THE former National Union of Mineworkers headquarters next to Barkers Pool in Sheffield city centre is due to be converted into a casino.
Barnsley-based Brook Leisure is aiming to transform the building, creating a casino and entertainment complex with two “high quality” restaurants and a roof-top bar with views across the city. A total of 130 jobs are predicted.
Brook Group chief executive Jason Brook said: “The NUM building is one of Sheffield’s most prominent buildings, but has been left behind throughout the city’s recent regeneration activity and it’s hard to believe that the UK’s fourth largest city does not have a city centre casino.
“We are incredibly excited at the prospect of bringing the building back to life as a unique and new entertainment destination, which will in turn create new employment opportunities.
“We have committed to a lease on the building and are very hopeful that the council will continue to support us in our efforts to create further opportunities and see this building finally brought into use.
“The next stage in realising the building’s full potential will be to obtain planning consent and commence the necessary refurbishment works.”
The NUM offices were built in the 1980s when union president Arthur Scargill moved the headquarters from London. At one time, there were plans to clear the site to make way for offices and, more recently, there was the idea of relocating civil servants from Moorfoot to the existing building, which faces the City Hall.
Now a 38,000 sq ft casino is on the cards and would join the leisure empire of the Brook Group, which already operates the Embrace nightclub on the other side of Barkers Pool and the Crystal bar in Carver Street, adjoining the former NUM HQ.
These would not be affected by the latest plans. Embrace already has a casino licence, which would be transferred to the new business.
Details of the scheme are now in the hands of the council, which will scrutinise the implications, although the principle is being welcomed. Coun Helen Mirfin-Boukouris, cabinet member for business, jobs and growth, said: “The development of this building plays a pivotal role in the regeneration of the whole City Hall area. Already we have seen Barkers Pool and the City Hall transformed.
“I hope the developers can do the same with the former NUM site to add to our city’s regeneration as well as creating much-needed jobs for the people of Sheffield.
“The detailed proposals will be considered by the planning committee which will wish to ensure that the scheme is of a high quality suitable to the important position in the city centre”
Sheffield-based Axis Architecture has designed the project and the Brook Group was represented in the lease deal by BSW Property Consultants, with David Jackson, of Fernie Greaves, acting for the NUM.
BSW director Ian Wrightson said: “This represents excellent news for the continued regeneration of Sheffield city centre, adding to its existing entertainment ‘offer’ and ensuring it continues to compete with other major city centres as a destination.”
Sheffield currently offers the G Casino in Duchess Road, off Queens Road, and Napoleons Casinos in Owlerton and Ecclesall Road.
A few years ago it tried to attract the UK’s first super-casino, with potential sites lined up next to Meadowhall, at Don Valley Stadium and at Sheffield United’s stadium.
Eventually, though, the Government pulled the plug on the whole idea.
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