Plan to list ex-John Lewis shop comes under fire

Proposals to list a prominent former department store building in Sheffield should be put on hold, the city council’s leader has urged the Government.

The ex-John Lewis site has been granted Grade-II listed status by Historic England.

But Council leader Terry Fox said the decision would “limit” redevelopment and had been “dropped” on the city without taking into account local opinion.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) made the decision to list the building which was singled out by the heritage group for its post-war architecture.

The site, in Barker’s Pool, was occupied by Cole Brothers from 1963 before becoming John Lewis, which shut its doors in 2021.

In a letter to the DCMS, Fox said there appeared to have been no consideration of the wider financial or environmental implications of the decision.

He said only the building’s heritage had been considered, rather than economic matters – quoting surveyors’ estimates that £65m needed to be invested in the site.

Fox said the Government was “limiting what may be achievable” and potentially leaving the city’s taxpayers stuck with a costly building.

“We have had many expressions of interests in developing the site and I think the people of Sheffield want to see all options considered,” he said.

“This is why I am appealing directly to Government to do the right thing and put this listing on hold until all implications have been fully considered.”

Labour MPs for Sheffield, Clive Betts and Paul Blomfield, have also objected to the listing, as has Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the Liberal Democrats, who warned the decision could potentially make the site a “bottomless pit” for taxpayers.