Grand designs proposed for Sheffield university expansion

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WITH its glass and lattice facade Sheffield University’s new £80 million engineering block will stand out on the city landscape.

A model has been created by the university showing how the development of the former Jessop Hospital will fit into the surrounding area.

The plans have caused controversy because they include demolishing the Grade II listed Edwardian wing of the old women’s hospital.

Sheffield Victorian Society and the Hallamshire Historic Buildings Society are set to object once a planning application is made.

Keith Lilley, director of estates and facilities management at Sheffield University, said: “The exterior will have a diamond grid pattern as part of its design to be a low carbon building.

“The different panels, some of which will be opaque, will manage solar gain within the building and the facade will also assist with natural ventilation rather than relying on air conditioning.”

Mr Lilley said the new building will house laboratories and the majority of the university’s engineering plant and equipment.

“Most engineering teaching will also be transferred to the new building,” he added.

Current engineering facilities in the Sir Frederick Mappin Building, Amy Johnson Building and Sir Robert Hadfield building are to be refurbished at a further cost of around £50 million.

Mr Lilley said the proposal to demolish the listed hospital building - in place of previous plans to restore it as a ‘learning hub’ - had been developed because expansion of the university ‘outweighs’ the need to preserve it.

He said: “We have 40 listed buildings in the university’s property portfolio - we take heritage very seriously and we are one of Sheffield’s most serious investors in historic buildings.

“But there are times when the need for economic investment is more pressing than the need for that building to be preserved.”

Mr Lilley said around 150 people attended consultation events organised by the university last week about its plans for the site.

He said: “Generally, people were positive about the proposals and some who were sceptical to begin with warmed to the idea of what we are proposing.”

A planning application is expected to be submitted to Sheffield Council in August.