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The new-look Ebenezer Chapel  in Shalesmoor
The new-look Ebenezer Chapel in Shalesmoor

Ebenezer crowd-pleaser catches judges’ attention

15 February 2017

A run-down former Methodist chapel, the site of a derelict working man’s club and a grade two listed industrial works have all been transformed with the help of Sheffield City Council’s planning enforcement team.

Now judges have shortlisted the Council’s work on so-called Stuck Sites across the city for a coveted Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) award for Planning Excellence.

Stuck Sites require the use of planning enforcement powers to enable eyesore sites to be redeveloped.

This action has led to three housing schemes being built and occupied so far.  Derelict buildings have been made good or demolished and the owners persuaded of their housing potential.  Nearly 800 homes now have planning permission across the city.

Meanwhile the multi-award winning Grey to Green scheme, which saw the former inner ring road transformed into a sustainable open meadow with public spaces and distinctive artwork, has also been shortlisted in the Excellence in Planning to Create Economically Successful Places category.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for infrastructure and planning at Sheffield City Council, said: “Our planning enforcement team has taken a proactive role to help unlock sites across the city for redevelopment. The results across the city are impressive and have created new distinctive homes for our residents.

“The team has worked constructively with landowners to convince them of the need for proper maintenance and of the housing potential of their sites.

“The Stuck Sites programme is prepared to look at any buildings or sites that are not being properly maintained and are causing problems to see if we can use planning enforcement powers to help.

Public artwork placed on Snig Hill as part of the Grey to Green scheme

Public artwork placed on Snig Hill as part of the Grey to Green scheme

“I’d also like to highlight planning’s role in the award-winning Grey To Green scheme, working with partners to transform the former inner ring road into the colourful and sustainable environment it is today.”

Judges said the Stuck Sites project was an example of high-quality professional planning work, devising solutions to stuck housing sites, through co-ordinated and proactive planning enforcement, design and regeneration work.

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 The Manor , 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 has 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 has caught the judges’ attention is work to transform the former Lion Works on Spital Hill in Sheffield.

Lion Works has been improved after intervention by councillors

Lion Works has been improved after intervention by councillors

Lion Works is a Grade II 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.

The winner will be announced at the RTPI’s Awards Ceremony on 15 June 2017 at Milton Court in the City of London. This year, the ceremony will be presented by Wayne Hemingway MBE, co-founder of fashion label Red or Dead and Hemingway Design.

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.