Former John Lewis store given listed status

A former department store and car park at risk of demolition has been granted Grade-II status.

Historic England listed the former John Lewis building, in Barker’s Pool, at Grade II on the National Heritage List for England.

The decision comes after Sheffield City Council, which acquired the lease from John Lewis in January 2022, put in a counter application for ‘immunity’ from listing.

Following the closure of the store in 2021, the authority launched a public consultation to decide what should happen to the building.

It had previously said long-term options include reusing the existing structure, demolishing the building to provide a large public space or replacing it with a smaller building and connected public space.

Cllr Mazher Iqbal, co-chair of the transport, regeneration and climate policy committee, said: “The decision to list the former John Lewis building demonstrates the importance of the post-war heritage of Sheffield and recognises the significance of the Cole Brothers store and the work of the city council in rebuilding Sheffield following the bombing of the city in the 1940s.

“Our purpose in applying for the certificate was not because we wanted to see it demolished, but to remove uncertainty over whether it might be spot listed at a later date. This now gives us a clear position with which we can move forward, and we welcome that.

“We have received a range of submissions of interest in Stage 1 of public consultation, with several parties wanting to retain and reimagine the building for new uses, and others showing a preference for demolition.

“A department store of this scale is unlikely in the current or future retail environment but we’re really excited to now work with bidders to find a way to repurpose the building in a way that will re-establish the property in its rightful place as a key attraction in the new city centre that is emerging around it.”

Paul Blomfield MP, whose Sheffield Central constituency includes the John Lewis building, said he was concerned about the impact listing would have on redevelopment opportunities.

“Our post-war heritage is important but the last review concluded that the John Lewis building did not meet the high standards required for listing. Given the structural issues facing the building, Grade-II status will impose huge costs on the council as the landlord and limit the city’s options in redeveloping this important site.

“It’s a decision which comes without financial support or recognition of the consequences.”