Councillors will discuss proposals to transform a former 19th century Pea Warehouse into a five storey building housing the University of Lincoln’s School of Social Sciences.
As previously reported, the Sarah Swift Building project would provide a new home for the Schools of Health and Social Care and Psychology, as well as a Professional Development Centre (with ongoing training for medical professionals in Lincolnshire).
The application takes into consideration the predicted rapid growth in nursing and psychology student numbers at the university, expected to be at nearly 1,700 by the 2018/19 academic year.
The proposed site on Brayford Wharf East lies to the north of the university’s recently acquired David Chiddick Building, known as Wigford Yard.
Previous university plans for the development of the warehouse land included a student accommodation block, which were revised after residents complained about its size.
Land for the development is currently occupied by a number of former industrial buildings, most of which have consent for demolition under a previous Conservation Area Consent.
However, the Pea Warehouse, which is a three storey building situated centrally within the site and aligned parallel with the railway line, is not consented for removal as it is a locally listed building.
Leading the concerns about the scheme is Lincoln MP Karl McCartney who wrote a letter to English Heritage expressing his fears about the demolition of the warehouse.
He wrote: “I wonder what could be done to save this historic building, a lone reminder of its type regarding the county and city’s heritage and if it could be renovated rather than see it lost entirely, which, sadly, is what I fear will happen if the university has its way?”
A spokesperson for English Heritage added: “The proposals would, as submitted, cause substantial harm to the significance of the conservation area due to the loss of the Pea building, without delivering substantial public benefits in the form of a high quality new route between High Street and the Brayford Pool.”
By contrast, the Lincoln Civic Trust has not objected to the application, suggesting that the Pea Warehouse has no significant architectural merit, is not visible from the road and is in a poor state.
However, they added that care must be taken during the excavation “to identify and possibly preserve anything found.”
The application will be debated by councillors at the City of Lincoln Council’s planning committee meeting on Wednesday, August 19 at City Hall.