ST Vincentâ€™s Urban Design Framework Sheffield City Council 2011
Contents Section 1: Introduction and Site Analysis Section 2: Movement Section 3: Public Realm Section 4: Development Section 5: References
Section 1: Introduction and Analysis
Chapter 1: Introduction and Site Analysis Introduction
Birdseye photo showing the St Vincentâ€™s Site
The St Vincent's Quarter in Sheffield remains on the most deprived areas of the City Centre, despite major regeneration projects in neighbouring areas and extensive development in and around the City Centre. The Quarter was greatly affected by the nationwide deindustrialisation process which began in the 1960s and reached its peak in the 1980s. The traditional industries such as Steel, Manufacturing and Mining were particularly affected and as these were the 'backbone' of the St Vincent's Quarter economic base, this resulted in unemployment rises along with increased numbers of derelict building and rates of urban decay. St Vincent's has a strong Irish and Catholic Community heritage, which developed in the Mid 1800s as a result of the Irish Potato Famine coupled with a poor Irish economy and with the growing industries in many English Cities; most immigrants found themselves working in within the manufacturing industries, which in Sheffield was mainly the steel and metalworking sector. The Church of St Vincent's was the inspiration behind the name of the Quarter and provides a unique character and heritage for any master plans to draw upon.
The topography of the area provides both a challenge and a benefit for any potential redevelopment. While the steep sloping streets may present logistical and constructional challenges, if designs are sympathetic to them a unique identity for the Quarter could be created. The present challenges that the St Vincent's Quarter is facing, still remains the high derelictions levels, a strong lack of green space and an absence of a localised economic base. While the Quarter is extremely well connected, by a reasonable walking distance into Sheffield City Centre, tram links, a newly improved ring road and surrounded by regeneration projects, the St Vincent's Quarter still continues to be disconnected and disjointed with the neighbouring areas and remains the one stitch in the fabric of the City Centre that needs 'sowing together'.
Sheffield is the Fifth largest City in the United Kingdom with a population of around 530,000. The City grew rapidly during the 1800s as a result of the Industrial Revolution which saw Sheffield rise as the Steel making centre of the world. This became the â€˜backboneâ€™ of the local economy, but due to the economic restricting policies of the 1970s & 1980s, the City experienced a Sharpe rise in unemployment and a decline in population. Since the mid 1990s however Sheffield has began the process of regenerating itself into a competitive, diverse City ready to compete in the 21st Century. The rebranding of the economic base from a steel and manufacturing hub, to a City focused on the sporting, creative and ICT industries have played an integral role in this success.
Vision “This document provides a framework for the physical and
Role of the Framework
spatial regeneration of the site located with the St Vincent’s
The design frame work set out for the St Vincent’s quarter, will provide the basis and parameters of which regeneration for the area can work against. The framework will be used to assess the relevance, appropriateness and scope of proposed development in order to ensure they are in keeping with the desires and aspirations for the area.
area of Sheffield, detailing design guidance to assist in the
The Framework is needed to ensure that all developments taking place in the area are working towards a common goal that its desired for the Quarter, in order for it to fit in with the City as a whole. There are many pressures on Sheffield today, changing housing trends, flexible working pattern, a more competitive global market and a more demanding consumer all put pressure on the council to ensure Sheffield can build on its success, compete with neighbouring Cities and find its place n the global economic market once again.
to encourage new businesses to the area and creating a
Structure This document outlines the generic design principles consistent with the Character
appropriate re/development within the area. The vision is to create an urban area that appeals to a cross-section of people; to attract families to live in the area, to provide resources to support the growth of existing businesses and
legible route connecting the site.”
The design framework is located in the St. Vincents area of Sheffield providing one of the most distinctive inner city quarters with a dramatic topography and townscape, a strong heritage of metal
Statement and Conservation Area Management Plan and then details specific sub-
working and a particular historic association with the City’s Irish and
area design principles for several key sites. These were developed from detailed
Catholic community (St.V Masterplan). The area suffered decline and
analysis of the framework area based on the area’s history, the mix of uses and
dereliction over the past decades however it continues to be an active
the physical form detailed in the image to the right.
business area with some important industrial and service companies along with a retained committed resident community. The development of the City Centre has offered this area of the city renewed opportunity for substantial transformation and improvement and private development.
Site History The Scotland Street and Shepherd Street site is located within the St Vincent‟s quarter of the city and is rich in historical heritage. The narrow streets around the Snow Lane area of the site developed during the Sixteenth century and there extreme constriction helps define the areas distinctive character. The area was “one of the city’s most tightly built-up areas with densely packed courts of houses and cutlery workshops, inhabited by the substantial population for whom St Vincents Church was built” (Harman and Minnis, p159) A large amount of clearance took part in the early part of the Twentieth Century, however the original street pattern was retained leaving the street pattern seen today. Due to the large numbers of furnaces and factories, the buildings in the area have suffered great decolouration. The South Yorkshire Historic Environment Characterisation Project explains; (2007, P3) “The smoky environment of 18th century Sheffield, resulting from the large number of small hand forges or smithies recorded in the town. This was compounded by the introduction in the first two decades of the eighteenth century of the cementation furnace”. The only surviving cementation furnace of its kind within the UK is located on Doncaster Street and remains as a memorial to Sheffield strong steel making history. The Furnace, built in 1884 by Daniel Doncaster & Sons was used during the Second World War and a blackout cover was added to protect it during the raids. It was restored in 1992/3 with financial assistance from HSBC bank.
Doncaster Street cementation furnace
A Watercolour by Alwyn Holland, 1910
Damage following WWII
Scotland Street and Tenter Street were once served by one of the many tram service s in the city. This was removed in the 1930s due to war damage and government policy focusing on vehicular transport. The image below shows a tram running along Tenter Street in the early 1930s.
Kutrite Works (Below left), located on Snow Lane is currently used as a metal workshop. The building has being grade II listed since 1995 due to the historic importance of the building.
The Don Cutlery Works (above right) have also being Grade II listed since 2007. The building, despite its dilapidated state is one of the best surviving examples of Sheffield’s metal manufacturing and metal working trades.
Following clearance, much of the housing in the area was replaced with high rise flats in the surround areas i ncluding Park Hill Flats, Kelvin Flats and Hyde Park Flats and social housing projects such as Norfolk Park. This along with the decline of the Steel Industry within Sheffield created a lot of derelict buildings within the area. The maps on the following page show how the site developed from 1890 through to the 1960. No real changes have being made in the past 50 years.
Blue Boy Methodist Sunday School remains on the corner of Blue Boy street and is currently a residential property. The image above was taken following the war when the areas was surveyed to review which buildings should remain after the heavy bomb damage suffered in the area. Scotland Street had numerous shops prior to the war.
Pictures showing the small court yards and alley ways which were prevalent in the area before slum clearance and war damage.
How the site has changed over the past 100 years
Policy Considerations There are a number of policy designations which need to be considered when redeveloping the sites in the area.
The majority of the area is identified as a ‘Business area’ (policy CS2)
The focal corner site identified as ‘priority office space’. (policy CS1 & 3)
Policy CS4 states that along the new northern Inner Relief Road and Tenter Street, particularly for professional, financial and legal services
Policy CS6 - Manufacturing in City Centre transition areas should not expand where it would detract from the regeneration of the centre and it will be encouraged to relocate, providing suitable alternative sites and premises are available in the city
PPS4 should be referred to for Sustainable Economic Development
A significant proportion of the site is within a conservation area
Within the conservation area a Scheduled Monument stands
A proposed walkway improvement running diagonally through the heart of the site heading north-east toward Kelham Island is apparent
Policy CS17 - St. Vincent’s – a mixed business, residential and educational area with links to the University of Sheffield and the legal and professional quarter and including a number of manufacturing companies that will require sensitive attention;
Policy CS 48 - A network of informal, public open spaces in the City Centre will be provided and enhanced to cater for residents, workers, s hoppers, tourists, students and other visitors of particular interest - St. Vincent’s Park
Policy CS55 Cycling is a sustainable and growing form of travel for short to medium length journeys in the city – over the past 10 years the number of trips to and from the City Centre has increased by around 15%. Despite the hills in parts of the city, cycling represents a sustainable option, which improves accessibility and can enable extensive connections within Sheffield. The policy aims to retain and increase numbers of cyclists and improve safety
With the previous two statements in mind – This should be encourporated along with Policy CS 61 highlighting the importance of routes to St. Vincent’s – important to carry these on – with the key walk way across site
This Design Framework involves the area of St. Vincents, north-west of Sheffield City Centre, bound by the Scotland Street, Hoyle Street and Moorfields. It provides guidance that aims to contribute to and inform the physical regeneration of the area at all levels from policy to forward planning and decision making within the framework area. The document also forms part of the broader Regeneration Strategy for the city of Sheffield. This is the principal document for future development and sets out a broad framework and vision for the regeneration, to create a thriving and sustainable area. The framework supersedes any development briefs and/or guidance notes that have been produced for sites covered in this framework. This is to ensure a robust framework for guiding future development proposals. The guidance highlights the relevant policy considerations, statutory requirements and introduces design principles which must be addressed in the submission of a planning application for proposed development.
St Vincent’s can be divided into three distinct areas. These have been used to structure the location and level of change expected. The Shepherd Street area contains a number of large warehouses and office blocks and is clearly bound by Hoyle Street and Moorfields. The Snow Lane area contains a number of small workshops and has a dramatic topography with small streets winding down the hillside. The Scotland Street corridor provides access from the north west of the city to the centre. The corridor is currently used by vehicles trying to avoid traffic during peak times, however this problem has reduced in the past year following the completion of the inner relief road.
It is now mandatory, as stated in Planning Policy Statement PPS1 and PPS3, for the planning process to incorporate urban design principles (relating to placemaking and the physical form of development) at every level, from the strategic to the local. PPS1 notes that: ‘Good design ensures attractive, usable, durable and adaptable places and is a key element in achieving sustainable development. Good design is indivisible from good planning.’
Surrounding Areas St Vincent’s is currently an ‘island’ with the inner relief road cutting it off from the Shalesmoor and Kelham Island area of the city. The surrounding areas, each with their own distinct character are beginning to influence development in the St Vincent’s area. The Kelham Island area has seen heavy gentrification over the past decade and developers are beginning to look to St Vincent’s for development opportunities. The growing student population over the past decade has also influenced the area with a growing number of developments filling the area between the site and Sheffield University. Office development along Tenter Street over the past twenty years has began to move towards St Vincent’s as development opportunities become increasingly sparse.
Views Across the site
Overarching Design Framework There is a City wide design framework already in place for Sheffield as whole. The themes of water, high quality public spaces, increased street activity and a desire for the residential market to continue to grow in and around the City Centre are integral to this framework. This framework will highlight the problems facing St Vincentâ€™s Quarter today, the factors that have caused them and how these problems can be over come in the future. It will also introduce solutions to integrate the Quarter with the rest of the City Centre and how the Quarter can move ahead successfully into the 21 st Century.
Section 2: Movement
The success of an area is to a large extent dependent on the quality of its connections. The location of the site sits conveniently in close proximity to the ‘Heart of the City’ where much of the cities commercial activity is located. The ease and efficiency with which people are able to arrive and move through the site is critical to its all-round success.
It is proposed that the core elements of the movement strategy will comprise the following:
In terms of the strategic road network, the site has relatively good access to Hoyle Street, turning only left onto the carriageway in the interests of highway safety as with Moorfields linking the site to the rest of the city though the Ring Road. However, the onsite road network is constrained by poor surfaces and road maintenance. Scotland Street and Meadow Street provide the main access around the site having a higher volume of traffic, however the route is often seen as a ‘rat-run’ with cars going too fast for the capacity of the road in relation to its environment with the rest of the roads being difficult to navigate with poor signage. Scotland Street in particular is a wide carriage encouraging driving above the speed limit, something that must be addressed in order to provide and safe and comfortable pedestrian environment. Furthermore, excessive and spontaneous car parking is represented throughout the site, blocking pavements and access points.
• Access to a public transport system that is fast, safe, attractive, reliable and efficient. There is a desire to create a step change in the perception of public transport as a mode of travel, which would increase the level of patronage.
The Shalesmoor Tram Stop located just off the site, is an important transport connection to the site and is vital to connect this in order to promote sustainable transport. However, there is not an immediate route over Hoyle Street leading directly to Doncaster Street and the priority office space on the gateway site undermining the attractiveness in public transport.
Greater emphasis needs to be given to the street and to the sequential network of pedestrian spaces if the area is to become more attractive to future users and investors. The aim is to produce a more co-ordinated and seamlessly legible townscape, not only for pedestrians, but also for cyclists, drivers and public transport users. New and existing public spaces are to be linked by improved streetscape treatment. Public art, planting, lighting and water features will be incorporated into the new and enhanced spaces.
There are two overriding objectives to a movement strategy for the site: 1. To promote walking and cycling above other modes of transport for the benefit of residents and visitors; and 2. Enhance the arrival experience, ensuring all visitors can enjoy a smooth delivery with legible and easy links.
• An extensive high quality walking and cycling network, creating the desire for an everyday walking and cycling culture.
• Residential, business and educational areas around the site that have an environment that encourages walking and cycling. Consideration should be given to implementing 20mph speed limits in these areas where appropriate. • A walkable core, creating high quality links to other parts of the cities providing safe and attractive streets, with reduced car parking and street clutter promoting the pedestrian.
Walking – a high quality pedestrian environment
The walkable core
It is important to follow the existing urban grain in creating a new pedestrian environment. Everyone visiting, working or living on the site will at some time be a pedestrian and the quality of their experience as pedestrians will be key to the success of the area. There is a wide scope of improvement required with a continuation of the remarkable transformation of the ‘Heart of the City’ project with the earmarked key routes through the site as identified in the Masterplan.
The Urban Design Framework proposes that a walkable or pedestrian priority core should be created enabling an extension to the city centre that will link through to Kelham Island and Opal student living. Within the core the needs of pedestrian, cyclists and public transport will be given a higher priority than vehicles. The walkable core will significantly help the vitality of the area in several respects. The concept of a walkable core combined with the much needed public realm improvements and increased space for pedestrians will have implications for traffic that currently uses the area. These are likely to include:
Giving attention and priority to the needs of pedestrians in the movement strategy will be one way to encourage reduced car usage, particularly as the site is located within a 5 minute walk of the city centre and 10 minutes from the train station. An increased level of walking will boost retail, tourism and the local economy bringing an increased vibrancy in the area.
A view away from the site where the Key Walking route connects to the site along Allen Street showcasing the poor pedestrian environment
Poor street signage highlighting the lack of legibility and orientation throughout the site
The Route leading onto the site
The currently proposed key walking route is pedestrian unfriendly – the removal of street clutter including on street parking, and the resurfacing of both the road and the creation of an attractive side walk of increased size needs to be developed along with adequate street lighting. Currently the route feels unsafe especially after dark
Key Cycling Route
The coming together of the proposed two key pedestrian routes
• Heavily favoured pedestriansed streets without complete closure to all vehicles • A reduction in the level of on street car parking in order to free up space for pedestrians; • Curbing of vehicle speeds to 20mph, largely through self-enforcing physical public realm measures; and • Traffic management measures to prevent ‘rat running’. Improving and strengthening both the radial and peripheral links will be vital in encouraging residents to walk rather than drive. There are a good number of existing radial links and particular attention needs to be given to the locations where these routes meet the edge of the walkable core. The busy trunk roads (Hoyle Street and Moorfields) results in a barrier preventing access beyond the site therefore creating high quality, accessible crossings of these busy roads will be vital. The requirements for these crossings should include: • The provision of wide crossings; • Direct, straight across crossings rather than staggered crossings; • Crossings positioned and aligned to reflect the major pedestrian desire line; and • Measures to slow vehicles on the approaches to crossing points. Peripheral movement patterns outlined in the Masterplan show the proposed development of a key walk route and cycle route though the site. A cycling route is proposed to run along Meadow Street and join with Scotland Street, and then walking route runs along Allen Street. It is proposed these are respected and improvised on, with the connection of Doncaster Street forming a nucleus of attractive walking environments. The existing pedestrian network would be used to gain access to the site. In order to enhance the urban environment and to strengthen pedestrian linkages it is proposed that:
Existing footways are widened, where possible, especially along Hoyle Street and Meadow Street frontages;
Tactile paving with dropped footway crossings are provided at key and vulnerable pedestrian crossing points along the footways surrounding the site and
Implementation of road traffic calming measures in the site to promote a walkable environment
The Enhanced Arrival
The spatial hierarchy of the site needs to be dealt with both in the wider context and within the site. The site currently has a favourable layout to suit the motor car, which has been discussed above with the improved pedestrian linkage. Along with a walkable core, it is vital to promote the need of cycling on the site and further sustainable transport options. Similar to the key walking route identified in the Masterplan, the key cycling route will be maintained and developed.
New, higher quality street surfaces will be necessary, particularly along busy pedestrian routes and at major public spaces. These should be simple and robust, with natural materials used wherever possible. The building of new focal areas into the heart of the site is desirable to increase legibility and the general conviviality of the whole area. Comfortable street level activity is important, both for civic and event purposes, but also to stimulate general footfall and a sense of public safety and vitality. Integrating public transport (both routes and infrastructure) in a positive manner is essential in order to create functional spaces where the interface between structures and pedestrian flows is well designed. The perception and visual dominance of the motor car needs to be mitigated to enhance the perception of pedestrian comfort. This applies not only to roads but also to other public spaces, including car parks.
The improved pedestrian environment will independently promote cycling through the pleasant environment and smooth surfaces. However on main trunk roads and along the Key route, there needs to be more attention paid to this priority. The route joins the site running along Meadow Street joining onto Scotland Street. Traffic calming measures need to be implemented along this stretch of carriage, of which narrowing the width of the road on Scotland Street to favour pedestrians is likely. The implementation of a cycle lane running down Meadow Lane will make drivers aware of the presence of cyclists in the area, with furthermore improved signage for cyclists is required. When the route connects to Scotland Street, the widening of the pavement could benefit having a shared access with cyclists with increased room being created. This wouldn’t normally be considered however due to the narrowing of the carriageway, and whilst promoting off street parking this may not possible in every location so it would be more beneficial to have a clear route on the pavement.
The implementation of a cycle lane is require to make drivers conscious of the presence of cyclist in the area
Key to the success of the radial routes will be the connections into the city centre, where the provision of a cut through is proposed to be expanded which the site should take full account of. Within the walkable core there will be the need to provide secure cycle parking at strategic locations.
Narrowing the carriage will slow ‘rat-runners’ and increase the width of the pavement creating s walking environment with active frontage retail being developed
Access to Public Transport The implementation of enhancements to the pedestrian networks within the urban environments and the proximity of the development with public transport corridors and the city centre would encourage public transport patronage The development is located on the Sheffield Supertram network and within eas y walking distance (reference: IHT ‘Guidelines For Provision For Journeys on Foot’) of the Shalesmore Supertram stop providing high quality linkage opportunities with Sheffield city centre, surrounding residential areas and the University of Sheffield. Table 2.3 showcases the sites accessibility via Buses which link the area to the rest of the city and the wider region. Parking: Sheffield City Council offers guidance to developers on providing parking, the following is the maximum parking standards being applicable
Student Housing: 1 Space per 4-8 students Offices: 1 Space/ 100sq.m within 500 m good public transport Retail; 1 Space/ 35sq.m up to a threshold of 1000sq.m thereafter 1 space per additional 20sq.m Disabled parking: not less than 1.5% of the total car parking provision
The proposal of the continuation of the cycle route requires improvement and tidying up of the route. This route, although it leads off the proposed site needs to be taken advantage of to create an additional arrival point
The Establishment of a Gateway Site
Development should provide ‘active’ frontage at street level and balconies above where appropriate (mixed-se development) to provide informal supervision with increased lighting. Corner treatments should assist in adding definition and reinforcing a strong sense of enclosure along principle routes in and around the area.
In order for a gateway site to be viable it needs to be accessible. It is vital that a clear and easy route is linked to the SuperTram stop on the There is an opportunity on the site for a new orientation point with an far side of Hoyle Street. It is proposed that a pedestrian facility is innovative corner feature for greater legibility. implemented immediately, due to the distance further up the road of the nearest facility. Proposed high speed pedestrian friendly crossing Any design proposal will effectively need to be dual fronted given its with limited street clutter. Gateway components should aim to: unique location across the two streets and the developments plots which • Provide identity and meaning to the arrival experience – clearly crossing a are proposed on neighbouring sites. In terms of ground level treatment threshold of scale this should not be a ‘dead frontage’. There should be a legible access • Exhibit an intensity of activity defined by public uses, access points to properties and architectural • Exploit the role of bridges, structures and architecture to provide a treatment. This should be treated at street level by clear and distinctive focus or transition that reinforces the identity of the city uninterrupted sight lines for example along Doncaster Street and • Indicate a sense of destination or arrival Scotland Street
Linkages to the City Doncaster Street has the potential to form an attractive and well layout streetscape. By having a sweeping through road designed in a way to promote pedestrian movement will aid the legibility of the street and re-connected this space to the city centre. This space will then link the proposed crossing to the tram stop, the green space and the listed monument, right through the site connecting to Scotland Street. This then runs over the proposed key walk route along Allen Street, creating a hub of vibrancy, promoting the walking culture, with improved streetscene and lighting creating a vibrant and safe place to use. It is important to note that the topography is challenge to connect the route to Scotland Street however with creative design this can be overcome.
Scotland Street It has been highlighted above that Scotland Street is a vital route through the site and one which is needed to be a priority to improve pedestrian legibility with an increased width of the pavement with lighting and benching. Scotland Street is currently needlessly wide, the narrowing of the carriage, combined with the implementation of a cycle lane and increased size of the pavement takes priority away from the car and towards the pedestrian
Doncaster Street – The Spin Connecting the site to the ‘Heart of the City’
The area along Doncaster Street and the amendments to Matthew Street connecting a small road around the gateway site should have limited parking provision on the immediate street – thus interfering with active frontage and the pedestrian environment increasing street clutter. It is proposed parking is taken away from in the form of underground allocation or offset from Zone A retail space. Where this is not feasible, the design used to promote pedestrian activity will counterbalance this
• Providing a clear unity and simplicity in terms of public realm materials and pedestrian realm design. • Removing physical and visual barriers to pedestrian • Enhancing the pedestrian and visual corridors with the enhancement and animation of street frontages, including active ground floor use Increasing the width of pedestrian footpaths • Protecting existing views and developing spaces around appropriate view points as a means to experience and interpret the area.
Section 3: Public Realm
Landscape and public realm Landscape vision
Landscape character and context
The landscaping vision for this area is to be a continuation of the Heart of the City, with materials being of high quality to ensure ease of movement for a range of users from parents with young children, to the elderly and people with disabilities. Another aspect is the also sustainability through being an attractive place to visit and thus seeing an improvement in the numbers of people actively using the area and to take advantage of its proximity to the main shopping areas of Fargate, Division Street and the new development; Sevenstone. Materials used for seating, paving and public areas within the Heart of the City are of high quality stone, using where possible locally sourced materials and craftspeople. In honour of the city’s heritage the use of metals and steel is also common throughout the City Centre, and as St Vincent’s is historically known for its metal industry.
The St Vincent’s area is one of the most distinctive inner city areas of Sheffield, due to its dramatic townscape and topography. It has a strong heritage of metal working with many old industrial units within the quarter.
High Quality Paving Materials will be used to create a sense of character in the St Vincent’s area.
Trees and planting will create relief from the extensive built environment in the St Vincent’s area.
During the mid and latter part 20 th century the area has suffered heavily through slow decline and subsequently dereliction, especially around Upper Allen Street. However, the area does remain an active business area and has a number of important service and industrial companies as well as retaining some areas of residential housing. During the Urban renaissance and within the late 20th century and early 21s t century,the site benefited from a number of new developments, but it has not been as successful as the regeneration of Kelham island and still has a confused area identity. The reasons for the slower regeneration of St Vincent’s is due in part to its topography, with steep streets leading up into the city centre, a lack of green or open space and is currently edged by major roads leading into and out of the city which has caused St Vincent’s to be an island cut off from the Heart of the City. The completion of the inner relief road has helped to reduce the levels of traffic along Tenter Street and Broad Lane, but they do remain vehicle orientated with little street interaction for users.
Sheffield inner relief road.
The current economic recession has delayed the regeneration of St Vincents, this however also provides the opportunity to review and redevelop plans; and subsequently placing the area in a good position for developers to begin work quickly once the economy allows. High demand for City Centre living is the driving force behind the regeneration of inner city areas and presents a welcome opportunity to achieve sustainable results by providing both housing and sites for new employment.
Strategy Sheffield City Council currently recognises that the city’s residents value the green and open spaces highly and that if the quality of the open space is poor, resulting in under usage of the space. As a consequence has created the Sheffield Green and Open Space Strategy 2010. Resultantly, public space is integral to the regeneration and sustainability of St Vincent’s quarter.
Street, landscape and open space design should be robust, hard wearing and to reflect the guidance as specified in Sheffield’s Urban Design Compendium and Sheffield’s Green and Open Space Strategy. Where ever possible the reconstruction or restoration of the original street details is encouraged. Alternatively a contemporary design language in keeping with the rest of the city centre is acceptable.
The public realm can be described as being the ‘space between buildings’, or alternatively it can be thought of as being the movement corridors, streets and spaces which form a network for us to use and consequently; the perception of a city. Where ever possible the opportunity for new public spaces as part of new developments to contribute to the current network of public spaces must be taken. This is of particular importance when promoting city centre living.
Clear definition between public and private space is required to impart a sense of ownership to residents, users and visitors as required when using Secured By Design principles (SBD). However, where this is not possible then alternatively the use of structural landscaping can be applied to retain the sense of enclosure and to reflect the continuity throughout the quarter and to mark a clear boundary between sites.
This section aims to reinforce the importance of considering the landscape and public realm in any new development. The public spaces must connect key pedestrian routes and other spaces, forming a network of formal and incidental spaces that weave through the area and into the city centre. The provision of high quality public spaces and streets means users are more likely to stop, linger and spend time experiencing the space and potentially bringing further economy into the city. Currently throughout St Vincent’s there is a stark lack of green spaces and spaces or public realm for residents and visitors to enjoy. Therefore, landscape and the public realm is a key issue within the area to make it more attractive to potential residents and companies looking for new premises.
Street lighting throughout St Vincent’s is expected to be of a high quality, as it is essential to ensure safety of the evening environment as well as being as welcoming as possible to potential users and people passing through the area. Key routes of improvement are:
Landscape and public realm design for St Vincent’s is expected to repeat that of the rest of the city. This will require a completely new network of distinct and well defined public spaces. Where possible the aim is to provide amenity space and ecological value. We propose that within St Vincent’s there should be the development of a principal space and subsequently smaller, localised open spaces as explained in Sheffield’s Urban Design Compendium; Sheffield proposes an ordering principle, where each area’s treatment and palette is graded throughout the city centre.
The use of religious buildings within the Heart of the City has been a valuable resource, providing tranquil, green refuges away from the hard urban fabric. A fundamental building within St Vincent’s is its church, we propose that this church is also seen as a refuge for residents and visitors to the quarter by the development of green space around the church. The topography of the area around St Vincent’s church and Solly Street lends itself to taking advantage of the spectacular views, where possible the provision of public space on the steep incline up towards the city centre is required to allow people to rest but also to take advantage of the views across the city towards the Ski Village.
A key aim of the Compendium is to improve the pedestrian environment within the city centre, one of the areas acknowledged are the routes between the city centre and the Universities. St Vincent’s lies on the boundary of the route, with Brookhill roundabout on the western edge of the area. Many students choose to live in and around the quarter in areas such as Burngreave, Brookhill, Crooksmoor and Shalesmoor. Therefore a legible route is required, with the potential for St Vincent’s to als o house students due to its prime location and short distance to the city centre or the Universities. Local open space is expected to form a focal point within the street hierarchy, for example the setting back of buildings from the street edge or where a building is chamfered at the corner. Such spaces need to be well designed with functionality in mind, and to provide a safe and useable open amenity area including the provision of seating for users. The use of hard landscaping is desirable with some vegetation where appropriate. There is greater scope for softer landscaping within the predominantly residential areas.
Broad lane/Tenter street to be improved, to have more street level interaction. Currently a vehicular route through the city with little to no street interaction. No open/green space provision for the new flats at west bar Netherthorpe road/Shalesmoor gateways into the area, street interaction sought. Green/open spaces
Public spaces are much more popular when sunlit or sheltered f rom the elements, therefore drawing life onto the street and increasing the vitality of the area. Care must be taken when developing a new public space and the orientation must be considered to ensure the space is used and appreciated. People are naturally attracted to sunny spaces and will often opt for the sunnier side of the street to walk along, it can also be expected that people will want to spend time in a sunny south-facing open space. Wind and shelter from the rain are also key elements to the success of an open space, due to Sheffield’s hilly topography and built up nature of the city there are areas of the centre which are very windy; the wind blows up from the valleys and is channelled between the taller buildings and along corridors. New public space should be designed with these issues in mind to ensure the success of the area.
The topography of the area varies between steep hills as you near the city centre towards the south of the site and relatively flat areas towards the north of the site around the new inner relief road. Because of this mix of landscapes, where there are steep inclines paving should be of high quality to ensure it remains both flat and does not crack and potentially cause difficult for pedestrians moving through the area.
Poor paving can cause problems for both pedestrians and vehicles. The colours, materials, scales, massing and finishes of new developments must be thoroughly considered and must relate to the specific current setting and context of the area. A well-defined street structure is required by repairing the current streetscape where required to the north of the site with the area to the south around Solly Street, Hollis Croft and Barkers Lane massing to be left open to allow for the views across the city. Materials used for the streets must comply with the requirements set out in 5.0 Public realm Design Guidelines of Sheffieldâ€™s Urban Design Compendium.
Attention should be paid to key streets within St Vincents such as Solly Street, Tenter Street, Shalesmoor, and Netherthorpe Road. Along these streets a mix of uses will be encouraged to promote activity within the area and to act as activity hubs to the rest of the area. The existing grain of the area is to be protected; therefore the street alignments and widths are to remain the same to ensure the character of the area is kept even though the buildings are new. This includes the restoration of closed off or privatised roads through the quarter to increase the access and natural surveillance throughout the area and will therefore allow easy flow of vehicular and pedestrian movement. Improved links through St Vincents between the lower and higher levels throughout the area are encouraged.
Proposed Public Space/Green Corridors Currently St Vincentâ€™s severely lacks any public, green or open space, any development within the area must have some provision for public space where appropriate to create an attractive ambience and appeal to visitors and potential residents. In order to add interest to the area and to provide green and open spaces for residents and visitors, the following indicative designs have been created:
Scotland Street Hoyle Street
How Scotland Street could look after modifications to the public realm.
Chapter 4: Development Strategy
Development context The St Vincent’s area of the city is currently suffering from a lack of economic investment with a number of uninhabited workshops, factories and warehouses. The generic design principles laid out below will seek to enhance the existing character of the area. The site should be influenced by the importance of the local topography, the nature of incremental changes and the existing form of development.
To successfully regenerate St Vincent’s quarter, a greater intensity of activity is required, this means new residential opportunities must be provided as well as respecting the integrity of St Vincents traditionally industrial primary purpose. In response to the context of being on the edge of the city centre, a mix of activities is encouraged to create a more intensive use of the sites within the quarter. These activities should be both at street level and within the buildings to create a more vibrant and bustling place where people feel safe to walk around both day and night. Safety can be improved by applying small but significant measures such as the orientation of windows and doors to create active street frontage and therefore an element of natural surveillance on to the streets. New developments are to be encouraged to create positive character for St Vincents and subsequently the city centre through the use of feature or gateway buildings along the boundary of St Vincent’s to distinguis h between the different areas, for example corridors such as Netherthorpe Road, Gibraltar Street and Tentar Street.
The scale and form of development should reflect and where appropriate enhance the impact of the local topography.
Larger structures and large development footprints should be avoided – allowing natural light and respecting the area.
Development plots should be based upon clear pedestrian routes and public realm enhancing the legibility and connectivity of the area.
There should be a variety and mix of uses provided by a range of different development plots and building footprints.
There should be mixed uses – seeking a variety of ground floor uses in key locations that provide day and evening activity.
Activity and security must be strengthened and encouraged by appropriate residential development and the detailed treatment o f access points and windows to maximize natural surveillance.
Surface parking should be discouraged and where underground or under-croft parking is included in proposals, these should not negatively impact on active ground floor uses and street frontages, having regard to PPG16.
There must be a legible and clear walkway through the site, defined by public uses, access points to properties and architect ural treatment. This should be provided at street level by clear and un-interrupted sight lines. Active frontages and uses concentrated in new public areas to reinforce legibility and activity. This could include retail units and cafes/restaurants where commercial activities can extend into the pavements and public spaces.
The creative use of lighting should reinforce pedestrian routes and connections to principal public buildings and commercial premises.
Sensitivity in scale and massing. This should ensure that existing structures and building elements.
The retention and creative reuse of properties that add to the character of the Conservation Area.
New development should be of a consistent high quality. There is the potential for a strong contemporary architectural treatment; using a limited palette of external materials; that provides a contrasting approach in style, form and materials to historical industrial structures.
Sustainability - At a strategic level this can be influenced by seeking to maximize the use of south facing elevations for views, articulating the building facades with balcony features and evaluation of the use of passive and/or solar energy. Preference should also be given to construction materials that are recovered, recycled, renewable and/or low in embodied energy.
Site Development In many areas of Sheffield there is real scope for strengthening neighbourhoods where local identity is represented through activities undertaken in the area. The St Vincentâ€™s area has struggled to maintain its character over time as the local economy has suffered. Twenty separate sites were identified within the St Vincentâ€™s site boundary along with seven key landmark buildings and three areas suitable for use as public open space. The image to the right shows the sites locations and proposed development opportunities. The buildings have being split into four different areas based on the different character of the buildings and their location. The image below shows the landmark buildings in red, buildings in the Scotland Street area in blue, Snow Lane area in green and finally the Shepherd Street area in orange.
Landmark Buildings Seven landmark buildings were identified across the site. These buildings are a mixture of listed and unlisted buildings which are crucial to the historic character of the area. The Queens Hotel and Don Cutlery Works are currently in a state of disrepair and efforts should be made to redevelop these buildings while retaining their historical character. The Queens Hotel should be retained as a public house while the other landmark buildings could be used for other suitable uses. Retaining these landmark buildings will improve the character of the area while aiding legibility and providing economic benefits.
Site 1: Scotland Street Church
Site 2: Queens Hotel
Although Scotland Street Church is located just outside the site boundary, it was recognised as a key landmark building in the St Vincentâ€™s area. Any future development of the church should maintain the character of the building which aids legibility in the area and provides aesthetic views when travelling along Scotland Street.
Site 3: Kutrite Works
Site 4: Blue Boy Sunday School
Kutrite works is a grade II listed building located on Snow Lane. The site is currently used as a series of small workshops used for making cutlery, a use which has being maintained since it was built in the mid 19th Century.
Site 5: Nichols Building
Site 6: Don Cutlery Works
Site 7: Doncaster Street Cementation Furnace
Scotland Street Area
Aims and Objectives The Scotland Street area of St Vincent’s currently contains a number of dilapidated buildings which are in desperate need of repair. The key objectives for development in the area include:
Scotland Street Area
Providing an attractive and functioning street scene. Promoting mixed use development along Scotland Street Encouraging continuity of street frontage along the street Maintain views along Scotland Street
With the exception of the Queens Hotel, the current building stock in the area is of poor design quality and the buildings provide no value to the quality of the area. Future development should aim to be sustainable while meeting the design standards set out in this document.
Plot sizes along the street are mixed with some large parcels. Larger sites should use central court-yards with buildings wrapped around the outside to prevent rear elevations being exposed to the street.
Views of the Scotland Street Church should be maintained as the building provides a focal point, improving legibility while adding to the character of the area
Current Buildings stock is of poor quality and unmaintained causing businesses in the area to suffer.
Development should face the street with any on-site parking provided behind the development or under-croft. This helps create distinction between private and open space while maximising the size of the development.
Any Development along Scotland Street should not exceed that of the development it is replacing and development in the areas where buildings currently don’t exist should be kept to a maximum of two stories. This helps maintain views across the site and provides development of a sensitive scale in relation to the street.
Where possible development should be mixed use to encourage a lively and sustainable community. The ground floor of buildings along Scotland Street should be used for shops, cafe’s and restaurants. Ecclesall Road to the south of the city provides a good example of how the street might look.
Snow Street Area
Snow Lane Area
Aims and Objectives The Snow Lane area of St Vincent’s contains a number of small workshops which are used for metal trades and engineering. Future development on this site should enable private enterprise and provide workspace for the existing employers in the area. Key Objectives for development in the area are:
Due to the dramatic topography, development in the Snow Lane area should
ornate according to the site contours. This allows the buildings to blend into the landscape while having obvious economic benefits.
Where possible, parking should be provided under croft to improve the street scene. Some on-street parking facilities may be made available where necessary.
Provide opportunities for private enterprise. Maintain workspace for existing industries. Ornate buildings to make the maximum use of the topography of the area. Provide workshops which are in character with the Sheffield small industry in the area. Many of the workshops in the Snow Lane area are poorly maintained and constructed of poor materials. All future development should aim to be environmentally sustainable and constructed within the footprint of the existing buildings. On street parking may be accepted if all other possibilities are ruled out. Building should not exceed two stories in height.
Photovoltaic tiles could help to make the buildings more sustainable while the topography of the site allows for greater use of solar panels on roofs of existing buildings.
Where possible development should be mixed use to create a thriving community at all times of the day. Live-work apartments could help bridge the gap and improve informal supervision in the area outside of normal working hours.
Shepherd Street Area
Shepherd Street Area
Aims and Objectives The Shepherd area for St Vincent’s currently holds a number of large buildings which are in a poor state of repair. Development on the site can be taller towards Hoyle Street and Shalesmoor. Aims and Objectives for Development include:
Landscaping around the HSBC offices should be improved and parking options revaluated.
The site on the corner of Hoyle Street and Shalesmoor provides opportunities for large scale residential and office development. The building can reach a maximum of seven stories in places with five stories through the majority of the development. Unlike all other development on the site, active frontages should face away from the main road and focus on the new public open space. Parking should be under croft. Office space mixed with residential accommodation will help to create a highly sustainable environment.
Larger plots designed for industrial and commercial use should, where possible be wrapped with smaller development to prevent the exposure of rear elevations and servicing to the street.
Redevelop the building between Scotland Street and Ellis Street. Improve the landscaping of the car park around the HSBC building. Encourage development to be formed around the perimeter block with services and parking located within a central courtyard. Encourage the use of sustainable energy creation across the site and sustainable building materials.
Development should focus around perimeter blocks and internal space should be deigned for flexibility. Car parks and service yards as well as private and communal gardens could be located within the perimeter and actives frontages should be encouraged on the outside of the perimeter block.
References Harman P and Minnis J. (2004) Pevsner Architectural Guides: Sheffield. Yale University Press Parking Standards and Guidelines for New Developments, Sheffield City Council http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/roads/travel/driving/parking/guidelines last accessed 30/04/2011 Sheffield City Centre Master Plan (2008), Creative Sheffield http://www.creativesheffield.co.uk/NR/rdonlyres/38E85187-5644-4039-9534C858DA14C88E/0/ExecutiveSummaryApril09LowRes.pdf last accessed 24/04/2011
Sheffield City Council Core Strategy (2009) Sheffield City Council [online] http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/planning-and-city-development/planning-documents/sdf/core-strategy accessed 01/05/2011
South Yorkshire Historic Environment Characterisation Project. (2007) Complex Historic Town Cores. [Online] Available at: http://www.sytimescapes.org.uk/files/uploads/pdfs/sheffield/S10_Sheffield_Historic_Core.pdf [Accessed 10.04.2011] South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (2011 [online] http://www.sypte.co.uk/ last accessed 25/04/2011