Whilst watching News at Ten last week and shuddering at the horrific destruction of the Syrian temples at Palmyra, I opened my copy of The Star and read the excellent letter by Valerie Bayliss regarding Sheffield’s heritage. Whilst I wouldn’t dream of comparing the two scenarios I couldn’t help but think that one word linked the perpetrators—-Philistines!
The very thought that Sheffield would even consider selling off our Grade I listed Town Hall beggars belief but sums up the council’s attitude to our history. A similar situation is taking place at Scarborough where the council are planning to demolish the famous Futurist theatre and allow Flamingoland to develop the site. May we presume that in view of Councillor Jack Scott’s remarks that if a developer such as Flamingoland came along with the right offer he would let them plonk some fairground rides on the site where our Town Hall now stands?
Hallamshire Historic Buildings support Valerie’s admirable campaign to save the Old Town Hall in Waingate which, due to Council apathy, has been allowed to deteriorate into a dreadful state and I sincerely hope that all her efforts bear fruit as this is a very important civic building.
Plans to get into bed with the Chinese and re-develop the Central Library into a hotel are being seriously considered despite two more proposed large hotels at West Bar Square and Market Place. Who exactly is going to occupy all these rooms? Both the Library and the Town Hall are municipal assets which should be preserved for future generations and not even considered for disposal. Shame on our leaders for even thinking about it.
Likewise, the destruction of the ambience of our Conservation Areas by unnecessary wholesale felling of Victorian trees may be a nice little earner for Amey when they sell off the timber and save money in the future by not having to sweep up the leaves, but it does nothing for our unique heritage and streetscapes.
Finally, the proposed mass demolitions when and if the Retail Quarter finally gets off the ground will merely add to our city’s national reputation and I fear that my earlier use of the word “Philistines” was perhaps not strong enough. Anyone got a better word?
Hallamshire Historic Buildings