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Leah’s Yard to be given a new lease of life

Four men stood on a roof top in highly visible clothing.
L-R: Nalin Seneviratne, Director of City Centre Development at SCC, Cllr Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Business and Investment at SCC, Andrew Davison, Project Director at Queensbury and Paul Roberts, Director of RF Joinery and Shopfitting Ltd.

New developments in Sheffield’s Heart of the City II scheme are taking place, as work at Leah’s Yard gets underway and further plans for Cambridge Street are given the green light.

Local construction firm, RF Joinery, has begun essential structural works on the listed Leah’s Yard building on Cambridge Street this week.

A Grade II* Listed building, Leah’s Yard is viewed as an important part of Sheffield’s industrial heritage and houses a collection of small, former manufacturing workshops.

As part of the transformational Heart of the City II scheme, Sheffield City Council and its Strategic Development Partner, Queensberry, are undertaking preliminary works to bring the derelict building back into a usable condition. The work will include significant structural reinforcement, roof repairs and new windows — ensuring the building is once again watertight.

The company responsible for the works is Sheffield-based RF Joinery, who specialise in construction, refurbishment and shop fitting contracts in Sheffield and the surrounding region.

While the long-term vision for Leah’s Yard is still at an early stage, there is a genuine desire to see the workshops reimagined as creative ‘makers’ hubs with a distinct Sheffield identity. 

A number of credible submissions have been received in response to a call for expressions of interest, and a shortlisting process is now getting underway.

Leah’s Yard sits within Block H of Heart of the City II, which will be the cultural and social anchor of the scheme, combining existing and new architecture to create a destination which is uniquely Sheffield.

Adjoining Leah’s Yard, the plans for another element of Block H on Cambridge Street – which will include a food hall or similar social offer, a live entertainment venue and a new outdoor square – received planning approval last week. Named Cambridge Street Collective, this part of the scheme also includes significant heritage retention. It will revitalise the famous Henry’s Corner, DINA building and Bethel Chapel, with a new structure added behind which will contrast with and complement the older architecture.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Business and Investment at Sheffield City Council, said:

“We are attempting to retain a lot of attractive heritage across the Heart of the City II scheme, while also ensuring we create new spaces that are usable and sustainable to the local economy.

“Leah’s Yard is a particularly special part of the Heart of the City II project. It has a great story within our city and bringing it back to its former glory was always high on our list of priorities.

“It’s an exciting challenge and more detailed plans will be unveiled in due course. However, we truly believe that Leah’s Yard — alongside the newly approved plans for the neighbouring Cambridge Street Collective and Bethel Chapel — will help create a new cultural and social focal point in the city centre.”

Andrew Davison, Project Director at Queensberry said:

“We’re delighted that our plans for Cambridge Street been given the go ahead. It will act as a gathering space for people to enjoy Sheffield’s vibrant cultural scene — with the restoration of Leah’s Yard adding a further sense of history.

“We’re excited to be moving ahead with this important project and look forward to sharing news of our construction timescales and operators in due course.”

Paul Roberts, Director at RF Joinery and Shopfitting Ltd said:

“As a Sheffield-based construction firm, we’re really pleased to be involved in bringing back to life such a valuable part of our city’s heritage.

"Leah’s Yard has a rich history and is important to a lot of people, so it will be great to see it back in good condition again within the Heart of the City II scheme.”