Central Library: Councillors set to decide future of crumbling Sheffield building facing £30m repair bill
and live on Freeview channel 276
Sheffield City Council has called for a new report into the costs of repairing the Grade II listed site on Surrey Street which it says will ‘support a decision around its future’ in autumn. The building, which is also home to the Graves Gallery and city archives, needs up to £30m of work. It has been surrounded by hoardings since January due to the risk of falling masonry.
Councillor Barbara Masters asked whether there were plans to repurpose it and relocate the occupiers ‘as suggested by Coun Tom Hunt prior to him becoming a councillor and leader of the council’.
Coun Hunt said they were working with partners to ‘progress the future' of the building.
In a written answer, he added: “Alongside the assessment on the external façade, we will be bringing proposals to the relevant policy committees in the autumn. This will outline options for the Graves Gallery and Central Library. We know there are accessibility issues for customers and staff with the current building and these will need to be explored as part of these options.”
In 2016, plans were unveiled to turn the Central Library into a five-star hotel. The city council announced a 60-year deal with Sichuan Guodong Construction worth £1bn for major developments, including redeveloping the building. But in 2019 the company called off the plans with the authority stating they had not met the investor’s ‘viability requirements’.
The state of the library has been causing concerns since the 1990s. In 2020, the head of the city’s museum service said time was ‘running out’ to keep it in a functioning state. In January this year Coun Richard Williams said he expected the exclusion zone to last ‘at least 12 months’.
He added: “I’d like to reassure people using the Graves Building that after the survey, engineers did what was needed to prevent further damage to the structure. With the fencing and the canopies in place the building can still be used safely.”