'Frustration' over year-long wait for urgent repairs to Sheffield's Old Town Hall

Urgent repairs to Sheffield's crumbling Old Town Hall are yet to begin - nearly a year after council funding for the work was announced.

Sheffield's Old Town Hall
Sheffield's Old Town Hall

Sheffield Council last July revealed a £786,000 war chest to revive the city's Castlegate quarter, where the Grade II-listed building stands, which included money for 'urgent repairs and structural surveys' at the decaying former courthouse and civic headquarters on Waingate.

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Damage to the former courtroom at the Old Town Hall

The historic building has suffered further water damage while the wait for the leaking roof to be patched up continues, and last month it appeared for the first time on the annual Buildings at Risk Register compiled by SAVE Britain's Heritage.

The council finally secured the keys earlier this year after taking legal action against owner G1 London Properties. Surveys have since begun, but the roof is now in such a perilous state it is deemed unsafe for workers - meaning a drone is needed to fully inspect the property.

"It's been a long drawn-out legal process, which is no good for the building, but unfortunately the law is geared in favour of property owners rather than preserving the city's heritage," he said.

An artist's impression showing how the former courtroom at the Old Town Hall could look if it is transformed into a performance space (pic: Integreat Plus)

"It's very frustrating but our officers are getting on with it and we're hoping the repairs can be made before another winter causes further damage."

The Friends of the Old Town Hall group is pressing ahead with its own plans to buy the building and transform it into a community hub, complete with workspaces, a café, meeting rooms and a performance venue.

Having finally sat down with council representatives this month, it plans to launch a crowdfunding appeal this September before inviting members of the community to buy shares in the building.

Valerie Bayliss, who chairs the group, said: "The council knows we're concerned about the delay in carrying out these repairs. It's moving forward but it's taking a long time."

The Star has contacted Sheffield Council.