Go-ahead for gallery expansion

Artist's impression of the new �1.7 million extension at the Site Gallery on Brown Street, Sheffield

Artist's impression of the new �1.7 million extension at the Site Gallery on Brown Street, Sheffield

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Plans for a £1.7 million expansion project at a Sheffield city centre art gallery have been given the green light.

The Site Gallery, on Brown Street, is set to almost treble in size by extending its gallery, café and events space, and opening a new shop, workspaces to let and a participation area.

The proposals, which were submitted to the city council as a full planning application, have now been approved.

In a report, officers said: “The proposed development will provide generous, accessible gallery accommodation and a contemporary, contextual façade to the street which, it is considered, will result in significant improvements to the street and the wider area.”

A grant of £970,000 was secured last year from the Arts Council, and Sheffield Council has pledged £125,000 towards the expansion. Another £700,000 needs to be raised by the gallery.

The scheme involves moving into the empty premises next door, previously occupied by Sheffield Independent Film.

The new gallery - designed as a ‘simple white cube space’ - will have a floor-to-ceiling window, and the extension will be clad in handmade red brick along its 56 metres, fronting on to Brown Street.

Planning officers said: “The new façade is considered to reflect more closely the historic character of the area.”

The expansion will accommodate bigger exhibitions, as well as allowing Site to grow its business activities.

In a design statement included within the plans, architects DRDH said the scheme chimed with the proposed new Knowledge Gateway project, linking Brown Street with Fitzalan Square, as well as plans for Hubs Square, a public space which will revive the area next to Sheffield Hallam University’s Students’ Union building.

Neighbours the Sheffield Archive, as well as studios for the Human League, Red Tape, the Foundry and Steelworks, will remain.

The gallery will have its own, dedicated entrance, while the building’s other users will have a new shared entrance through the existing café.

Laura Sillars, Site’s artistic director, previously said the scheme would help to create a nationally unique ‘art street’.

Construction work is set to start early next year, with the aim of opening in summer 2017.