So yet again Sheffield has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons.
The University’s inaptly named Diamond building (not very precious!) deserved to win first prize for the worst building in the UK and I was very disappointed when it did not win an Olympic Gold.
The building should never have been allowed in the first place, and the Grade II listed Edwardian wing of Jessop Hospital should never have been sacrificed to allow this monstrosity to be built.
Jessops was demolished to create 5 per cent more space yet, amongst both tutors and students the Diamond has developed a name for “wasted, unused and outrageously mismanaged space”. What a reputation!
There was much opposition to the demolition and the case even went to the High Court but the sole barrister fighting for its retention could hardly win against the defendants’ five barristers. No expense spared you see as it’s only public money.
The effect on the adjacent Grade II listed St George’s Church has been tragic and I could not agree more with Building Design magazine who describe The Diamond as “desecration of a helpless neighbouring church”.
It looks like Sheffield University is at it again in their determination to colonise the Leavygreave and Brook Hill area, and the next one for the chop will be the University Arms aka Club 197 and formerly St George’s Vicarage.
The surviving Victorian backwater of Favell Road to the rear is also set to go, together with other nearby buildings of merit. I won’t even comment on their radical traffic plans for Western Bank which promise total mayhem for motorists.
Sheffield University is all- powerful in this city and they know they can get away with murder. Sheffield Council have to kow-tow to them as they know just how much our city depends on the student economy.
This looks set to happen with the new Retail Quarter but this time it’s the developers who will be able to do what they want in the council’s desperation to get the scheme off the ground. Not only are historic buildings under threat but also street patterns which have been in place for the last two centuries. Many historic (but unlisted) buildings such as Henry’s, The Sportsman (now Tap and Tankard), Chubby’s, The Lion’s Lair and the Athol Hotel, to name but a few ,will be swept away. The latter should have been de-clad years ago as I fear that something rather nice may be lurking beneath its mock Tudor façade.
If their replacements are anything like the new buildings on The Moor then that should get rid of the tourists.
When is someone going to realise that when people visit towns and cities, they like atmosphere and history and while Sheffield will never be a York or a Chester, we’ve still got quite a bit left. Let’s make the most of it like other northern industrial cities do.
People flock to the vibrancy of Leeds and Manchester and it is no coincidence that they are both full of historic buildings.
It’s not rocket science but sadly the powers-that-be just don’t get it.
Chairman, Hallamshire Historic Buildings Society