CONTROVERSIAL plans for Sheffield University’s new £80 million engineering building have been backed by an independent report – which forecasts it will provide a major boost for the city’s economy.
The development is due to be constructed at the top of Broad Lane, close to Brook Hill roundabout and planning permission will be sought at a council planning board meeting next month.
But the scheme has come under fire as it will mean the demolition of the Edwardian extension of the old Jessop Hospital, a Grade II listed building. Others have criticised the building’s futuristic design, claiming it will be out of place next to the restored Victorian wing of Jessops.
The university insists the city’s economic regeneration will be best served by its plans and it has commissioned a report by independent consultants Oxford Economics to back up its case.
The verdict is that the construction phase of the building and its first year of operations will generate £44.5 million for Sheffield’s economy.
And after that the expanded engineering faculty will produce almost £21 million for the city every year, partly through income raised through the admittance of extra students who will be spending money in the local economy.
The new building will be able to accommodate 1,600 extra students by the end of the decade, according to the university’s planning application.
Additional benefits include the creation of up to 500 jobs during the construction phase, scheduled to take place between 2013 and 2015, and 623 new jobs once the building is up and running.
University Vice-Chancellor Professor Keith Burnett said: “It is clear that this massive construction project – the largest ever undertaken by the University of Sheffield – would have a huge impact in helping to support the economic recovery,” he said.
■ A model of the proposed new building will be on public display in the Town Hall between 10am and 5pm today.