A council initiative that is helping to regenerate eyesore and derelict buildings after years of neglect has been named as one of the best schemes in the country.

Sheffield City Council received a silver medal for its work in making tough brownfield sites easier to develop into homes at the National Royal Town Planning Institute Awards for Excellence in Planning 2017.

The council has intervened to ensure buildings including a run-down former Methodist chapel, a derelict working man’s club and a grade two listed industrial works were transformed, leading to nearly 800 homes being built across the city and reduced anti-social behaviour.

Judges were impressed by the council using planning law to improve derelict buildings and also recover its costs from landlords.

Councillor Ben Curran, Cabinet Member for Planning and Development at Sheffield City Council, said:  “We are committed to seeing development on brownfield sites into suitable accommodation. Far too often, we see landowners allowing buildings to stay vacant or left to fall in disrepair. Our approach has been to take tough action to require maintenance and development work to happen.

“This maximises the use of brownfield rather than greenfield land for new housing, supports community cohesion and brings derelict properties back into use. It has become a vital tool in the council’s approach to often historic but neglected buildings and enabled us to use planning law to encourage owners to redevelop them as housing.

“We are delighted that judges recognised that this work is helping to create a sustainable city.”

Stuck sites include the former Ebenezer Chapel in Shalesmoor, which has been transformed from a derelict shell into 11 occupied apartments in the Kelham Island Conservation area.

Council planners served a S215 Notice requiring the building to be re-roofed and made wind and watertight, before working with the owners on a new scheme which they completed following advice from the team.

The team also worked at the site of the former Foundry Working Men’s Club in Richmond Park, which had become a target for anti-social behaviour, vandalism and arson after its closure.

The site sits on the edge of an established neighbourhood, with residents close by, so removing the problems have had a huge, positive impact on the quality of life in the area.

After demolishing burnt-out buildings on the site and re-landscaping, planning enforcement officers are working with the owners and other interested parties to bring the site forward for housing.

A third scheme which caught judges’ attention was work to transform the former Lion Works on Spital Hill in Sheffield.

Lion Works has been renovated
Lion Works has been renovated

Lion Works is a grade two listed building in a prominent, skyline position overlooking the city centre, which was holding back the regeneration of the Spital Hill area and giving rise to numerous complaints.

With New Homes Bonus backing, the Council carried out major re-roofing, internal bracing and associated works, which were necessary to make the building wind and watertight, in default of the Section 215 Notice.

There were 15 finalists in the Excellence in Planning to Deliver Housing category from all over the UK and Sheffield City Council received the silver medal in front of an audience of more than 500 property professionals.

Notes for editors:

The RTPI Awards are the most established and respected awards in the UK planning industry. Running for 40 years, they celebrate exceptional examples of planning and the contribution planners make to society.