The council’s demolition of most of the buildings on Cambridge Street, (including nearly all of the listed Bethel Sunday School), will do substantial harm to the City Centre Conservation Area, cause the total disintegration of the historically significant street grid, and rob Leah’s Yard of all its surviving historic context.
This is the stark conclusion of Historic England, (formerly English Heritage), in their robustly-worded objection to the council’s proposals for the Sheffield Retail Quarter.
This is a significant and well-deserved embarrassment for the council, who have made Leah’s Yard their heritage figleaf, constantly boasting of plans to restore it when challenged about the high level of destruction elsewhere. Their PR spin pretends a new-found desire to conserve heritage, but in reality only one and one third buildings are saved compared with Hammerson, and Historic England were not fooled.
It is time the council made the substance match the spin, removed the Cambridge Street and Pinstone Street demolitions from the proposals, and made plans that really make Sheffield’s distinctive and historic buildings and streets work for Sheffielders.
J Robin Hughes
Towngate Road, Worrall, Sheffield, S35 0AR