Sheffield’s heritage will blend with a modern day tower block after councillors backed plans for city centre flats to be built around a historic furnace.
The former HSBC building on Hoyle Street will be demolished to make way for 658 student bed spaces and 247 residential units.
A key part of the development will be the preservation of a cementation furnace on the site. This dates back to when the site housed steelworks and the furnace is now noted as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade II listed building.
Designed for the manufacture of blister steel, the original raw material for crucible steel, it was built in the mid 19th century and remained in use until 1952. Planners say it’s the “sole survivor” of a characteristic industrial building.
Planners were keen to preserve the furnace and were backed by Historic England, which said while the development would cause some harm to the heritage of the site, it would secure the long term conservation and management of the furnace.
Planning officer Lucy Bond told councillors: “The restoration of the furnace is critical and we have been in discussion with Historic England. It is a big scheme but the scale adjacent to the furnace will be reduced.”
Mike Hall, director of Jefferson Sheard Architects, told the committee that developers has worked extensively with planners, historians and conservationists to safeguard the furnace and were committed to its preservation.
”We have been established in Sheffield since 1957 and we are pleased to have this opportunity to positively contribute to the growth of our city with this scheme.
“The design team took extensive pre-application consultations and worked positively with planning, highways, urban design officers, Historic England and South Yorkshire Archeology Service.
“The site contains an important local and national heritage asset with the furnace and it was a key consideration throughout the design process. The applicant has worked closely with Historic England and the council to ensure a well designed scheme has been developed to enhance the site’s heritage while providing ongoing maintenance and management of the ancient monument.”
Mr Hall said the mix of units would create a “balanced community” and added: “This is a high quality redevelopment of a vacant site.”
HSBC left the site in 2016 and it has been empty ever since. Councillors agreed unanimously with the scheme. Coun Alan Law said: “The furnace is absolutely brilliant and will be a real focal point.”