Tuesday, November 21, 2017

News: Another step forward for Steel Man

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Plans have been submitted for an Interpretation Hub forming part of The Steel Man which is designed to support and increase the experience of visitors to the landmark sculpture.

The 32 metre stainless steel sculpture will stand on a former landfill site overlooking the M1 between Rotherham and Sheffield. Plans were approved conditionally in 2012 for the art installation based on work by local sculptor Steve Mehdi at Kimberworth in Rotherham.

£4.2m is required to deliver this new landmark for Yorkshire, with a number of high profile companies backing the programme with materials, expertise and financial contributions.

The Heritage Lottery Fund also recognise the importance of the project and are financially supporting the building of a £1m Interpretation Hub which will sit alongside the sculpture. Public donations have helped boost the overall target and further donations are being sought to accelerate how quickly work can begin on-site.

A not-for-profit charitable company, Yorkshire Icon Limited, is pioneering the plans.

The Interpretation Hub building would be sited to the west of the existing vehicular access onto Meadowbank Road at the bottom of the hill, with The Steel Man sculpture at the top of the hill. It is set to include areas for exhibitions, learning and activities associated with sculpture along with a canteen, staff room, shop and outdoor play space. A visitor car park is being created which contains 52 spaces.

It would actually be two single-storey buildings connected together with a chimney as the "heart" space of the building layout. Externally it will reference the industrial heritages of Rotherham and Sheffield.

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A high proportion of the estimated 91,000 p/a visitor catchment will be generated from school visits, for which the Interpretation Hub will offer opportunity to learn more about the industry and heritage. It also offers insight and awareness of potential future careers.

The hub is expected to employ 12 staff, plus volunteers and apprentices and generate a further 200 jobs in the region in the short term, and many more in the long term. A socio-economic report produced by Sheffield Hallam University concluded the project would add in excess of £9m per annum across leisure day visitors, school visitors and business visitors.

The reclaimed site is owned by FCC Environmental and is classed as Green Belt.

The plans, drawn up by AXIS Architecture, state: "The inclusion of the Interpretation Hub should enable the site to thrive with the compelling reason to visit and the quality of the landscape and facilities available on arrival. The quality of the existing area of the site to be developed is very poor but the proposal would significantly enhance this area and integrate it, by the sensitive use of the topography to avoid any immediate or long term harm to the green belt. This is a sensitive and absolute location-specific proposal.

"The Hub will support a significant educational agenda and learning programme present within the entire Steel Man development. It will provide space for learning activities centred on local industries.

"The Steel Man sculpture will not be a viable and financially sustainable one without the necessary income which the Interpretation Hub will generate."

Steel Man website

Images: Yorkshire Icon / Axis

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