Sheffield 'home of football': Council reveals when decision on £100m plan will be made

Council chiefs say plans for a £100m ‘home of football’ in Sheffield’s John Lewis store are ‘exciting’.

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 6:17 am

But they won’t take priority over the ‘many other fantastic proposals’ for the building.

Leader Coun Terry Fox said the council would seriously consider the idea but there would be no 'knee jerk reactions' and no decision until the new year.

He spoke out after The Star reported a global sports company wants to convert the Barker’s Pool building into a football museum with bars, restaurants and pitches on the roof.

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Coun Terry Fox they would seriously consider the idea but insisted it would not take priority over the ‘many other fantastic proposals’ for the building.

HOW LONG HAS THE AUTHORITY KNOWN ABOUT THE PLAN?

It is understood the idea was first put to the authority in early summer.

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Coun Fox said: “Sheffield is the home of football and a proud city of sport, this could be an exciting prospect. But we will not be making any knee jerk reactions ahead of the consultation process where people will have their say on the many other fantastic proposals that we have for the building.”

The iconic store closed for good in June with the loss of 299 jobs.

The iconic store closed for good in June with the loss of 299 jobs. The building is owned by Sheffield City Council which expects to regain control early next year.

The authority says interested parties will have to ‘explain fully their plans’ to placemaking consultants, Fourth Street, hired in July.

The options will be revealed in December. No decision will be made until after public consultation on the City Centre Strategic Vision early in the new year.

Kate Josephs, chief executive of Sheffield City Council, said work to establish the full condition would help them understand viable options. Picture Scott Merrylees

Coun Fox added: “We know how great Sheffield is, how much the city has to offer, I have every confidence in our city centre vision, and it’s great to see that major brands also recognise the potential and want to invest here.

“Whatever becomes of the former John Lewis site, I can guarantee it will be well thought out, inclusive and will appeal to everyone. I’m excited about what is to come for Sheffield – I believe we are creating a truly special city centre.”

WHAT STATE IS THE JOHN LEWIS BUILDING IN?

The Star understands the building has structural problems, asbestos and dilapidated services, such as air conditioning, that could cost £10m to fix - raising the prospect it might be cheaper to demolish and start again.

The building would be revamped with ‘football architecture’ including a central column to represent a halfway line and a tunnel leading to the roof.

Kate Josephs, chief executive of Sheffield City Council, said work to establish the full condition would help them understand viable options.

She added: “In the New Year we’ll be going out to public consultation, to find out what is most important to the people of Sheffield, and a range of options will be put forward, including the information received to date on this proposal.

“We have a fantastic opportunity with this site, and we want to make sure that we explore ideas that support the city’s economic, cultural, creative and social ambitions, to get the very best out of this former Sheffield institution.”

WHAT WILL THE NEW HOME OF FOOTBALL BE CALLED AND WHAT WILL BE IN IT?

‘Sheffield Rules’ would have a museum celebrating the city’s role in the origins of the game, have-a-go football experiences with celebrities, community pitches on the roof and bars and restaurants on the ground floor.

The building would be revamped with ‘football architecture’ including a central column to represent a halfway line. The proposal could also see the John Lewis car park replaced by a residential tower. Some 200 jobs could be created. The global brand is working with a consortium of local companies but is keeping its name under wraps for now.

A global sports company wants to convert the Barker’s Pool building into a football museum with bars, restaurants and pitches on the roof.

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