Plans revealed for Sheffield’s Old Town HallPosted by: Ashley Birch
Aestrom OTH, which is owned by Efekoro Omu, has now submitted plans to create a 'mixed purpose building', after purchasing the property back in February
After years of neglect at the hands of absentee developers, Sheffield’s Old Town Hall in Castlegate was finally bought by a Sheffield-based owner who, according to Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment, ‘loves the building’.
The news that the Grade II Listed property had finally been wrestled away from G1 London Properties was revealed in February this year, but since then, the new owners have kept tight-lipped over their ‘really good vision’ for the building.
Today we can reveal that plans have been submitted to Sheffield City Council seeking to restore and refurbish the Charles Watson designed town hall, to create a mixed purpose building, which would include 12 serviced apartments, 12 'pod' hotel rooms and a mixed-use souk, or indoor market area.
Under the ambitious plans, former cell blocks will be transformed into bedrooms with adjoining en-suite facilities, while the benches in Court Room 1 would be removed to create a living space. A spiral staircase would also be installed adjacent to the cell blocks, which would involve the removal of the electric motor which was formerly used as part of the mechanical air ventilation system in the cells.
In addition, the plans propose to install roof terraces and communal stores at roof level. In order to create part of the terrace, the pitched roof of the building connecting the main building to the law court and cells will be removed and made into a flat roof.
A heritage statement included with the plans said: “The impact assessment considers that the proposed plans are largely of minor to moderate impact.
“However, it also concludes that the proposed development will positively contribute to the conservation of the building for now and future generations by halting decay and ensuring its future maintenance.
“Furthermore, historic recording works of the building will allow for an interpretation of the building to be publically disseminated which, in turn, will enhance appreciation of the significance of this structure
In summary, the report added: “Iit is often the case that a physical life of a building exceeds the functional life of a building.
“It is evident that the Old Town Hall is in need of a sympathetic programme of works which will halt its decay and ensure the future maintenance of the structure and its public appreciation.
“The proposed development will result, to a degree, in a small loss of evidential value. This mixed use development, however, will halt its decay, bring the building back into use and create publically-accessible areas within the structure which will enable the public to visit, understand and appreciate the architectural features and history of the site.
VIBE understands that these plans were formulated following meetings with councillors and the campaign group Friends of the Old Town Hall, and there will now be a period of public consultation, details of which will be revealed soon.
Keep checking back with VIBE for news on the council's decsion, which is expected in the coming weeks and months.