Plans for Sheffield’s historic Leah’s Yard given green light

Proposals to revive historic Leah’s Yard on Cambridge Street and create a social hub for creative independent businesses were approved by the Local Planning Authority today.

Submitted in July by Sheffield City Council and its Strategic Development Partner, Queensberry, the plans are the latest to be approved as part of Sheffield’s transformational Heart of the City development scheme.  

The Grade II* Listed Leah’s Yard off Cambridge Street – formerly a collection of small industrial workshops – has long been listed on Historic England’s ‘Building at Risk’ register. Preliminary structural and roof work is soon to be completed, bringing the building back into a safe and workable condition.

The approved plans, designed by architect FCBStudios, will see the existing complex refurbished largely in its current form. A bustling central public courtyard will be surrounded by small boutique shops, while the first and second floors will host around 20 independent working studios.

Sympathetic new-build structures will adjoin the southern side of the development, greatly improving pedestrian access between the central courtyard and Backfields.

Once completed, the venue will be run by Tom Wolfenden, CEO of SSPCo, which manages the Cooper Buildings on Arundel Street, and James O’Hara of the Rockingham Group, which runs bars such as Public and Picture House Social. The duo plan to breathe new life into the site by transforming it into an experience-led destination for local independent retailers and businesses, creative workshops and social events.

"We are delighted to see the plans for Leah’s Yard approved. It enables us to futureproof a key heritage asset for decades to come, while also delivering a modern and fresh offer that befits an important city centre like ours. As a new social destination for independent retailers and creative small businesses, it is also very reflective of Sheffield’s core values as a city of makers."
Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Executive Member for City Futures: Development, Culture and Regeneration
Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Sheffield City Council, and James O'Hara, Rockingham Group (left to right)

Andrew Davison, Project Director at Queensberry, added:

"Planning approval is an important milestone. We would like to thank everyone involved in the scheme and also those who have taken the time to share their comments on the proposals. We now look forward to the next phase of appointing a construction contractor and bringing the Leah’s Yard vision to life."

As part of the wider Heart of the City programme, which is creating a thriving new central hub for the city centre, Leah’s Yard will sit alongside Cambridge Street Collective and Bethel Chapel. Both of these developments are already under construction and will deliver a contemporary food hall, cookery theatre, fine dining restaurant and a live entertainment venue.