Heritage talks boost bid to create Sheffield strategy

Brian Holmshaw, one of the conference organisers, in the  Cholera Monument grounds with the city behind him.
Brian Holmshaw, one of the conference organisers, in the Cholera Monument grounds with the city behind him.
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Plans for a firm strategy setting out how Sheffield should look after and make the most of its heritage have been given a further boost.

The city’s first-ever heritage conference was a ‘resounding success’, its organisers have said, generating many ideas for measures that could be included in the proposed document, which would cover the next 15 years.

More than 120 heritage organisations, community groups, individuals and professional bodies from across Sheffield took part in the event on Saturday.

It was set up by Joined Up Heritage, a team of 20 societies who believe a strategy could increase visitor numbers, and potentially bring in funding worth millions.

Brian Holmshaw, chair of the conference steering committee, said: “There was especial stress on the economic potential in renewing heritage buildings as start-ups, as spaces for artistic, creative and IT businesses to flourish, as opportunities for makers - ‘mucky spaces’ where traditional crafts, small scale toolmaking and cutlery work can take place.”

The recent success of Arthur Wright and Son Knives and Scissors, Sum Studios, Portland Works and the Antiques Quarter were ‘shining examples’, he said.

“We also considered the crucial sense of wellbeing and community pride that well-ordered stewardship, investment and place-making give to our city’s many diverse neighbourhoods.”

He said the upcoming local elections offered a chance to find out candidates’ views on the issue.

“With all city council seats on offer we have a unique electoral opportunity from now until May 5 to speak directly to local politicians, to question their commitment to our city, find out the views of candidates and ask: just how do they intend to make Sheffield’s heritage sustainable into the future?”

The conference - a key event of Sheffield’s Year of Making festival - could return in 2017, Brian said, but resourcing it will be ‘tricky’.

Sheffield University donated money, and Sheffield Hallam University provided the use of facilities this year.

Seeking a private sector sponsor may be considered, Brian added.