Delay over all-clear for £80m Jessop plan

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.

FINAL permission for the proposed controversial demolition of the Edwardian Wing of the old Jessop Hospital to make was for an £80m engineering complex for the University of Sheffield is being delayed because of an error over the consultation process.

Councillors gave the go-ahead last December for the wing to come down, despite protests from conservation groups.

The final word rests with Communities Secretary Eric Pickles because of the implications for a grade II listed building - but the verdict is being held up after the council was told it has not consulted all the relevant organisations.

It means that the council will have to reconsider the university’s application for listed building consent.

The outcome is expected to be the same on Monday, with the authority already having agreed with the university that it is not practical to save the Edwardian wing as part of the scheme to make the engineering faculty one of the best in the world.

But the move gives critics the chance to revive their protests.

With the final decision yet to be made, Sheffield Victorian Society and other conservation groups are still fighting the plans, which prompted an online petition with more than 2,500 signatures.

A council report says: “Following the referral of the application to the secretary of state, it became apparent that five of the six national societies had not been notified.

“The referral to the secretary of state has been put on hold and the outstanding societies were consulted.”

One of the groups, The Ancient Monuments Society, is urging the university to incorporate the Edwardian wing into the new complex.

It says the demolition of a principal listed building is now “an extraordinary rare event in England”.

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings is pressing the council to ‘review justification’ for the demolition, saying the wing is entirely worthy and capable of a sound and sensitive reuse.

The Georgian Group and the Twentieth Century Society say they did not wish to comment. So far the Council for British Archaeology has not responded, and the sixth group is the Victorian Society.

Council planners are undeterred, saying they are “satisfied that the only way to deliver the specific requirements of the university’s brief is by demolishing the listed Edwardian building and that no alternative sites were available in the necessary timescales and of the right size and location to meet the faculty’s needs.”

Both the university and the council believe the proposed development will boost not only the university’s standing, but also the local economy.