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Not great news for the Old Town Hall in Castlegate


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Old Town Hall: historic Sheffield building fails to sell at auction after attracting no bids

Sheffield’s Old Town Hall failed to sell at auction despite a sale figure of £750,000 - a big drop on its original £1.35m asking price.

The historic building on Castle Street was due to be sold by Allsop auctioneers but attracted no bids – prompting the Friends of the Old Town Hall to demand action to save it.

“It’s disappointing that no-one came forward to take this amazing building on,” said Valerie Bayliss, chair of the Friends group.

"In some ways we aren’t surprised. We know the potential costs of restoration are high, and in the present climate that’s a challenge. But only a few months ago the agents were saying there was a lot of interest. Where did it all go? We thought then that the original asking price of £1.35m was unrealistic. But even with an auction guide price of £750,00 there were no takers.”

 

https://www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk/news/people/old-town-hall-historic-sheffield-building-fails-to-sell-at-auction-after-attracting-no-bids-3451760

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It would be a great shame if the building faced demolition since it recalls a time when the city had a very different face. But in reality it isn't going to be economic to bring it up to 21st century heating and ventilation standards. There is no nearby parking, few people have a reason to be in that part of town and there is only a limited range of potential public access uses, most of which would not attract income sufficient to support its upkeep.  I was in the building many times when it was a Magistrates Court and have a nostalgic feel for the place but other than regretting that it couldn't be kept in good condition for it to remain a courthouse, I think the younger generation should be allowed to over-rule our nostalgic hearts. 

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The failure to attract any bids is down to the area that surrounds is, it’s in desperate need of some kind of improvement, the clowns in the town hall just turn a blind eye to what really wants doing to stop rot but they seem to be hellbent on destroying this city, can you believe that they’ve voted in favour of knocking down the Sportsman in Cambridge Street, don’t they have an ounce of respect for the history of the city.

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Presumably it is a listed building, so it surely could not be demolished?

I would imagine the land alone it's built on would be worth around the £750K

Bit of a weird friends group when they don't even know what is happening with the building. Couldn't they have got together with some developer and bided on the building?  If I had been a member of such a group that's what I had been telling the group what to do. It's better than waiting around in the hope that someone or company will show up and rescue the building from the ball and chain. 

It all depends on how such a group is set up. Of course there's the English Heritage version of a "friends group," which has the friends group having nothing to do with how the "building" or "attraction" is run or developed.  I don't really know how English Heritage see these friends groups running. But the basis would be like the Hampton Court one I am lead to believe.  However that type of Friends Group would be powerless to save a building that would be in danger of being torn down. 

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11 hours ago, History dude said:

Presumably it is a listed building, so it surely could not be demolished?

But it could mysteriously burn down, be blown down by the wind, it wouldn't be the first time...

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Can't see wind damage doing anything to it. It's a bit low down in the valley for that, suppose the tower could be effected though. But unlikely after all these years. Fire - well that is certainly likely. Youths do like to play with that stuff.  Probably do some damage to the inside, but the fire service would be called very quick in that area. So it would soon be under control.  That of course could lead to one of those structures were the outside is left standing, but a new build happens inside.

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8 hours ago, Oldbloke 2 said:

But it could mysteriously burn down, be blown down by the wind, it wouldn't be the first time...

You missed out one of the main reasons that old, so called  protected buildings get demolished,

they can be classed as  "a dangerous structure".

"Dangerous structures vary from collapsing boundary walls, falling masonry and tiles, vehicle impact into buildings, fire damage, wind and weather damage neglect and poor maintenance."

https://www.northampton.gov.uk/info/200011/building-control/1695/building-control-guidance---dangerous-structures

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My wife and I had a walk up to Barkers Pool and on to Fitzwilliam Street, god what a change, Division Street and Devonshire Street has changed, less and less independent shops, in fact I couldn’t see anything but bars and eating places, just what’s going wrong in Sheffield? My walk was a sad, sad thing to experience because I remember when it was a thriving area fulfilling the needs of the people of the city but it seems it’s been turned over to the student contingent, most people won’t see my point of view but they haven’t seen the area as I remember it.

 

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I managed to get access to the old Town Hall building a few years ago, walked around it as much as I could considering the staircases were not safe at all, and took quite a few photos. My grandad  worked in there as the police prosecutor back in the day.

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We really need someone who cares about our old buildings and the City history 'as we do'

that has some "clout", and can give the Council a 'kick-up-the-pants' to save it and get

something done to regenerate this brill place. A joint venture of businesses would put a

good pool of cash in the pot, and if they used local companies to do the work needed,

the results benefit everyone.

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On 12/11/2021 at 21:30, Heartshome said:

We really need someone who cares about our old buildings and the City history 'as we do'

that has some "clout", and can give the Council a 'kick-up-the-pants' to save it and get

something done to regenerate this brill place. A joint venture of businesses would put a

good pool of cash in the pot, and if they used local companies to do the work needed,

the results benefit everyone.

Easier said then done. Having some experience dealing with projects connected to heritage sites, you can fall into pitfalls quickly. English Heritage for example will hit you with a loads of rules and regulations. Then they will go on about competitive tendering. Getting the right type of contractors. This will be because of the need to get things matching the building's materials. Which often means that no local firms can take on the projects, due to the fact they have not got the right kind of materials or skilled workers for the job. They frown on rebuilds. Then any structure which is listed will have to have a load of permissions from Central Government and the regulations they impose. 

The lottery Heritage fund was meant to help with this problem. But a great deal of the money ended up down south. On multi million pound projects, most of which could have been done cheaper, except for all the rules.   

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I think the person suggesting an “accident “ of wind or fire was alluding to possibly nefarious ways of progressing on this. I reckon its only hope is wetherspoons ! Seems the sort of building they love . 

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A whole load of young Sheffielders have never known the building to be anything other than a big ,derelict ,grotty eyesore  and must wonder why we don’t actually support its demolition and rebuilding into something useful. Does it have any architectural merit or is it simply that it is an old structure that attracts support for Its renovation?

Sheffield has long had a reputation for-losing too many of its stock of old buildings and I know it is a listed building but I really wonder just how long must the City be lumbered with this eyesore….which merely adds to the sad ,rundown nature of that part of town.?

I hope I have not joined the ranks of local Philistines but I do wonder😏

 

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3 minutes ago, Lysanderix said:

A whole load of young Sheffielders have never known the building to be anything other than a big ,derelict ,grotty eyesore  and must wonder why we don’t actually support its demolition and rebuilding into something useful. Does it have any architectural merit or is it simply that it is an old structure that attracts support for Its renovation?

Sheffield has long had a reputation for-losing too many of its stock of old buildings and I know it is a listed building but I really wonder just how long must the City be lumbered with this eyesore….which merely adds to the sad ,rundown nature of that part of town.?

I hope I have not joined the ranks of local Philistines but I do wonder😏

 

It’s part of the history of Sheffield and holds many echos of the past BUT it should never, ever, been allowed to get to the state it’s presently in.

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1 hour ago, Brian S said:

I think the person suggesting an “accident “ of wind or fire was alluding to possibly nefarious ways of progressing on this. I reckon its only hope is wetherspoons ! Seems the sort of building they love . 

The council does have a track record when it comes to "preserving" the historic parts of our city.

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11 hours ago, Brian S said:

I reckon its only hope is wetherspoons ! Seems the sort of building they love . 

I think the building would make a good Spoons but it's in the worming location of town, not being in the night time drinking part of the town centre. Bankers Draft is on the wrong side of the boundary of where normal people go, and attracts the spice heads and down and outs. But if the castle area was redeveloped then maybe it would be a suitable location, but maybe too late by then?

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3 hours ago, adepizza said:

Surely a great case for lottery funding??

Only if you can find a use for the building. You would need some form of organisation to put forward a plan of what they intend to do with the building.  They will not just put money into keeping it empty.  I reckon also they will require match funding. Just as an example: if the building needed a million in funds to get it up to use, they might only put in half of that, or a third, the rest the organisation would have to find.  Of course the first thing they would ask is who owns it. And can they put money into it? If the building is owned by a commercial company they would need to know that any money they put in wouldn't go into making money for the company. 

It would be no use going to them with we want to save the Old Sheffield Town Hall. They would point out the other buildings in Sheffield that are at greater risk on the register of at risk buildings.

Many projects rely on Lottery money, but they are really mean at giving it out. Especially in Yorkshire. At least that has been my experience of them. If anyone does believe that the Lottery is great at helping projects out then please say so and correct my experience.

But from what I have seen and heard even successfully funded projects have had to make great compromises in either vision or how they operate. Things like employing project managers are for example not local people, but are people who chase these types of jobs around the country. Going from a two year contract in say Glasgow, to a three year one in Kent, then back to a two year contract in Yorkshire.  But you need that sort of person just to deal with the organisations that get involved in Heritage projects, including the Heritage Lottery people.    

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