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Sheffield City Block

A number of buildings to be replaced by a single development:


I wasn’t sure whether to create this post, as the proposed development is actually very good, demonstrating an active frontage and strong elevations. However, my issue is with the massing of the development; it has completely ignored the urban grain of the buildings it looks to replace.

The site is currently occupied by 9 different buildings providing variety and rhythm along the street front. This configuration will have evolved from the medieval period to arrive at this complexity of built form.

Due to land assembly, the milieu of buildings will be replaced with one monolithic building, demonstrating no variation of detailing along the street front. This is seen throughout provincial cities. Land assembly is damaging to the preservation of urban grain. Scale is everything, and plot shapes and sizes should be in of themselves seen as heritage assets.


Buildings in central Sheffield

Plans to demolish buildings on Upper Allen Street:


Upper Allen Street Sheffield.JPG

Sweet cluster of buildings to be needlessly demolished and replaced by flats. Do the develops not understand that the very market to which they appeal likes old quirky urban high streets.

Go and buy a copy of Jane Jacob’s book The Life and Death of Great American Cities. Lesson 1; small building plots, rhythmic high streets, buildings of diverse ages….

I adore these buildings, which would never pass by  building regs these days. And that is what makes them geometrically interesting, inimitable, and human.

Crown Street Car Park, Leeds

Application to demolish a number of Victorian Buildings along a back lane in Leeds City Centre:

Crown Street demolition plan.JPGWhat concerns me about this application is not the loss of the buildings – albeit reprehensible to destroy the Victorian urban grain – rather it is the opportunity cost of developing this site and not creating much needed city centre green space that dismays me.

This could have been a beautiful setting for some breathing space in Leeds, with the backdrop of  a railway viaduct, the disordered roofscape of Kirkgate, and the Corn Exchange.

The Victorians would have ensured this space was civic. How they did that seems to be a lost art.