Approval for University of Sheffield's 'world-class' social sciences building

How the new faculty of social sciences could look.
How the new faculty of social sciences could look.
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Councillors have backed the University of Sheffield's plan to create a 'world-class' home for more than 9,000 students.

On Tuesday members of the planning committee voted to grant planning permission for a new faculty of social sciences building.

The department, which will combine teaching and social space and a research hub, will be built on sports pitches opposite Weston Park Hospital in Broomhill.

Councillors also approved plans for a new sports centre that will eventually replace the Goodwin building in Northumberland Road.

New sports pitches will be built at the university's Norton site to replace those being lost.

Construction of the social science building will start early next year and should be finished by spring 2020. Work on the sports centre will then follow.

Inside the new building.

Inside the new building.

​Professor Sir Keith Burnett, university president and vice-chancellor, said: "As a scientist all my career, I have been astonished at how much of my energy as a leader has in fact fallen into the area of social science, engaging with government, understanding an economy and how we live together.

"For our work as medics, engineers and scientists to really bite, we need social sciences to be the gear that connects us to the way the world works.

"Our new flagship venture for social sciences will allow us to partner with global organisations in ways which will also benefit our city, creating opportunities for the next generation along the way."

Social sciences is the university's biggest faculty. With more than 9,000 students it makes up 34 per cent of the total population.

The proposed new sports centre.

The proposed new sports centre.

It has 13 departments, from politics to architecture, and several research institutes that cross various subjects. It also houses the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership, a collaboration across the social sciences at the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York.

Vice-president and head of faculty prof Gill Valentine said: "Our Faculty is leading the way in impactful learning, teaching and research.

"The new facility has the potential to secure future development in these areas by bringing our students and academics together in an innovative, interdisciplinary environment.”

Several concerns were raised about the size of the building and impact on pedestrians crossing Northumberland Road, but councillors were happy with the university's plans.