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Councillors agree not to appeal to Historic England over Grade II listing

Former John Lewis building

Councillors have agreed not to call for a review of the Grade II listing of the former John Lewis building.

At a Special Strategy and Resources Committee meeting, Councillors decided the Council’s response to the listing granted by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) earlier this month.

The Committee considered the implications of the listing, potential costs, legal advice, plans for development and the opinions of Sheffield people and decided not to take any formal action with regards to the listing decision.

This means the Council can continue the process of securing a developer for the Barker’s Pool site.

However, approval was given for officers to approach Historic England to query elements of the listing description and the weight that they have given to their significance.

Approval was also given to set out a planning brief for all interested developers, working alongside Historic England to figure out what options are possible for the site following the listing. Interested developers have been informed of the listing decision and following discussions a number have indicated they are still keen to progress their proposals.

Approval has also been given for the Council to approach Historic England, Arts Council of England, Heritage Lottery Fund, Architectural Heritage Fund, other government agencies and South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority for potential funding support with any possible costs incurred because of the listing.

This comes after Council Leader Councillor Terry Fox wrote a letter to the Secretary of State for DCMS last week appealing for more time to review the listing decision and request that no extra financial burden should be placed on the Council and the people of Sheffield due to the listing.

Cllr Terry Fox said: “I am pleased that the Strategy & Resources Committee has agreed a position on the listing of John Lewis. The listing came as a shock to members, officers and many Sheffielders.

“I have made it clear that I will speak up for the people of Sheffield and I strongly believe this listing should not be detrimental to our city. We will be approaching organisations for funding support to limit the financial implications for the city and its residents.

“It is clear from legal advice that there is no scope to successfully challenge the listing through the formal process. It would inevitably lead to a costly review and slow down development.

“After weighing up all the information it is clear there are still plenty of exciting opportunities for the Barker’s Pool site and I am assured we do still have the option to query elements of the listing and their significance.

“I think we can get something great here for the city but, as I said in my letter to the Minister, the government’s listing decision must not end up costing the council or Sheffield taxpayers. I look forward to what the future holds for the building and our city.”

The Committee papers and a recording of the meeting can be viewed at:

For info


  • Historic England determined that the former Cole Brothers building stands out as a rare surviving example of high modernism in department stores, with innovative design by a leading firm of architects and therefore meets the standards required for designation.
  • The building has been listed Grade II. The decision was taken by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England. SCC were notified of the decision on 10th August 2022.
  • Grade II listed buildings form the majority of listed buildings in England with over 90% Grade II. Sheffield has about 1,200 listed buildings. These include a number of post war buildings such as the former Co-op Department Store, Park Hill flats, Moore Street sub-station and Sheffield University Arts Tower.
  • Listing marks a building’s significance and celebrates its special architectural and historic interest. It brings specific protection so that its special interest can be properly considered in managing its future. Listing does not mean that no alterations can be made - in the vast majority of cases applications to make changes to a listed building are approved.

The following reasons have been given for the building being listed (A full copy of the list description can be found here Former Cole Brothers' Department Store, Non Civil Parish - 1480895 | Historic England):

  • The building was designed by Yorke Rosenberg and Mardall in 1961 and is a rare example of a post-war department store designed by a leading architects' firm.
  • The unaltered exterior and the open plan layout contains original features such as white-glazed tiles, brown mosaic window panels, granite lined black terrazzo stairwells and a Marryatt-Scott escalator.
  • The site demonstrates innovative planning that makes use of a sloping island site, fully integrating a multi-storey customer car park and provides access at two levels for pedestrians


  • In May 2022 the building was marketed to select a preferred bidder through a two-stage process.
  • Stage one invited Expressions of Interest with a closing date of 14 July.
  • The second stage of the process is anticipated to take place over the Autumn where a short list of developers will be invited to work up more detailed proposals.
  • 16 Expressions of Interest were received with the majority of these including retention of most the building. The marketing material made it clear that SCC had submitted a request for a Certificate of Immunity. Developers welcomed this as it would provide certainty. All bidders have subsequently been notified of the listing and following discussions a number have indicated that they remain keen to progress their proposals.