An “eye-catching” new £2-million skills hub at a prominent Hereford spot has been given the go-ahead.

The distinctive Edwardian former school on the corner of Blackfriars Street and Widemarsh Street, part of the New Model Institute for Technology And Engineering (NMITE), will now get a modern extension on its southern side.

NMITE says the new centre, which it now expects to open in a year’s time, will be “for school leavers, career-shifters, businesses and entrepreneurs to realise their potential” and will “help address the chronic skills shortage in Herefordshire”.


Inside, it will be capable of being configured into different layouts according to need, and will link into renovated spaces on the ground floor of the existing building.

But local firm Arbor Architects’ design for a highly sustainable extension within the city’s main conservation area didn’t please everyone.

Hereford Times: Alternative view of the planned skills hubAlternative view of the planned skills hub (Image: Arbor Architects, from application)

Herefordshire Council’s unnamed historic buildings officer questioned the choice of a metal sheet roof “when natural slate roofs of the former school are so prominent”.

The front of the “nicely modelled” former school “steps in and out”, whereas the new extension along Blackfriars Street “is plain”, they added.


Hereford Civic Society thought also it would “adversely affect the visual symmetry” of the school. But it welcomed the “subtly different yet complementary” choice of building materials.

With no other public or technical objections to the plan, planning officer Heather Carlisle concluded it would “uphold the character and appearance of the townscape and conservation area”.

A condition with the planning permission is that the building must only open between 9am and 10pm weekdays and between 9am and 6pm on Saturdays.