Future of Sheffield's historic Old Town Hall set to be decided next week

The future of a landmark historical building will be decided next week as councillors discuss plans to convert it into a hotel and apartments.

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 1:10 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 3:51 pm

The Grade II listed Old Town Hall, also known as The Court House, has laid derelict on Castle Street for 23 years.

Developers now want to convert the former law courts, judges’ offices and a 20th century block into 12 apartments.

Former cells would be transformed into 12 “pod” hotel rooms and a souk market with 11 stalls.

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Sheffield's Old Town Hall

Planners say the building has been abandoned and neglected by subsequent owners and is a “cause for concern” as it suffers from wet and dry rot.

They say: “Without intervention and a viable future use, it is likely the building will fail further, possibly resulting in the overall loss of some features and structural stability problems.”

There have been two rounds of consultation and planners say a “significant amount” of revised proposals but heritage groups are concerned internal fixtures and fittings will be removed, erasing that it was ever a courthouse.

The Victorian Society, Friends of the Old Town Hall and Castlegate Preservation Trust say the surviving features are very significant and are concerned there is no plan to re-use or store them. A prime concern are the courts which historians say will be destroyed.

Planners say at least 50 per cent of the 42 benches due to be removed will be reinstated in the building. The remainder will be kept elsewhere for future re-use.

They add: “The development will result in the loss of some features but these are all considered to be reasonable, justified and necessary to support a redevelopment.

“It would be clearly unrealistic to retain all elements of the building, and its features, in its original format, as this would significantly affect the range of potential future uses and deter developer interest.

“The scheme would help to provide a future for this significant building which formerly played a major role in the administrative functions of the city.

“While public access would only be available to the souk area, it is a positive attribute that the building will be opened up again.”

Councillors will discuss the scheme at a meeting on December 18.