(I'm) incredibly excited at the prospect of bringing the building back to life as a unique and new entertainment destination," said Jason Brook, CEO of the casino's developer, Brook Group.
The proposals, for the 1980s block next to Sheffield City Hall in Barker’s Pool, have been put forward by Barnsley-based Brook Leisure which says the new complex could create 130 jobs. The Brook Group already operates both the nearby Embrace nightclub and Crystal bar in Carver Street.
Embrace already has a casino licence, which would be transferred to the new business should planning permission be granted at a meeting next Monday, December 19. In the report set to go before next week’s meeting, city planners described the NUM site as a “substantial and striking post-modern building, which makes reference to the neighbouring City Hall with its extensive use of stone and angular pillars.”
The report adds: “The proposals, as amended, involve extending the building – which currently has an elevated ground floor and entrance – down to ground level to form a new accessible entrance and active restaurant uses. The existing curtain walling will be updated and extended and the brown tinted glazing on the upper floors will be replaced by a clean, obscure glazed light box. It also says: “A rooftop extension, set back from the building’s front elevation, will form a rooftop bar and terrace.”
The planners add that the amended scheme is “less extensive” than the original plans, which involved replacing the triangular-shaped entrance with a “new glass lift tower.” “The development has more character as a result”, the planners’ report says.
“The grounding of the building of the building will have significant visual benefits, as well as introducing much-needed active uses along the western edge of the City Hall. While key elements of the building’s original design maintain its civic feel, the proposed additions, including the light box and rooftop bar, give the building a new, contemporary feel,” it states.
Seven letters of objection have been submitted to Sheffield Council in relation to the plans. Green party councillor Rob Murphy said that residents “already encounter late-night noise and anti-social behaviour, from people frequenting nearby bars as well as noise from taxis.” Mr Murphy also questioned the suitability of the site for a 24-hour casino and said that “opening hours should be restricted in line with pubs and clubs in the vicinity.”
Opposition has also come from bosses at the City Hall, who sent a letter saying that acts appearing at the venue “require access from Holly Street day and night.” Meanwhile, five local residents have also raised concerns about the potential for noise and anti-social behaviour. One letter said: “A 24-hour casino should be situated on the periphery of the city where it cannot harm people’s quality of life.”
However, city planners have advised councillors to approve their plans at next week’s committee meeting. Their report says: “The proposed use will bring back into use a building which has been vacant for over 20 years. It is considered that proposed alterations to the building’s exterior will make a significant contribution to the appearance of the building and the wider area.
“While the impact of the proposal on residential amenity is a concern, it is felt that it will not cause significant harm taking into account the nature of the casino use and the building’s location in relation to nearby residential properties.”