Hitler may have ravaged the city but not the spirit and beauty

It's time to rescue Sheffield's iconic Old Town Hall, say campaigners who are upset that the building, in Waingate, has been allowed to decay for too long.
It's time to rescue Sheffield's iconic Old Town Hall, say campaigners who are upset that the building, in Waingate, has been allowed to decay for too long.
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I have to write to say that I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments in the story about Sheffield’s “Bland buildings” and the editor’s story about Sheffield needing “shops and character too”, (both in the Star Tuesday, November 17).

I am a realist, I understand that Sheffield needs to do something to generate business, and to regenerate a failing city centre… but rather than think creatively about how the beautiful and very interesting old buildings of Sheffield could be used, the mantra of this and successive councils since the late 1950s seems to be “demolish, demolish, demolish”.

For a city that is the fifth largest in England, with a once vibrant and interesting city centre it is pitiful to see it now.

A centre filled with boring glass and metal structures, buildings that look like they are designed by someone who watched too much Star Wars or Space 1999 while growing up and thinks sticking a bit of multi-coloured Perspex on the front of a building makes it “interesting”.

We have so many beautiful buildings that are being left to fester.

The old Town Hall, would make a great indoor market or arcade, with tea rooms in the cells, independent small businesses selling some of those great items such as handmade clothes and jewellery you see on Chapel Walk or Division Street, with maybe a small “museum” dedicated to Sheffield’s castle and city centre history.

The old Post Office in Fitzalan Square, would have made a brilliant restaurant, (perhaps something French for a change), with artisan shops and a gallery?

The Salvation Army Citadel in Cross Burgess Street could have been adapted to a small independent theatre or intimate music venue, (like The Merlin theatre), lots of uses.

I suppose what I’m really trying to say is that it might cost more to adapt an older- style building, but when it is done it is something more beautiful, more interesting, more quirky and something with a heart and soul that speaks of more than a century of history and of the many hundreds of Sheffielders who’ve walked its floors.

Sheffield City Council talks of another “Frankenstein” project, where you rip out the guts of a beautiful old building, leaving a face, attached to some hideous out-of-proportion new build sprouting behind.

They want to rip out the remaining parts of Sheffield with any soul… Cambridge Street, Pinstone Street, buildings on Division Street, all vibrant areas.

If you must extend the pedestrian areas of Fargate into Pinstone Street, then do it, you don’t have to knock down buildings to achieve that.

Some parts of Sheffield have been regenerated very well, such as on Leopold Street, Arundel Street and the Peace Gardens, and there are some small pockets that really do need to be pulled down, but please leave what’s left of our heritage on Cambridge Street, Pinstone Street and Division Street alone!

Perhaps when the council are next thinking of building even more student flats, they should have just turned over Park Hill for that purpose.

And don’t even get me started on the road system, that’s another horror story.

It feels like Sheffield has become a board game called “bottleneck” where there are no direct routes around the city, and all the roads are closed except for two, where you go around in circles never getting any closer to your destination because of bus gates, one way or closed roads, roadworks.

It’s no wonder pollution is high, traffic is always at a standstill, and Derek Dooley “Wait” never has free-flowing traffic

I look back at the pictures and stories marking the 75th anniversary of the Blitz this month, and the devastation left in the wake of the Luftwaffe’s bombing of the city centre.

Hitler may have ravaged the city then, but he didn’t succeed in taking away the spirit and beauty of the city.

Unfortunately 75 years on I have to say that it is our own city council and planners who have ripped the heart and soul out of this city, something that the Luftwaffe couldn’t achieve.

Amanda, a proud Sheffielder

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