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Masterplan unveiled for 200 year old Sheffield steel site

06 January 2009

Sheffield architects have unveiled their masterplan to transform a 64-acre industrial site into a showcase for environmental best practice in industry.

Race Cottam Associates' proposals for Sheffield Forgemasters' plant recommend significant improvements to Brightside Lane with a rejuvenated Vickers Building, improvements to the overall appearance of the site, including new cladding for many of the buildings and the introduction of landscaped green areas, encouraging biodiversity which is an important element of Forgemasters' overall vision.

Energy conservation and heat reclamation also form part of plans for new and existing buildings on the site.

Peter Birtles, director at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: "This is an exciting time for Forgemasters as we are keen to plan for the future of our site. But we also have a responsibility to both recognise the historic qualities of this site and its immediate environment.

"Race Cottam's proposals have really opened our eyes to the possibilities available to us and we are looking forward to progressing with their suggestions, subject to support from the local authority and English Heritage."

Race Cottam's proposals are the result of 12 weeks of close liaison with company bosses and key agencies, including the Environment Agency.

Flood prevention measures are also a key consideration for the site which sits alongside the River Don and was badly affected by the Sheffield floods of 2007. In addition to the flood protection measures rainwater attenuation will be provided through swales and balancing ponds. Accordingly structured landscaping will help to absorb surface water as well as improving the site's appearance. Swales may also be used to carry away excess rain water.

Meanwhile improvements have been proposed to traffic flow on Brightside Lane, which is currently crossed by large numbers of multi-wheel vehicles transporting ingots and molten steel.

Race Cottam's plans also take into account how the site might develop over the next 25 years.

The former, listed Vickers office building and an old machine shop have stood redundant for many years but will be put to new uses, allowing for Sheffield Forgemasters' ongoing expansion and capital investment programme for new equipment.

Project architect Peter Fauset said: "Sheffield Foregmasters are one of the best known steel company's in the world and their heritage on this site stretches back more than 200 years.

"We have worked closely with the company to come up with a masterplan which addresses the site's immediate concerns, whilst also taking into account the need for further expansion over the next quarter century.

"Our proposals emphasise significant environmental and sustainable solutions which the company is keen to promote."