Historic Graves Park cottage could be demolished to make way for memorial garden

Cobnar Cottage, Cobnar Road, Sheffield
Cobnar Cottage, Cobnar Road, Sheffield
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Plans to replace a historic but rundown cottage at a Sheffield park with a memorial garden are to be decided on imminently.

The Friends of Graves Park have put forward the proposal for Cobnar Cottage as an alternative to Sheffield Council selling off the site to a developer for about £80,000.

Caroline Dewar, Friends chairman, said: “We have formally written to the Charity Commission, stating our concerns regarding the proposed sale.”

The council said the Friends’ plan was being considered and a decision will be taken early next year.

The Friends have drawn up a business plan suggesting the site of the cottage is turned back into parkland and used as a memorial garden – ensuring the land would stay as part of the park.

Plans to sell the 17th century cottage, on Cobnar Road, Norton Lees, were put on hold last year for 12 months to allow the Friends to come up with viable alternative uses.

The group is concerned the sale of the cottage, which has been empty since 2006, would set a precedent for the sale of other park buildings.

Paul Billington, council director of culture and environment, said: “The council, acting as trustees of the Graves Park charity, decided in 2013 the long-unused cottage be sold in order to alleviate the charity of a liability and create a significant investment fund for the park from the sale of the cottage.

“The charity would be bound by charity law to invest all the proceeds in improving facilities in the park.

“Soon after the decision, a local group asked they be given time to produce an alternative plan.

“Notwithstanding that there were no other comments or concerns about the decision, the charity gave the group 12 months to produce a detailed plan which would have to demonstrate it offered greater benefit to the park than the proposed investment plan.

“The group submitted a plan in November, which is being considered by charity trustees. A decision will be announced early in the New Year.”