Gleadless Valley Masterplan

A walk around the neighbourhood
A walk around the neighbourhood
Gleadless Valley Church
Gleadless Valley Church
Rollestone Woods
Rollestone Woods
Ironside Road
Ironside Road

Gleadless Valley is a vast social housing estate, which was built in the south of Sheffield in the late 1950s. The innovative and experimental design was celebrated at the time of construction, appearing in publications such as "Ten Years of Housing in Sheffield 1953-1963"  (The Housing Development Committee Sheffield; 1st edition (1962)). Older residents still remember bus-loads of visitors who would travel to Gleadless Valley to view the unique design, whilst proud locals referred to the Valley as ‘Little Switzerland’, due to its park-like hilly terrain. 

More recently, the reputation and built fabric of Gleadless Valley has deteriorated. The Valley’s outdated housing stock has seen little repair or replacement since construction 60 years ago. Crime rates are higher than the city average, and green spaces have become challenging to manage and maintain.

In June 2018, Sheffield City Council appointed URBED - alongside ADE Regeneration - to analyse the present social, economic and environmental conditions in Gleadless Valley, and work with the current residents of Gleadless Valley towards establishing a new strategic masterplan for the neighbourhood. 

Information regarding the developing masterplan and consultation process can be viewed on the council website. 

 

Baseline Report

 

URBED's initial research highlighted that one of the main challenges of the Gleadless Valley estate is that it was planned to accommodate a maximum of 17,000 residents, based on an average maximum occupancy rate of 3.87 per dwelling. Changing household structure and family sizes within the past 60 years means that the Valley’s current population is at 55% of the maximum occupancy level. Introducing additional housing into the area could help to support better local retail and communal facilities, improve public transport services and make sure more open spaces are overlooked. As well as providing additional affordable housing, the existing stock needs upgrading, with the masterplan considering whether refurbishment, remodelling or replacement is the most suitable option for sites where problem housing types occur.

Connectivity is poor within Gleadless Valley. The steep terrain and the barrier of the central Rollestone Woods means that there are only a limited number of roads that connect through the estate. The roads that do connect have to take lots of cars and become very busy whilst others feel isolated. Steep footpaths are often poorly maintained, and better lighting along with better overlooking are required to improve the safety of the streets. Car ownership is 12% lower in Gleadless Valley than in Sheffield as a whole, meaning there is also high dependence on public transport. Some residents feel that buses are infrequent, and routes focus only on the city centre, with poor connections to other parts of Gleadless Valley. 

Education and employment opportunities are some of the biggest challenges in Gleadless Valley, with high unemployment rates and low income households. There is a feeling that the youth are currently underprovided for, and lack positive activities.

Addressing these issues will not only improve the area for those that live here now, but will help to re-create the aspirational vision of Gleadless Valley – as it was planned to be. The masterplan envisages Gleadless Valley once again becoming an area which people would like to visit and a neighbourhood where people would like to move to. This will in turn bring greater prosperity and amenities to the estate.

 

Project blog

09.01.2019, 17:40
Public Consultation

The consultation period ran from 20th October 2018 until 11th November 2018. Feedback was captured through a paper and online questionnaire, and respondents were given three weeks to return their feedback.

During this consultation period three public exhibitions were held over two days (Saturday the 20th and the 27th of October) in the Valley. There was a good flow of residents and local stakeholders visiting the exhibitions throughout both days.

The options for the masterplan were presented on a series of exhibition boards at the events, covering ideas about housing, retail provision, employment, public facilities, sports and play, and natural space. Local people were handed a questionnaire, which asked questions about the options on each board. They were asked to state if they supported, were neutral or did not support each option. For those who couldn’t attend on the day, a pdf version of the exhibition boards was made available on the council website along with an online version of the questionnaire. 

A total of 70 responses were received, with the majority of feedback showing support for the emerging schemes. The most popular schemes included making better use of the currently empty Hemsworth site on Constable Road, improving the entrance and communal areas within several of the blocks of flats and maisonettes, and introducing running routes and nature trails into the existing woodland, in order to make better use of this natural asset.

09.01.2019, 17:16
Design For Change Workshops

The work that is being developed for a Gleadless Valley Masterplan has been informed at every stage by consultation engagement and events with local residents.

Sheffield City Council began the consultation process in 2017, engaging with 450 residents through a survey that asked what works well and what doesn’t work in the Valley. 

In September 2018 URBED continued the engagement process with 4 Design for Change workshops discussing aspirations and worries. The first workshops were held at the John O’Gaunt Pub and at the Terry Wright Centre, and introduced local residents and stakeholders to masterplanning principles, asking consultees to identify the problem areas within the Valley, teaching urban design principles and applying this learning within Gleadless Valley. Consultees then suggested areas they thought should not be changed (hard areas) and areas they thought would benefit from change (soft areas). 

The second two sessions used the Hard and Soft Plans drawn within the first workshops, and asked residents to start designing options for the area, which included new play areas, new buildings, and new nature trails.

The feedback informed emerging strategies, which were then shared back with the community in three public events in October 2018.