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Work to get underway to transform landmark Sheffield industrial icon

10 September 2009

The first phase of work to transform Forgemasters' site, radically improving its appearance and environmental credentials, is set to start this month.

Sheffield architects Race Cottam Associates have had plans approved for the first phase of their master plan to rejuvenate the 64-acre Sheffield Forgemasters site, which aims to become a showcase for environmental best practice in industry.

The first phase of works will include the external redevelopment of Sheffield Forgemasters' Brightside Lane façade.

Derelict buildings on the popular thoroughfare, including a Grade II listed machine shop, will be brought back into use, with cleaned up brickwork and new feature lighting. Arches bricked up for more than 30 years will also be glazed in a bid to bring the site back to its former glory.

Race Cottam director David Cottam said: "This is not just an important development for Sheffield Forgemasters, it is also an important one for the city and will greatly improve the appearance of the historical site.

"The drive along Brightside Lane past the impressive site buildings is very well known to local people. The first stage of improvements to the Sheffield Forgemasters site aims to maximise the existing architectural qualities of those buildings, whilst bringing them back to life in a way which complements and enhances their immediate environment."

Peter Birtles, director at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: "The approval of Race Cottam's plans is fantastic news as we are keen to progress the development of our site, aiding our ongoing expansion and capital investment programme for new equipment.

"The site has been in operation for almost 200 years but many parts have stood derelict for much of that time. The redevelopment of the site will return it to a modern and presentable building, whilst sympathetically improving the appearance of the whole area. The whole project could take up to ten years to complete, but seeing work starting on the first phase is an exciting time for Forgemasters."

The Brightside Lane improvements are the first stage of a raft of proposals developed by Race Cottam last year for how the Sheffield Forgemasters site might develop over the next quarter century.

Working alongside company directors and government bodies, such as the Environment Agency, Race Cottam's future proposals for the site include a refurbished Vickers Building for offices, new significant industrial space, new cladding for many of the site buildings and the introduction of landscaped green areas, encouraging biodiversity which is an important element of Forgemasters' overall vision.