New Sheffield heritage strategy will 'go local' to focus on at-risk buildings and stories of city people

Visitors look around Zion graveyard in Attercliffe at this year's Heritage Open Days.
Visitors look around Zion graveyard in Attercliffe at this year's Heritage Open Days.
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Sheffield's historic buildings and places will be brought together for the first time with the help of residents as part of a new city-wide heritage strategy.

Forming a comprehensive 'at risk' list of locations that tell Sheffield's story is just one strand of the vision launched by Joined Up Heritage Sheffield this month.

Sheffield Council's head of planning Rob Murfin speaks at the launch.

Sheffield Council's head of planning Rob Murfin speaks at the launch.

The 'ambitious' group is aiming high with its strategy, and hopes both to better understand the city's heritage and also to establish what is 'distinctive and special' for the people who live here.

The initial two-pronged approach will involve the gathering of information through various initiatives and projects. This will then help to shape future actions that will preserve, enhance and promote heritage in Sheffield.

Long-term, a 10-year framework will be developed to guide city policy. This will be updated regularly.

Speaking after a two-day launch event at Sheffield Hallam University, Joined Up Heritage Sheffield chairman Jon Bradley said it was time to deliver after months of talking.

Leah's Yard, which is within the retail quarter site.

Leah's Yard, which is within the retail quarter site.

"It’s ambitious, but we can start delivering some key wins in the next few months by partnering up with projects that are already doing great work and by focusing on, for example, protecting and enhancing the heritage of the city centre," he said.

"We’ve got two big strands, firstly 'Strengthening the Foundations', all about better understanding the heritage that we have - buildings and places - and secondly 'My Sheffield' which is all about what is distinctive and special for Sheffield people - Sheffield people’s own heritage stories, what they value, what has meaning for them and their communities.

"We are already gearing-up to get projects going that will reach out and get people involved.”

Working with the city's many organisations and talking to residents are both key parts of the strategy.

Joined Up Heritage Sheffield chairman Jon Bradley.

Joined Up Heritage Sheffield chairman Jon Bradley.

Valerie Bayliss, of the Friends of Sheffield Old Town Hall, was part of the group that drew up the document.

She said: “The strategy should focus its work to achieve maximum effect.

"We need to ‘go local’. Different communities will have different views on what the ‘distinctiveness’ of our heritage is."

Mrs Bayliss highlighted the city centre, with the potential risk to heritage assets such as Leah's Yard that come with the retail quarter plans, as a good place to start.

The strategy will involve city residents.

The strategy will involve city residents.

"Let’s talk Sheffield’s heritage up, concentrate on the opportunities," she said.

"I’m impressed with the potential capacity we have to tap."

Mr Bradley also used the launch to call for Sheffield's help over the coming months.

"We want people to commit real help to make this happen and we’ll be inviting all the people we have engaged with to join us in not just talking about heritage but doing heritage," he said.

"Help with developing a heritage at risk 'local list' – the buildings and places, what have we go, why is it important. Help with our website. Help with funding bids. Help with events.

"We want next year to be the year when we start seeing heritage successes making a real difference to this city."

Discussion at the launch of Sheffield's heritage strategy.

Discussion at the launch of Sheffield's heritage strategy.