Thursday, November 19, 2020

News: New owners mean new direction for historic Rotherham building revamp


A historic Rotherham building that has been a former residence, an exclusive country club and a rehabilitation centre for miners, could be in line for a new use, if updated plans are approved.

Rothbiz has previously reported on Firbeck Hall, which dates back to 1594, where Sophia Property Developments took on the dilapidated property in 2014 and brought forward plans for restoration, reuse and redevelopment. A detailed planning application was submitted to Rotherham Council based around a £6m renovation of parts of the estate to create apartments and the demolition of more modern extensions to be replaced by dwellings.

Restoration work was ongoing but costs have increased as the building was in a worse state than originally thought. One Construction And Building Group Ltd bought the site last year and has now submitted a fresh set of plans.

Local architects, Building Link Design, have been retained and the new proposals are to create luxury retirement apartments for the over 55 age group.

The plans explain: "The Firbeck Hall development will provide homes for over 55's providing a range of 1 2 and 3 bedroom apartments across 3 settings, the hall, The Stables and the new apartment building. Residents will have access to the additional facilities privided throughout the site, consisting of Restaurant / Bistro, Library, Commumnal Lounge, Parlor, Spa, Pool and Gymnadium along with the external bowling green and the extensive grounds.

"The provision of an over 55's residential complex adds a development aimed at a sector of the community for which Rotherham has limited provision."

The main hall, which has been in a poor state of repair, would be reonvated and converted into 22 apartments as well as a communal bar, library and parlour for the residents use. The stable block would also be converted into seven apartments.

Firbeck Hall is a Grade II listed building that has remained unoccupied since it closed as a hospital in 1990. The whole roof had to be replaced and external stonework has already been cleaned and repointed, with areas damaged reciving a lime render.

In creating the apartments the majority of existing masonry walls are proposed to be retained. The 20th century extensions to the West of the hall are due to be demolished.

A new apartment building consisting of 32 apartments is proposed, with applicants explaining that new build development is needed in order to make the project financially viable.

Also in the plans is a contemporary dwelling within the walled garden and a new building to house a residents pool, spa and gymnasium.

The plans state: "The primary reason for the creation of these dwellings to the rear of the Hall and the dwelling to the Walled Garden is to create the financial means of restoring the hall.

"The previous application included eight large dwellings to the rear of the hall. Having carefully considered the target market it was determined that these dwellings would prove totally out of sync with the over 55's community to be created and would lead to vacant dwellings which would be difficult to sell."

The new planned single storey dwelling is designed to sit within the walled garden at a lower height than the majority of the surrounding walls, "removing any impact on the listed buildings in particular the adjacent stable block."

Applicants add that: "Whilst the building of new dwellings within the green belt and the grounds of a listed building is against policy the extra special cicumstances of their creation far outweighs any negative impact on the area, if anything the new dwellings enhance the setting of the hall."

In 1820 the property was let to the Peech family of the steelmakers Steel, Peech & Tozer of Templeborough in Rotherham. Further additional alterations occurred in 1935 when the hall was opened as a country club. At the outbreak of the Second World War the hall was used by Sheffield Royal Infirmary and the Royal Airforce.

It was later bought by the Miners Welfare Commission for use as a rehabilitation centre for injured miners and was last used as a rehabilitation centre for industrial injuries.

It is the period of ownership under Sheffield Stockbroker Cyril Nicholson that is of most interest. The Firbeck Hall Club opened in 1935 and was described as "one of its kind in the north of England."

Images: One Construction / Building Link Design / Footprint Photography


Martyn Benson,  November 19, 2020 at 3:48 PM  

This actually sounds a much better and actually viable proposal for the site - far better than the Hall returning to dereliction (or being demolished - which, for years, has looked its likely fate).

Anonymous,  November 20, 2020 at 3:25 PM  

If I go in town, I want bars resteraunts ect... If I want green space, I go into countryside, plenty of it around Rotherham!No need for any more in town centre. Don't see other towns demolishimg there centres to make way for parks.

Anonymous,  November 23, 2020 at 11:27 AM  

It's a useless building, with issues, that has failed to find a buyer or a tenant. The park is temporary. There are plenty of other empty properties for bars, restaurants, retailers to move into.

Tom,  July 18, 2022 at 12:13 PM  

The plans were withdrawn in May 2022. It looks like the developers are reverting back to the revamp plans approved in 2017.

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