Shameful legacy

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During the past week The Star has been reporting on the changes that are taking place in our city centre, especially The Moor development. There has also been an article ‘Putting on the style – city’s finest buildings’ (Star, September 14) which showed photographs “of some of the most beautiful buildings to be developed in Sheffield over the last year”.

I hate to think what would have been considered the ugliest as the only one that deserves any merit amongst these monstrosities is the lovely old Head Post Office in Fitzalan Square.

It is a travesty that most of our city’s wonderful Victorian architecture that survived the Blitz has been systematically neglected and allowed to fall into decay (such as the Old Town Hall) or bulldozed by the City Council over the years resulting in Sheffield losing its character.

Other cities have protected their heritage by restoring their ancient buildings and bringing them back to life for the 21st century, which in most cases, with skill and imagination, can be accomplished successfully.

Regarding The Moor ‘The Star Says’ (September 17) that the new cinema complex “will sit beside a shiny new Primark building” and that “instead of the cramped, Victorian stores that many retailers have been crammed into, these new units are vast, modern and attractive”.

I do not quite understand the reference to the ‘Victorian stores’ on The Moor as most didn’t survive after the bombing in WW2 and, although the new units may well be vast and modern, if the new cinema building under construction is anything to go by, then they will almost certainly be soulless, ugly and boring like most of the ‘modern’ city centre.

How ironic it is that a little further up in Barkers Pool there were two wonderful cinemas, The Gaumont and Cinema House (both could accommodate a large capacity audience) which if they hadn’t been demolished could have been converted for modern use at a fraction of the cost of the new cinema complex and at the same time retained some elegant architecture which is now hard to find.

Elsewhere in Sheffield I am afraid we are not faring much better, as the other culprit responsible for destroying many fine old buildings is the Sheffield University

In his excellent letter (Star, September 13) Howard Greaves hit the nail on the head with his comments regarding the monstrous ‘Diamond’ building and the University’s take-over of the whole area.

It has indeed had a tragic effect on the now completely overshadowed St George’s Church and the Building Design Magazine correctly stated that it amounted to ‘desecration of a helpless neighbouring church’ which has been ‘dwarfed and drowned’ by this appalling eyesore, and sadly they haven’t finished yet with their disgraceful devastation as the University Arms looks like being the next on the list.

Thanks to greedy developers, Sheffield City Council and Sheffield University, the lovely Sheffield we older people can remember has been lost forever and replaced with inferior structures with no character that will not stand the test of time like the wonderful older buildings that are continuing to be brutally demolished. What a shameful legacy to leave for future generations who will have precious little left to admire of the historic architecture of the city.

Susan Richardson

Westminster Crescent, Lodge Moor, S10

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