Row over future of former Sheffield Coroner's Court rumbles on as decision deadline nears

The former Sheffield Coroner's Court on Nursery Street.
The former Sheffield Coroner's Court on Nursery Street.
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A campaigner fighting against proposals to demolish Sheffield's former Coroner's Court has written to the owners of the building pleading with them to re-think their plans.

Valerie Bayliss, chairperson of the Friends of the Old Town Hall heritage group, has penned a letter to Paula Kham, chairperson of the Metropolitan Support Trust, who are listed as owners of the Kelham Island site on documents submitted to Sheffield Council.

Developer Firestone Developments has submitted a demolition notice to the council signalling its intentions to consign the building to rubble to make way a new apartment block.

In the letter, Ms Bayliss said: "This building though unlisted is of considerable historic importance in this city. It was built in 1913 to the designs of the first city architect, F E P Philips and was state-of-the-art at that time.

"Bomb damage led to internal remodelling in the 1950s but it remains an important structure, close to two listed buildings and contributing significantly to the environment of the area."

The notice, which was submitted to Sheffield Council planning bosses on July 18, stated that an apartment block would be built on the site in place of the court building, which would be subject to a separate planning application.

Ms Bayliss also labelled the timing of the application 'cynical' as the council is currently finalising plans to make the area around the Nursery Street site a conservation area.

In the letter, she added: "The many people who are concerned at your proposal have seen no sign of any consultation with the community and firmly believe that demolition will run counter to the promotion of economic and environmental wellbeing of the area."

Firestone Developments has submitted a demolition notice for the building, which stated that it hoped to start work as soon as Monday, August 13.

George Johnston, of Firestone Developments, said: "I bought the building with outline planning consent to cut the building in half and put a new block behind it and join them together.

"But it wouldn't work and it's not a viable scheme so the architect came up with a cost-effective alternative. I agree that the existing building is nice but it is in disrepair and is unoccupied and I feel that a new block of flats will help redevelop the area."

Ms Bayliss has registered a formal objection to the demolition notice with Sheffield Council, which has until August 20 make a decision.