Botanic Garden Tapton Experimental Gardens

The new plans for the site are pretty much the same as the previous plans and do nothing to conserve the historic gardens and the plant collection on the site. The council are inviting comments and objections on this new planning application right up to the time it comes before the Planning Board.

On Monday 21 June 2010, The planning board, stated they wanted to visit the sight for it was put off for three weeks You can access the planning application 07/01380/FUL and submit your comments by following here.( )

New to all of this and wondering what all this is about? The Secret Garden was saved from redevelopment as a housing estate last year, thanks to the Broomhill Action Neighbourhood Group vigorous and well-supported campaign to oppose planning permission for the site. Looks like we'll need to do it all again.

Pisgah House is a Grade II listed (will be saved see 09/03207/CAC) residence constructed in the 1820’s, tucked away in a quiet backwater (Pisgah House Road) at the top end of Hoole Rd. It is next door to the Etruria House Hotel, which is also a listed building. Pisgah House has a fine 2-story coach house which is itself a listed building.

To the rear garden of Pisgah House is part of the Botanic Garden on the Tapton Experimental Gardens site. It houses a significant portion of the plant collection. When the Tapton site is redeveloped, whatever public open space remains on the site will adjoin Pisgah House’s garden.

This New aplication will see The Demolition of existing student halls of residence, annex, associated building including temporary structures around experimental gardens and Nos. 26, 28 & 30 Taptonville Road.

What is it?

Founded in 1951, The Botanic Garden contains more than 2000 species of plants and has provided an experimental centre for Sheffield University’s department of plant sciences. The garden is established in grounds that form part of the historic landscape around Hallamgate House (built circa 1780, now demolished), Tapton Elms (now renamed Hadow House) and Pisgah House (the oldest listed residence still standing in Broomhill). The garden contains a number of built structures including a ha-ha, a Victorian walled ornamental garden and a pond, in addition to many fine mature trees. The University want to sell the site to developers who plan to demolish many of the existing structures and build a housing estate, along with a larger development on the site of the Tapton Halls of Residence on the adjoining land.

Where is it?

Main entrance is at number 26 Taptonville Road, towards the top end of Taptonville Road, but the garden also has a second entrance from Hoole Road to the rear. The total land area of the garden is around 1 hectare (2.5 acres). Few people in the community know about it because it has rarely been open to the public.

Why save it?

It occupies such a sensitive site in the heart of our conservation area, and has importance as part of the historic landscape pre-dating (and contemporary with) the development of Broomhill.

It provides amenity for the surrounding houses, and an important habitat for birds, bats, rare newts and other wildlife, in addition to its unique plant collection.

Broomhill is desperately short of public green space and the loss of such a good potential public garden in the centre of our community would be a tragic missed opportunity.

Broomhill has suffered many detrimental changes to our local environment as a result of University expansion: surely the University could give something back by working with the community to conserve this garden?

The land in question was originally the garden of Tapton Elms, a fine house now owned by the University of Sheffield that was built by Alderman John Hobson and his wife Thyrza in 1853. Alderman Hobson and his wife had several children. Their second child, called Albert, who continued to live at Tapton Elms after his parents died, was awarded a knighthood around the turn of the century. He also served as Lord Mayor, Master Cutler and president of the Chamber of Commerce nationally and locally, and sat on the council of Sheffield University.

The general lay-out of the ‘Secret Garden’, as it is known , from old maps. There was an informal lawned area immediately in front of the house and a formal walled garden beyond that. Many of the original features of the walled garden still remain. The residents of Broomhall proposal, which was supported by the 1750 people who signed a petition, is to re-create the original gardens and open them as a small public park?.

This would showcase the time when Sheffield was becoming one of the industrial powerhouses of the world and some of the foundations for the city we have today were laid. Among the legacies of that time are the houses and gardens built by successful businessmen (in the days before Ferraris and helicopters), at least partly to show off their wealth. Re-creating the gardens The residents of Broomhall propose would place Tapton Elms once again in its original garden setting. It is proposed that the house itself should be converted into apartments, and The residents of Broomhall have no objection to that.

John Hobson, who might he be then?

John Hobson was in fact responsible for the development of much of Taptonville Road, where these gardens are situated, and it was the view up the road that prompted John Betjeman to describe Broomhill as ‘the prettiest suburb in England’ back in the 1960s.

Another reason for the proposal is that Broomhill is identified in the current Unitary Development Plan as being extremely short of public open space. Restoring the gardens of Tapton Elms would also address that problem to some extent. We see no other opportunity to do so, given that Broomhill is so densely developed now and almost all land of any size is also owned by the University.

The residants of Broomhall have no general objection to the proposed development on the northern part of the site accessed from Crookes Road. There are concerns from local residents about privacy and over-looking, but The residents of Broomhall generally welcome the redevelopment of Tapton Hall of Residence.

However, they disagree very strongly with almost every aspect of the planning officer’s report where it deals with the southern part of the site, known as the experimental gardens. It ignores or dismisses without proper justification important planning reasons why this part of the site should not be developed.

More on The Proposed: Demolition.

Application Reference: 09/03207/CAC Address of Proposal: Land At Crookes Road And Taptonville Road

Site Of Tapton Hall Of Residence also 30, 38 And 46 Taptonville Road Sheffield

Proposed: Demolition of existing student halls of residence, annex, associated building including temporary structures around experimental gardens Nos. 26, 28 & 30 Taptonville Road
Case Officer: Trevor Sullivan

Miller Homes

Escafeld Estates Ltd Finance Department Firth Court Western Bank Sheffield South Yorkshire S10 2TN

The Applicant is using an Agent to handle their case. DLP Planning Ltd Agent’s Name: Mr R Bolton Agent’s Address: 11 Paradise Square Sheffield S1 2DE