Services we can afford

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MAJOR changes to South Yorkshire’s fire services have been approved. And, tellingly, there is little attempt to suggest that the proposals have anything to do with providing a better service.

The hand of the fire authority has been forced, we are assured, by the need to save money and to meet ever-tightening twists on the purse strings as the Government cuts back on public costs.

We cannot help but feel that this is a bleak day for the people of South Yorkshire with the closure of fire stations and loss of staff on the cards.

We appreciate that new stations are to be built which will be in a better location for thousands of families but they will leave others at a disadvantage. And the changes takes no account of plans to build homes in areas remote from the stations we will have to cover the area.

But there is a gloomy sense of reality that we have to live with the services we can afford.

Makings of a new slice of history

CAMPAIGNERS behind the project to preserve Sheffield’s Portland Works deserve congratulations after it was revealed that they have sealed a deal which will see the historic building saved for future generations.

It is one of the few remaining little mesters workshops in Sheffield and, as such, represents an important link to the city’s manufacturing past which spread our name across the globe.

The Portland Works Campaign members have worked tirelessly to patch together funding for the ambitious project which will see the building given a new lease of life. What is more the group has identified a string of other workshops in the area which could form a Little Mesters Quarter where a wide range of creative crafts and arts are kept alive.

This is a tantalising challenge to the authorities to help build on a well-supported opportunity to preserve Sheffield’s past in a fitting manner.

Not in stone...yet!

IT’S not set in stone, but surely Sheffield could be next in line for a statue to a sporting hero. This comes after a team of academics from the city launched their Pitch to Plinth project, a study of the sporting statues to be found around the country. So far, there are 120 statues of specific sporting heroes around Britain, including five in South Yorkshire (footballers Joe Shaw, Derek Dooley and Jimmy Hagan at Bramall Lane, criciket umpire Dicky Bird in Barnsley and figure skating champ John Curry at iceSheffield. And, after the Olympics, surely we should be looking to a lasting tribute to athletics star Jess Ennis!