SAVE Britain’s Heritage has launched a campaign to stop the demolition of Jessops Hospital in Sheffield to make way for a new RMJM-designed engineering building
The group’s director Clem Cecil confirmed on BBC Radio Sheffield that pre-action letters have been exchanged between its solicitors and the city council ahead of a possible judicial review of the decision to allow Sheffield University to demolish the Jessops Hospital wing.
Cecil said: ‘Jessops Hospital is part of a great period of civic pride and achievement in Sheffield, built on the money of a great philanthropist [the steelmaker Thomas Jessop]. It could be saved and adapted by the university.
‘We believe that they [Sheffield City Council] have misinterpreted the NPPF, and the case deserves to be reviewed in court.’
RMJM was granted planning back in December for the controversial scheme for Sheffield University. Plans for the £81 million engineering building would see the Grade II-listed Edwardian wing of the Jessops Hospital demolished.
English Heritage, The Victorian Society, The Conservation Advisory Group and the Sheffield Community Heritage Forum had originally raised concerns about the plans.
Valerie Bayliss of the Victorian Society added: ‘The building is an early example of the development of services for women at the beginning of the 19th century. It was very unusual at the time.’
The proposed 19,500m² building by RMJM will house 19 teaching laboratories over six floors – one below ground and five above. It has been criticised for providing just 5 per cent more space than if the existing building were to be refurbished.
The Victorian wing of the hospital, originally constructed in 1878 has already been converted into the university’s music department, and a 1970s extension to the building was demolished in 2007 to make way for the Sauerbruch Hutton and RMJM designed Jessop West development.
Construction on the new development is due to begin in 2013 and is expected to complete by 2016.