AllFeasibility ReportStrategic Planning

Gell Street/Springfield School

Year | 2005
Location | Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK
Client | Sheffield City Council with Friends of Gell Street Park

Recent commercial developments in the Devonshire Quarter of Sheffield have dramatically transformed the area. Whilst these new buildings are of debatable architectural quality, their construction has resulted in the raising of a considerable amount of ‘planning gain’ money through ‘Section 106’ agreements. This money is to be spent on improvements to public spaces in the area.

Gell Street Park finds itself in a unique position, between a school, an area of 19th Century terraced housing, a new housing estate, the A61 dual carriageway and the large-scale West-One development [mainly comprised of apartments].

The park presently consists of playground equipment [swings and slides], a grassy mound and a lot of mature trees, none of which are in good condition. Residents complain that it is unsafe at night – serving as a venue to drug taking amongst other inappropriate activities. The school on the other hand is an attractive Victorian building, albeit with a below average playground.

Sheffield City Council have designated Gell Street Park as a priority within a strategy to improve public spaces in the Devonshire Quarter area of Sheffield.

A substantial amount of ‘Planning gain’ money has been raised to fund appropriate schemes through the construction of developments in the Devonshire Quarter, including the West-One development.

The live Project team 9 was given the task of proposing a scheme that would improve the Gell Street Park area for the benefit of local residents, the pupils at Springfield Primary School and the many other users of the park.

At the core of the project was the need to:
– improve the quality of the park and its facilities;
– make the area feel more secure;
– integrate the park with the school grounds

The Live Project team developed their ideas through consultation sessions with the pupils and teachers of Springfield Primary School, local residents, including the ‘Friends of Gell Street Park’ group, and planners and other members of the council. It created an important opportunity to raise the threshold of what could happen in this area, both in terms of how the requirements of the school and local residents may be fulfilled, as well as in the quality of the design solution. The team made some informed design suggestions for Gell Street Park that borders Springfield School.