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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: January 24, 2018

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Submitted: January 24, 2018

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Concern over community diversity after new studio application in Sheffield City Centre

 

The growing number of student flats has led some people to raise concern over the community diversity and sustainability in Sheffield city centre.

The latest plan to convert another office block into a purpose-built accommodation with 283 studios has been filed recently. Some residents are concerned that with so many young people and students, city centre’s vibrancy and further development may be restricted due to its lack of age groups and family sizes.

Jean Cromar, 72, said: ‘’I do know from my experience that quite a lot of old people, like myself, like to live in city centre. But the living accommodation is usually one huge room with kitchen at one end. Many old people prefer to have kitchen separately and not have the smell of food while they watch TV or read, so they are forced to give up the idea of moving here.’’

There are roughly 20,000 residents in city centre, among whom 78% are young people and students, while only 3% are elderly people, according to the public housing documents published by Sheffield city council.

Properties in city centre are far from the average size in Sheffield, with two-thirds having two or fewer bedrooms. In 2016, 11% of apartments in city centre have three or more bedrooms compared to 45% citywide.

The lack of provision of housing mix makes it hard to attract elderly people and families to live in city centre even though they intend to.

Professor John Flint of Urban Studies and Planning Department in Sheffield University said housing mix is a key driver of neighbourhood diversity and sustainability.

“For example, because of their stages of careers or life, elderly people usually get great skills and experience. They have more time as well to volunteer for community development and activities, so the city council should try hard to attract them in city centre.

“We recognize the importance of both universities to the city’s economy and the diversity and capacity students bring into the city, but that has to be balanced against the concern that there is a lack of family and elderly housing. The balance between purpose-built housing and family-based accommodation is important for city centre’s development,” professor Flint said.

Planning committee councillor, Bob Johnson said that they have been aware of this unbalanced housing structures and demographic composition in city centre.

“We have probably reached a saturation point now where we have got enough stock to be able to accommodate both universities.

“So what we are asking now any future developers to come forward with, if there is an application for student housing, is that they are easily convertible into houses for the private renter sector, so we try to push developers down that road,’’ he said.


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