PLANS to turn part of a disused Sheffield city centre bank into a mini-market look set to be thrown out.
An application had been submitted to Sheffield Council seeking permission to convert the former HSBC in Church Street, opposite Sheffield Cathedral, into two retail units.
But planning officers are recommending councillors reject the scheme when they meet on Tuesday.
In a report to members, they say: “The main proposal is to subdivide the banking hall into two retail units by inserting a mezzanine floor, with a vertical division of the ground floor.
“The left-hand side is intended for use as a convenience store by a well-known national supermarket.
“The remainder of the ground floor and all the mezzanine floor forms a second retail unit for occupation by a tenant as yet unknown.
“The applicants argue the building has been empty for five years and, in that time, no developer has come forward with a viable use.
“They conclude subdivision as they propose is the only way of securing the use of the building.”
However, the officers say the scheme ‘adversely affects the character of the Grade II listed building’.
The bank was built 175 years ago, as the headquarters of Sheffield and Hallamshire Bank. It became part of the Midland Bank and later HSBC, before HSBC closed the branch in 2007 after it opened a new Sheffield city branch in nearby Fargate.
The building is described as having ‘a fine stone façade with columns and windows between and, internally, an imposing domed banking hall unusual in the city’.
In their report, officers say the proposed mezzanine floor is ‘excessive’ and ‘likely to interfere with proper appreciation of the banking hall with its ornate ceiling and dome’.
Members of the council’s city centre, south and east planning committee will discuss the application at the meeting in Sheffield Town Hall on Tuesday at 2pm.
The officers say: “The applicants are advised the council would welcome a discussion about the heritage-led options for restoring and re-using the building, and are invited to contact officers to arrange a meeting at a convenient time.”
How do you think the bank building should be restored and brought into use?
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