Wednesday 11 March 2015

A partnership between the University of Sheffield and Sheffield City Council looks set to make dramatic improvements to the University campus if a report to the Council’s Cabinet on 18 March is approved.

Cabinet members are being recommended to give 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 complement recent and planned investment in new teaching and research capacity by the University, with high quality developments such as The Diamond expected to attract thousands of additional students and further research income.

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.

Subject to final detailed consultations on the necessary traffic management measures now under way, the Council is expected to procure and manage the highway works on the University’s behalf, as it has done previously for Sheffield Hallam at Arundel St and Howard Street. There will be no net cost to the City Council as future maintenance will also be covered by the funding

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.

Congestion and road safety issues will be tackled through two new crossings on Western Bank and improvements to two crossings on the Inner Ring Road at Upper Hanover Street. Bus routes 95, 51 and 52 will also be diverted off Leavygreave Road East.

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 as soon as June 2015 and be completed in late 2016.

Councillor Leigh Bramall, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Development said: “I welcome this investment by the University which shows their commitment to being part of a vibrant and successful city centre.

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

Professor Mike Hounslow, who chairs the Project Board for the University of Sheffield added: “The enhancements will create the setting we need to continue to attract top class researchers, teachers and students and will match the striking new buildings we are investing in.

“These spaces perform an important role in promoting interaction and collaboration between disciplines. But we hope they will also make the campus a safe, inviting and interesting place for our neighbours and the wider Sheffield public to use and enjoy.”

Ends

Notes for editors:

It is proposed that the Council lead on the delivery of all public highways works and will procure a contractor by competitive tender. As the accountable body for the SCRIF contribution, the Council will enter into a funding agreement to draw down these funds with the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority.

This report seeks authorisation to conclude a back to back legal agreement with the University of Sheffield to ensure all outputs are achieved and that all costs to the Council associated with development and delivery of the project over and above the SCRIF are met by the University.

Detailed consultations on the traffic regulation orders required to divert buses and pedestrianise Leavygreave Road and parts of other streets is now under way and will be reported to the Council’s Cabinet Highways Sub Committee for approval or amendment probably in April.

This project will deliver one of the key proposals of the City Centre Master Plan 2013 under ‘Knowledge City’. The Master Plan highlights the importance of integrating both universities’ campus master plans into the wider City Centre Master Plan.