Sheffield park offices to become centre

Meersbrook Hall
Meersbrook Hall
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The Grade II listed hall in Meersbrook Park is to be opened to the public for the first time in over 60 years.

Community groups will be handed the keys to Meersbrook Hall - the former Ruskin Museum used by Sheffield Council as offices since 1953 - next week.

Around 70 members of staff from the council’s parks and countryside department are being moved elsewhere.

The Friends of Meersbrook Hall and the Heeley Development Trust have been granted a temporary licence to occupy the building, while they negotiate a long-term lease with the council and begin to raise the £2 million needed to redevelop the hall.

It is envisaged that the venue will provide a mixture of community facilities, including a café, toilets and rooms to hire, as well as office space for local business use.

Kate Souper, from the friends group, said: “We’re incredibly excited. We believe the hall can have an exciting future which builds on its history.”

Residents were offered the chance to use the building following fears the hall would be sold for housing.

The development trust’s adult and community learning services will use the building first.

Andy Jackson, the trust’s manager, said: “It will bring lots of people and visitors, which makes it feel busy, alive and safe. We want to restore the building to its former glory. It will be amazing.”

The groups were awarded £10,000 under a Government’s Community Ownership and Management of Assets programme. This was used to carry out a structural survey and appoint an architect.

Paul Billington, the council’s director of culture and environment, said spending on office costs was being minimised amid ‘unprecedented budget cuts’. Visit www.meersbrookhall.org.uk/membership for details.