Sheffield University site’s £45 million future to bring 1,000 jobs

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Sheffield University is pressing ahead with the next stage of its 10-year masterplan - a £45 million development for 10,000 students and staff on the edge of Broomhill.

The university has drawn up plans to put up a new building for its social sciences faculty, on the site of an existing full-size sports pitch at the junction of Northumberland Road and Whitham Road opposite Weston Park Hospital.

More than 470 new jobs at the university will be provided once the scheme is complete, with a further 275 roles supported by spending from students, their friends and relatives.

Construction will support around 300 jobs over two years.

Over £30million is set to be spent on construction, with a further economic boost of £13.6million coming from purchases from local suppliers, among other factors.

Currently the faculty’s 14 departments, including architecture, geography, planning and law, are spread across 19 different buildings.

The university says the new building will allow it to unite three departments - economics, politics and sociology - as a ‘hub’ under one roof.

It will also complement its activities at the nearby Elmfield building, such as journalism studies and the school of education, and the management school on Crookesmoor Road.

The university says that, once finished, the block will be one of the best of its kind in Europe, meeting the demands of expanding numbers of staff and students. Social sciences alone caters for 9,000 students and 1,000 staff.

A public consultation on the plans is running until midday on July 25, and residents’ views are being canvassed.

The site will be landscaped to create more green space, including a ‘social plaza’ with seating and planting which will be open to the public. Work is also planned to change the flow of traffic around the busy junction.

The university is keen to emphasise that the proposals will not lead to a reduction in sports facilities. Two new six-a-side football pitches are planned next to Maxfield Avenue, on the existing car park behind the site. A new full-size pitch is also se t to be installed at the sports centre on Warminster Road, Norton.

Leylandii trees - considered to be a ‘negative feature’ - at the front of the site along Whitham Road are expected to be removed,w creating more light. These will be replaced with other species around the new development on a two-for-one basis.

Keith Lilley, Sheffield University’s director of estates and facilities management, said the new building will offer ‘world-class learning and teaching spaces’.

“The design has been created with the local environment in mind, and will be one of our lowest-carbon buildings on campus.”

The masterplan, published in 2014, encompasses several projects, such as the £80m Diamond engineering building off Broad Lane, and changes to roads around the central campus, including pedestrianising streets.

A consultation event, open to the public, is happening on Tuesday, July 19, between 4pm and 8pm at the Goodwin Sports Centre on Northumberland Road. Architects, transport consultants and university staff will be on hand to talk about the new social sciences building. Visit www.sheffield.ac.uk/efm/estatesdevelopment/projects/social-sciences-building to submit comments.