, and differs depending on the geographic area (Sheffield city, Sheffield conurbation, or Sheffield city region) and the projection for growth of the local economy over the next 10-20 years.

Maria Duffy, Interim Head of Planning at Sheffield City Council was one of the invited respondents at the event and provided details of these projections. Maria explained that both the City Council and the City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) are looking to actively promote growth in the region, with an ambitious target to create 70,000 new jobs in the region over the next 10 years. This is set to have a big impact on the number of new homes required, and together with the ‘natural’ population growth, will require 2000-3000 (or more) new homes to be delivered every year in Sheffield alone. This kind of target is well in excess of the homes currently being delivered, and is likely to require the full range of sectors and providers– including major housebuilders, social landlords and new delivery routes such as custom build.

With draft options for new Sheffield Local Plan due to be published for consultation in the autumn – Maria’s key question to the event was ‘how do we sell the idea of growth and win support from local people’? Numbers matter – but it’s not just a numbers exercise – it’s about creating sustainable places + healthy neighbourhoods that people want to live.

So how do we do it?

Drawing upon the work that URBED have been carrying out with the City Council, David Rudlin set out five strategies for where (and how) new housing on this scale could be delivered in Sheffield:

The first method is already a common practice of small and medium sized house builders, and involves densifying existing neighbourhoods through process of infilling on vacant land and other sites (including large back gardens). While on the surface this appears to be a relatively straightforward way of increasing the local housing supply, it can also prove difficult and controversial as each and every development decision is potentially subject to objections by neighbouring property owners.

The second strategy is another familiar one and describes the way in which developers and major housebuilders seek permission to incrementally extend existing settlements out into the surrounding undeveloped (often green) land. This approach, also referred to as accretion, requires a site-by-site appraisal by planning officers, often in the context of strong local opposition. Because of the way that they are approved and developed, such edge-of-town developments tend to take on a similar appearance; low-density cul-de-sacs of houses that rely on the car as the primary mode of transport and are designed not to stand out.

Finding alternatives to these two incremental suburban strategies involves zooming out and examine the existing city and its urban centres or ‘nodes’ – where there might already be infrastructure in place (roads, shops, schools, tram stops, parks etc.). From these nodes, David showed how you might overlay a series of ‘pedsheds’ (circles with radii of 0.25-0.5 miles that denote the urban area that can be walked by a pedestrian from the centre) and work out which areas are relatively well-served by infrastructure but are currently under-developed. These areas might then be subject to urban intensification (new development or higher density replacement). This strategy Sheffield could use this strategy to identify parts of the city which could be suitable for new housing by drawing a ‘pedshed’ around existing tram stops.

Due to the particular historical development of Sheffield there are further opportunities for large-scale remodelling of former industrial sites might could create new residential districts within the existing footprint of the city. While this strategy offers a range of potential benefits in terms of regeneration and sustainability, it is perhaps a more complex to pull off. This is primarily due to the investment required to bring the former industrial land up to developable standard (particularly in former industrial areas such as Attercliffe) when the land value that will be generated isn’t as profitable as in the green belt example, however capturing the value uplift could still make such developments more viable.

When these avenues have been exhausted an alternative option is the extension – taking that confident bite out of the green belt. However, as the Garden City proposal expressed so clearly, this can only be sustainable if the new infrastructure links, schools, healthcare and so on. As this can only be realistically be funded through large-scale public investment (which may include land-value capture) as well as a mechanism for purchasing the land in the first place. This option is therefore likely to require national-scale involvement from Government and other agencies.

In this section of his talk David also spoke about the concept of ‘open source planning’. This practice, common in other parts of Europe, sees plots on new developments sold to multiple developers (big and small) with rules about what can be built but not with overly prescriptive design guidelines. This approach ensures that a variety of differently designed homes are built and would help to counter the common criticism that new housing estates all look the same. It also has the related benefit of supporting small and medium sized (local) housebuilders and architects.

To grow or not to grow?

Our second invited respondent was Prof Gordon Dabinett of the University of Sheffield, who questioned the reasoning for a housing plan based on a target for job creation. Gordon argued that Sheffield is still predominately a low-value economy in recovery from the collapse of industry, and is therefore only producing certain types of jobs (despite the Universities). It was more important to have an informed debate around what those jobs will be, how they will be created, and what sort of economy this will create – before we think about how house those who might be attracted to the city for work.

These arguments were further developed by Prof Fionn Stephenson, who suggested that it was the quality of jobs, housing, or public realm that mattered over quantity and growth for growth’s sake. Fionn also called for us to consider what continual ‘growth’ means when global resources are likely to become scarcer in the future. This point was picked up by another respondent who highlighted the need to consider the state of the existing stock, particularly the energy efficiency ‘retrofit’ improvements required to bring Sheffield’s older housing up to a better standard.

In response to these points, David Rudlin suggested that city economies are likes sharks – they have to keep moving growing to stay alive – and keep attracting attract people with talent and resources to come and live there – because they bring and generate growth. Manchester was put forward as an example of a growth strategy where there was uncertainly around where the jobs were going to come from – but trusting that if you build attractive places then people will want to live there, and that by implication the jobs will follow.

Whether jobs or homes come first is a bit of a chicken/egg argument but what this exchange highlighted is that it’s important to think about it from the both sides. Sheffield needs to create a lot (high quality) jobs and a lot more homes. Moreover, growth is somewhat inevitable due to current birth rates and increasing longevity – and on that basis its better (and more sustainable) to accommodate that growth in existing urban areas such as Sheffield than the ‘far-flung car-bound suburbs’.

Our final invited respondent, Miranda Plowden of South Yorkshire Housing Association, brought the conversation back to the recent history of development in Sheffield. Miranda referenced the large garden suburbs such as Parson Cross that were built in the 1930s under a different set of circumstances and design principles – but nonetheless might be able to be reimagined or intensified in order to contribute to the garden city idea in the 21st century. This brought a question from David Rudlin as to whether Sheffield had too much green space – particularly in low-density suburbs. Miranda Plowden went on to promote the role of the social housing sector as having a long-term interest in the quality of housing and a sector that needs to be considered alongside the private sector. This linked to important issue of Sheffield as a city that is increasingly polarised into areas of wealth and deprivation – with another respondent questioning how new housing development could try to address that though a more integrated approach to tenures and social groups.

Where next?

Following on from this fascinating launch event, the Sheffield Civic Trust are looking to host further discussions, and workshops on some of the key themes and questions raised. These might include:

  • Housing, economic growth, and regional governance
  • Intensifying Sheffield’s garden suburbs
  • Retrofitting and adapting our ageing housing stock
  • The future role of housing associations and mixed-tenure development
  • Sheffield city centre – scope for more than just student accommodation?
  • Sheffield Local Plan – exploring options for the green belt
  • Attercliffe – the next urban village?

To respond to the write-up of this event, or to suggest your own ideas for themes we should be looking at, please email the Trust at, sign up for our newsletter at, follow us on Twitter @SheffCivicTrust and get involved in future the events, debates and discussions.

Trustees Adam Park + Tom Hunt