‘World class’ £81m engineering building for Sheffield cleared by judges

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A “WORLD-CLASS” engineering facility is set to be built by Sheffield University, after judges at the Court of Appeal backed the council’s decision to grant planning permission for the £81m development.

The Victorian Society, in conjunction with Save Britain’s Heritage, had applied for the judicial review as the development will mean the demolition of the Edwardian wing of Sheffield’s former Jessop Hospital.

The New Engineering Building (NEB) will open to students in the 2015/16 academic year.

Keith Lilley, director of estates and facilities management at Sheffield University, said: “We are pleased that the appeal was heard so quickly and that the future of the NEB is now assured.

“This decision means we can complete the NEB in time for the start of the 2015/16 academic year, allowing us to welcome 1,300 additional engineering students to the university, along with all the associated economic benefits the development will bring to the city and the wider region.”

Sheffield Council’s leader Julie Dore described the development as a “huge opportunity for jobs and growth in Sheffield” and added: “It was a difficult planning decision and not everyone agrees with it, but we have had huge backing from many quarters including business.”

Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: “The new engineering facility demonstrates the increasing ambition of the city. This investment puts us up there amongst the best.

“It’s hard to stress how important this is to the long-term success of Sheffield and the region.

“Recognition of being the best brings investors and growth which in turn generates wealth and employment.

“This investment, in combination with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, the arrival of Rolls-Royce and the creation of the University Technical College, will increase confidence that in turn will encourage investments within our business community.”

However, those who wanted to save the Grade- II listed building, off Broad Lane, described the decision as “deeply regrettable”.

Clem Cecil, director of Save Britain’s Heritage, said: “The demolition of listed buildings should be exceptional.

“It is deeply regrettable that the university ignored strong local feeling and has pushed ahead with plans for a new block that will jar with its historic setting.”

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