No decision yet on future of Old Coroner’s Court

A controversial planning application to replace the Old Coroner’s Court with an apartment block was deferred at the 11th hour.

Wednesday, 18th September 2019, 11:33 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th September 2019, 15:48 pm
Old Coroner's Court.

Councillors were due to consider a five to seven storey building with 77 apartments and ground floor commercial units at Nursery Street.

The Old Coroners Court, an attractive two-storey red brick and stone building, is due to be demolished to make way for the new development despite a long fight by campaigners to save it.

But the item was bumped off the planning agenda at the last minute because officers are awaiting further reports.

Planner Michael Johnson told the board: “This was deferred this morning because we are waiting for the Environment Agency to lift their objection based on the original flood risk. We were hopeful before we got to committe we could work through that but unfortunately it has not been possible.

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“We agreed with the applicant to defer it and we are confident it will be presented at the next planning committee.”

Coun Peter Garbutt requested a site visit. He said: “It’s absolutely vital we see the environment. There are some inaccuracies in the report about how it won’t impact on any listed buildings because there are several in the area. We need to be there to see them and how it impacts on them.”

Planning chairman Coun Jayne Dunne agreed to the site visit.

The development has prompted objections from Hallamshire Historic Buildings, who say the Old Coroner’s Court dates back to 1913 and was designed by city architect FEP Edwards as a state-of the art coroners court, mortuary, post mortem rooms, viewing chapel and witnesses’ waiting room.

It says the building is still attractive, has historic value and is part of a collection of unlisted significant buildings that contribute to the character of the area. Campaigners have dubbed the new apartments “mundane”.

Firestone Developments can knock the building down and because it’s not listed or in a conversation area the council has very limited grounds to object.

Planners are recommending councillors approve the scheme, saying it will make a “positive contribution” towards the supply of housing on a brownfield site.