22 July 2015

A partnership between the University of Sheffield and Sheffield City Council looks set to make dramatic improvements to the University campus.

Earlier this year, the Council’s Cabinet gave the go-ahead to secure £2.89 million of Sheffield City Region Investment Funding (SCRIF) to the total project cost of £8.36 million. The University will match this funding with £5.47 million of its own investment to transform the central campus into a high quality pedestrian and cycle friendly environment.

The scheme will extend the existing high quality ‘Gold Route’ which already links Station Square to Devonshire Green, providing new and enhanced pedestrian and cycle routes through the University campus from St Georges to the Arts Tower.

It will also improve connections between the North Campus on Broad Lane and the St Vincent’s Quarter, now home to many students. Works on the University’s own estate, such as the Arts Tower precincts and North Campus will be wholly funded by the University.

The new high quality public routes and spaces will not only benefit the growing numbers of University students and employees, but also the wider public of Sheffield.

Councillor Leigh Bramall, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Development, who recently approved the plans said: “This investment by the University shows their commitment to being part of a vibrant and successful city centre.

“At the same time, the City Region’s funding contribution recognises the importance of our universities to the wider regional economy whilst creating an attractive and high quality public realm for all.

“We have considered the feedback received from the recent consultation on this significant project. We believe the proposed changes will improve the movement and safety of pedestrians and cyclists in that area – bearing in mind the large additional numbers of students who will be on campus.”

Changes are being proposed to some city centre roads following the public consultation on the plans for the University’s central campus.

These changes are intended to improve the public highways and enhance the environment. They will also help to support the increasing number of students after the September opening £81 million Diamond building, the University’s largest ever capital investment in teaching and learning.

A number of roads in the area of the campus would be restricted to traffic, either permanently, with access for part of the day or with one-way movement only. The closure of Leavygreave Road East in particular will result in the diversion of three bus services – the 51, 52 and 95.

Keith Lilley, Director of Estates and Facilities Management at the University said the proposals created exciting opportunities for improving the campus: “There’s no doubt that these major changes will bring real benefits to students and staff, but we’re also really determined to open up the campus to members of the local community through improved pedestrian and cycle access and a much greener environment. We hope that, by making it easier and safer to move around and through the campus, local people will find it much more welcoming.”

The proposals echo ideas first put forward in the City Centre Master Plan in 2013 and in more detail in the University’s Campus Master Plan in 2014, both of which received high public support in consultation.

Designed by internationally recognised Fielden Clegg Bradley Architects and Masterplanners, landscape architects Grant Associates and Engineers Aecom, working with the Council’s in-house teams, the exciting proposals include new paving, lighting, planting and public art and will create a new central pedestrian and cycle friendly core from Mappin Street to Weston Park.

Work could start this summer and be completed in late 2016.

Ends

Notes for editors:
Proposed improvements:
1 The University’s proposed route improvements run throughout the area from Weston Park, in front of the Arts Tower, crossing Western Bank, onto Hounsfield Road into Leavygreave Road West, crossing Upper Hanover Street to Leavygreave Road East to join Sheffield City Council’s Gold Route Extension proposals which then continue along Regent Street towards Division Street. All the proposals are detailed in the plans in Appendix B.
2 A new pedestrian and cycle crossing would be placed on Western Bank linking the Arts Tower forecourt to Hounsfield Road. The existing crossing, lower down will be relocated away from the junction. Both crossings will be crossed in a single movement as it is not possible to provide adequate waiting areas in the central reserve.
3 On Upper Hanover Way, the crossing by the tram stop would be amended to be in line from one side to the other. The pedestrian crossing close to Brookhill roundabout will be moved nearer to the Supertram tunnel and will be converted to create segregated pedestrian and cycle crossings.
4 To accommodate the large numbers of pedestrians near the Information Commons and Jessop West buildings, it is proposed to close Leavgreave Road to all motor vehicle traffic.
5 The closure of Leavygreave Road east of the ring road requires the relocation of the 52 and 95 bus routes. The new proposed route for the frequent 51 and 52 services on Western Bank is by amending the junction with Clarkson Street to allow buses to turn right. They would then turn into Durham Road and then join Glossop Road to re-join their regular route.
6 In addition, it is proposed to close the slip lane from Glossop Road to Upper Hanover Street. This will give buses priority on Glossop Road and as a result inbound journey times are slightly quicker. The slip lane is also noted to cause minor congestion when vehicles leaving the City Centre on Glossop Road use it to turn right.
7 As buses would no longer use the bottom section of Western Bank, the inbound bus lane and pre-signals would be removed. This would provide additional capacity for general traffic. Outbound bus routing remains the same, but the bus stop moves out of the layby to generate space for the crossing.
8 During the building works to the Children’s Hospital and on Durham Road, all inbound buses will route via Mappin Street. The 95 route will remain here when the 51 and 52 route to Clarkson Street. It is proposed to make the section of Mappin Street from Pitt Street to West Street one way to ease the flow of buses.
9 To further improve pedestrian and cycle facility around the Campus, it is proposed to make the following sections of road one way, with access restricted between 09.30 and 18.30 Monday to Friday:
• Leavygreave Road from Regent Terrace to Gell Street
• Gell Street from Leavygreave Road to Glossop Road
• Victoria Street from Leavygreave Road to Glossop Road.