A new university engineering block on which work is set to start this year will boost Sheffield’s world-wide reputation, a professor said.
The Jessop East building, an £81m home for the University of Sheffield’s engineering department, was objected to as it involves the demolition of a Grade II listed Edwardian wing.
Campaigners fought a long battle - supported by thousands of people – to save the extension to the former Jessop Hospital until a bid for judicial review was dismissed. Work on the ‘state-of-the-art’ site is likely to start later this year and be complete by 2015.
Professor Mike Hounslow, pro vice chancellor for engineering, said benefits would include hundreds of new jobs, extra students, and more businesses coming to Sheffield.
There has been a 23 per cent rise in demand for engineering places at the university this year - and it is claimed the block will bring millions into the local economy.
He added: “The city and university has a fantastic position in engineering and this is a great opportunity to build on that tradition. It means we can bring extra really high quality students here to complete high quality research and work with industry to create many good jobs for people in Sheffield.
“It will bring more than 1,000 students. That’s hundreds of students buying things in shops, paying rent to people in Sheffield, but most of all going into the world and telling people what a great place Sheffield is and how good it was at training them as engineers.
“Our graduates work in big employers across the world and I don’t think we can do a better thing for Sheffield than drive up its reputation.”
Firms will move to the city for its engineering expertise, insisted Professor Hounslow, and 500 jobs created in construction alone.
He said he ‘didn’t see’ demolishing the wing would set a precedent for other buildings as campaigners feared and three years of work had found it ‘was not possible’ to incorporate the wing in the building.