The former Coroner’s Court in Sheffield could be demolished in a matter of days unless developers are persuaded to change their minds.
Local and national campaigners are working against the clock to implement any measures available to halt the demolition of the historic building, which could begin as soon as Monday 13th August, to be replaced with a block of flats.
Used until very recently as a business centre, the building on Nursery Street was built in 1913 by renowned Sheffield architect F. E. P. Edwards. It was state-of-the-art when it was constructed, integrating coroner’s court, mortuary, post-mortem rooms, viewing chapel, witnesses’ waiting rooms and police accommodation together with a yard and stabling. Bomb damage in World War Two lead to some renovations including youth court facilities and substantial changes to the interiors.
Valerie Bayliss, Chair of the South Yorkshire group of the Victorian Society, said: “The building has unfortunately never been listed, though it sits next door to two listed buildings. The interesting thing is that the building is included in a proposed Castlegate Conservation Area which is still in the development stage with the council. Once the CA is approved it would be much harder for developers to demolish buildings within it, which is why we think this prior notice has appeared now. Without the protection that listing or Conservation Area status provides, this fine building is at immediate risk and we have literally days to save it from being lost forever.”Anna Shelley, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society, said: “We urge Sheffield Council to implement a Building Preservation Notice for the Coroner’s Court to buy campaigners more time to prove its importance as a historic building of interest. Its seems completely baffling to allow the demolition of this fine historic building mere months before implementing statutory protection with the new Conservation Area, and it would send a very negative message in terms of the value Sheffield Council places on historic buildings.”