Historic building can have modern extension despite objections

A steel company will be allowed to build a modern extension to its historic premises despite objections from conservationists.

Monday, 20th August 2018, 8:45 am
Updated Monday, 20th August 2018, 8:50 am
How the new MEPs extension will look

Steel consultancy company MEPs was established 40 years ago and bought its current Grade II listed premises at 263 Glossop Road in 1990. It says it desperately needs the extension so it can continue to expand and recruit staff.

Conservationists opposed the plans, saying the three-storey glass-fronted extension was “unsympathetic” to the historic building and Hanover Conservation Area.

How the new MEPs extension will look

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The planning committee had mixed views with councillors Rob Murphy and Jack Clarkson voting against it but the rest of the councillors voting in favour.

Brian Holmshaw, who was speaking on behalf of Sheffield’s heritage community, told the committee: “There’s no objection to the scale or massing of this extension, it’s the design that’s an issue.

“It’s not only not in keeping with a prominent site on Glossop Road but completely alien to it. I’ve no objection to modern buildings but there’s a time and a place for each one. There are no extensions of this type, scale or with these building materials in the vacinity. It does not in any way compliment the original building or the listed buildings close by.

“If accepted, Sheffield Council would be actively destroying the character of Hanover Conservation Area which was established in 1978 to preserve the late Georgian feel of the area.

“This is a very nice run of buildings but once this change has been made there will be irreversible harm to the look and feel of this area. It will set a pattern for the gradual erosion of the conservation area.”

Andy Thomas, from Thread Architects, said originally 263 Glossop Road was part of a large run of three storey terraces that fronted Glossop Road and Upper Hanover Street with shop units on the ground floor. During the 1980s, a number of the terraces were demolished to build the ring road.

He said: “These works left the former party wall of 263 Glossop Road exposed and a small garden where part of the neighbouring building had stood.

“The facades of these buildings, fronting Glossop Road, are handsome and similar in scale although with a variety of materials and detailing that gives them each an individual character.

“However, the necessary demolition of the former terraces for the construction of the ring road has created a visually unsatisfactory urban corner that does not enhance the conservation area.”

Mr Thomas said the extension would provide the quality and type of space needed for MEPs to “flourish, grow and remain in the city centre”.

He added; “The new extension is of its time but is sympathetic to its historical context, acting as a book end to the variety of facades along Glossop Road. We believe that the design is of high quality and will enhance the site and the conservation area.”

Coun Rob Murphy said: “It is not in keeping with the conservation area and sticks out rather than blends in. It’s not appropriate.”

But Coun Peter Price said: “One of the beauties of Glossop Road is the variety of buildings and this is certainly better than the blank white wall which is currently there.”