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Plans for the future of John Lewis building to be revealed 'at the end of 2021'

The Council say they don't want the former department store to be "sat vacant for a long period of time", but admit that substantial work is needed to bring the building back to use.

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John Lewis recently announced that the Sheffield store would close permanently.

Sheffield City Council.

Sheffield Council have said that plans for the future of the former John Lewis store in Barker's Pool will be put forward "at the end of 2021."

Last week the retailer formally announced the store – which closed at the start of the most recent lockdown – will never reopen.

But councillors warned that the amount of asbestos in the building means that it may need to be stripped back to its concrete frame and partially rebuilt.

“Crucially, the Council now owns the Cole Brothers building," said Council Leader Terry Fox, referring to the department store's original name before it was taken over by John Lewis.

"This means the building is in the hands of the city. We have been really encouraged to see so many positive suggestions and to hear just how much love people have for the site and its future."

John Lewis currently have the lease, but the Council own both the building and the land underneath it.

The two parties are in negotiations about returning liabilities including health and safety, utilities and business rates to the Council, as well as a compensation fee for early termination of the lease.

The Council say money made from the exit fee will be put towards the future of the site, which has been a department store since it opened as Cole Brothers in 1963.

Last week John Lewis announced plans to build 10,000 rental homes on its land, after closing 16 of its stores including Sheffield due to falling revenues.

"It's good news that the Council is moving ahead with plans for a public consultation about reusing the building," said Tom Hunt, whose proposals for the future of the Sheffield store went viral on social media earlier this year.

"I really hope those designing the consultation think big, engage widely and draw on the creativity and expertise of Sheffield's makers, designers and businesses."

"The building has so much potential and could be reused for retail, new housing, hospitality, new spaces for galleries or performance venues and more."

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