Sheffield's Cannon Brewery site sold to developers for £4.5m paving way for new chapter in history

The birthplace of a once best-selling bitter has been purchased for £4.5m paving the way for a new chapter after more than a quarter of a century of dereliction.

Developers Capital & Centric say the former Cannon Brewery site in Sheffield, which closed in 1999, will become a "vibrant and distinctive neighbourhood".

Plans have been submitted for between 530 and 550 homes in residential blocks up to 18 storeys high on two sites either side of Boyland Street.

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It comes after the South Yorkshire Combined Mayoral Authority agreed to give C&C a £11.67m grant - despite the Competition and Markets Authority warning in January an assessment by SYCMA lacked detail.

The Cannon Brewery site in SheffieldThe Cannon Brewery site in Sheffield
The Cannon Brewery site in Sheffield

C&C said it needed the taxpayer-funded subsidy to address a "viability gap" due to inflation on the scheme which it would otherwise be facing a loss on.

A range of estimates given by C&C as part of its hybrid planning application suggest it would turn an eight per cent profit on a 530 homes scheme costing £138m with a subsidy of £22,000 per unit.

The acquisition of the site from owner Hague Plant was completed last Friday.

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South Yorkshire’s Mayor, Oliver Coppard, said: “Cannon Brewery, which takes its design cues from Neepsend’s historic identity, is an exciting opportunity to bring an under-developed brownfield site back to life.

“Through collaboration with C&C, we want to ensure that the plans being developed set a new high bar for regeneration across South Yorkshire. The ambition is not just for more and better homes, but for the whole development to attract investment, create spaces for new businesses to establish and further cement our well-deserved reputation as being a brilliant place to live.”

The plan is to retain some of the key buildings from the brewery including the Brew House and Water Tower, while the Grain Warehouse is listed as being "potentially" retained.

Along with seven new residential buildings ranging in height from five to a maximum 18 storeys, there will also be flexible workspaces for co-working and start-up businesses, ground floor independent retail, food and drink outlets and new public spaces.

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SYCMA’s subsidy was going towards the “acquisition, remediation of the site, demolition costs, pre-construction site investigations, transport and highway works, and professional fees”, the CMA report stated.

C&C has previously delivered the Eyewitness Works flats project in Milton Street, Devonshire Quarter. Development director Richard Spackman said: "There’s a real buzz about the future of Neepsend as the city’s next growth district, but everyone wants to see the neighbourhood designed in a way that Sheffield can be proud of.

“With the Cannon Brewery site now fully acquired, we’ll be getting going with surveys and investigations that will underpin the detailed plans we aim to submit to Sheffield City Council later this year.” Once home to Stones Brewery, the site was the birthplace of the UK’s best-selling bitter at the time, before the doors closed for good in 1999.

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