'Souk' plans for Sheffield's Old Town Hall backed
Plans to give Sheffield's crumbling Old Town Hall a new lease of life - with an indoor market, and hotel rooms in the former court cells - have been welcomed by Star readers.
The dilapidated former courthouse on Waingate, close to the city centre, would be converted into a mixture of apartments, hotel 'pods' and a 'souk' marketplace with cafés, bars, shops and work spaces, under plans submitted yesterday.
The Grade II-listed landmark dates back to 1808 but has fallen into disrepair since closing as a courthouse in 1996, and in 2007 the Victorian Society placed the building on its list of most at-risk buildings in the UK.
The long-awaited plans for its revival were lodged with Sheffield Council by Urbana Town Planning on behalf of new owner Efekoro Omu, of Aestrom OTH, who it emerged earlier this year had bought the premises from G1 London Properties.
A number of Star readers have now taken to Facebook to welcome the move.
Simon Carey said: "Sounds like a great idea to use the building will be good to see a market back in the area."
Paul Ibbotson added: "Hope it happens. Would make a nice building for a market. Something like a scaled-down version of Kirkgate Market in Leeds would be nice."
Katy Payne posted: "Sounds like a good idea let’s see how it goes."
Brian Holmshaw, of the Friends of Sheffield Old Town Hall, said: "What's being proposed is new and it's interesting. It's an idea which could give a real boost to the area."
Charles Dunn, associate at Urbana Town Planning, said: “The Old Town Hall is one of Sheffield city centre’s most important heritage buildings and everyone involved in this project understands that we have a responsibility to take care of this much-loved asset and reverse its recent decline.
“The project will bring the building back into active use and secure its viable long-term future. The proposals will not alter the exterior architecture of this listed building, whilst the internal works have been sensitively designed to retain and restore many of the internal features.