Rescuing 20 at-risk Sheffield buildings could generate 300 new homes

Conservation officer Zoe Mair at the Farfield Inn, one of the buildings featured in a council-backed drive to save 20 at risk Sheffield buildings by 2020. Picture: Scott Merrylees
Conservation officer Zoe Mair at the Farfield Inn, one of the buildings featured in a council-backed drive to save 20 at risk Sheffield buildings by 2020. Picture: Scott Merrylees

Saving 20 Sheffield buildings from being lost to dereliction could provide 300 new homes across the city, it is thought, as a drive to rescue a series of at-risk places by 2020 continues.

Seven historic metalworking factories, two former pubs, three old churches and a disused courthouse have all made a list compiled by Sheffield City Council, which aims to bring each site back into use by next year.

The abandoned Middlewood Church, which once served the former Wadsley Asylum - later Middlewood Hospital.

The abandoned Middlewood Church, which once served the former Wadsley Asylum - later Middlewood Hospital.

The buildings are all privately owned, the authority has confirmed – and it says successful conversions could create 300 residential properties, although other uses will be considered. Every place is listed at Grade II or above by Historic England.

Middlewood Church – an abandoned venue that served the former Wadsley Asylum – and the Farfield Inn at Neepsend, a pub that was built in the 1750s, are both on the register.

The inn is among several buildings included despite having been sold, but planners are still waiting for construction work to start. The closed pub, which was gutted in the floods of 2007, went under the hammer for £250,000 last January.

Coun Jack Scott, the council’s cabinet member for development, said: “We don’t want to name and shame owners – but we want 2019 to be the year when we ask that they work with us to get these buildings back into use. If done correctly, these buildings could provide more than 300 new homes across the city. In some cases, we understand that plans are forthcoming – but we need to hear from developers to get them off our list.”

The first local register of buildings at risk was published in 2001. At that time it had 97 entries, while the figure stood at around 60 only three years ago.

“We are no different from other major cities in having a number of buildings at risk but our register has gone down to around 30 now – and we’ve identified 20 that we want to get off our books and back into use,” said Coun Scott.

The '20 by 20' list was the idea of Zoe Mair and Ruth Connelly, the council's two conservation officers. Zoe previously said the initiative was sparked by the number of cranes visible on the city skyline as post-recession construction schemes take shape – suggesting a ‘building boom’ was happening in Sheffield.

“Many of these buildings have a rich place in Sheffield history,” said Zoe. “We have a proven record of success in restoring derelict buildings as a glance at our list of a few years ago would demonstrate. In the last few years we have helped to develop the former post office headquarters as Sheffield Institute of Arts, Ebenezer Chapel as private houses and Jaywing as a private business. We also know that there are other buildings which require heavy investment and support to get them back into use. We hope that we can work to shine a light on these historical gems and make them into the buildings they once were again.”

20 by 20 – the list

Name, Historic England listing, type/former use 

Former Middlewood Church, Middlewood Drive; Grade ll; Former church

Beehive Works (rear), Egerton Lane; Grade ll*; Metal trades building

Spital Hill Works, Spital Hill; Grade ll; Metal trades building

North Yard, 54 Well Meadow Street; Grade ll; Metal trades building

Don Cutlery Works, Doncaster Street; Grade ll; Metal trades building

House and stable block, Longley Lane; Grade ll; Former stable block

30 Mowbray Street; Grade ll; House

The Ball, Darnall Road; Grade ll; Pub

The Farfield Inn, Hillfoot Road, Neepsend; Grade ll; Pub

Old Hall Farm, Thorn House Lane, Brightholmlee; Grade ll*; Farm

Spout House, Spout Lane; Grade ll; House and outbuilding

Kingston Works, Malinda Street; Grade ll; Metal trades building

299 Glossop Road; Grade ll; House

Loxley Chapel, Loxley Road; Grade ll*; Former chapel

1 Haymarket; Grade ll; Office

Tapton Court, Shore Road; Grade ll; House/accommodation

Anglican Chapel, Cemetery Road; Grade ll; Former church

Countess Works, Countess Street; Grade ll; Metal trades building

Kutrite Works, Snow Lane; Grade Il; Metal trades building

Former Tribunal Court, East Parade; Grade ll; Legal building