Future of 75 historic city buildings ‘at risk’

So this preservation and conservation of 1,172 listed structures around the city of Sheffield, 75 are at risk, compared with 88 identified in survey in 2005, Reading the Headlines, and then the report it fails to talk about Leah’s Yard, a 19th century cutlery works in Sheffield Centre, That is suffering fire damage and decay, along with Sheffield City Councils unwillingness to take any enforcement action on the owners.

The largest group of at-risk sites are metals trades buildings, 23 of which require repairs. These include Milton Works, Egerton Lane, Lion Works, Spital Hill, Cornish Works, Cornish Lane, and Don Works, Doncaster Street.

As we have seen regards Wharncliffe Works, 86 and 88 Green Lane, Kelham Island.

The building was first placed upon the Listed Buildings at Risk Register in June 1993 and the then owner’s agent was also written to, informing him of the powers the Local Planning Authority has to execute urgent or necessary repairs under sections 54 and 48 of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and requiring certain works to be undertaken.

At the end of 2008, a cheap tin of blue paint, and some superficial boarding of Wharncliffe Works is all the work that has been undertaken, and despite his protestations live on Radio Sheffield over his concern for George Barnsley and Sons Ltd, the same superficial works has been done there.

In recent weeks The former Sheffield Crown Courts, old Town Hall has been in the news. Concerns for the building, with its distinctive clock tower, have been raised by the Victorian Society following the recent snow. It wants the council to serve an urgent works notice on the owner.

“If something isn’t done soon to secure the site then there is a real danger that the structural integrity of the building, and its Victorian court fittings, could be irreparably damaged,” said Alex Baldwin, the society’s conservation adviser.
On wed 18.2.09, we visited The Old Crown Court on Waingate, our access made easy by the lack of concern, or any real security on the building, it was self evident where this had left the building: a playground for people with drug related problems.

Following on from past explorations, the sad state of Sheffield Crown Court where some of the insides had been smashed and part removed, indeed in one room lay all the old signs ready for possible removing.

As much as the owners are accountable for the state of this building where it has become at risk, so are Sheffield City Council. Instead of polite conversation with the owners perhaps they might like to consider further action, but we know we are only dreaming when we ask this, we only need to look at how much in the pocket they are with property developers and speculators.

It comes as no real surprise that the Future of 75 historic city buildings are ‘at risk’, Action proposed includes surveying vacant sites and preparing a short strategy for each, and approaching owners of occupied buildings offering advice. Where it is difficult to persuade owners to restore them, the council could issue Repairs Notices ordering work or even buy buildings under Compulsory Purchase Orders.

As we have seen in the past such action, polite conversation is not dealing with this problem, all this report highlights is the will fill neglect, an unwillingness for Sheffield City Council to act on the preservation and conservation of our shared heritage, if the public did see what we do through our urban explorations then there might be more concern, as it stands all we can do is once again slam Sheffield for there crass disregard for it,s past, it might been fine to celebrate it, but action also needs to be taken in it,s preservation, and conservation, of which we see very little of.

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