Editor: Give us real change rather than just hopeful optimism

Let’s talk about Graves Gallery and Central Library. I know, it is a topic that is painful for many Sheffielders let down by past hopes and dreams … stuck in a reality which feels like Groundhog Day.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 7:09 am
Updated Monday, 21st June 2021, 7:09 am
Let's back Museums Sheffield bosses to secure the building and help Graves Gallery step out of the shadows. Picture Tony Johnson.

This city has been let down time and time again and it is a pattern we seem incapable of breaking.

I love what the Cultural Consortium are trying to do – it is absolutely right that our experts in all those areas should be the ones to drive the agenda.

But, I also have to be honest, and my heart sank when I saw that Graves was one of the projects they pinning post pandemic hopes on.

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Don’t get me wrong, I want to see both the gallery and the library flourish as they have in other comparable cities – but it leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth that this is being hailed as having great potential in 2021.

It is impossible to look forward without remembering what is behind and I see absolutely no evidence that our council has a plan for this lovely yet crumbling building any more than they had before or after the five star Chinese hotel melted away.

The Star relentlessly champions this city but we all owe it to ourselves to be honest. We have heard too many council leaders and senior officers over the years talk about that site’s potential without ever delivering.

We’ve had enough. Sheffield finds it hard to admit that we have only ourselves to blame for many of our past failures. We also have only ourselves to rely on for building a better future.

Those in the town hall need to give their full backing to the newly merged Sheffield Museums group and break into more than a sweat giving them what they need, come hell or high water.

Stop making excuses, get some money to sort it and make a flipping plan that is not only doable but worthy of the wait.

Until then, we’re fooling ourselves and that time-loop of failed projects will continue .

Graves deserves more, the incredible yet depleted services in our library needs better and so does Sheffield.

We still blame Meadowhall for the city centre’s failure to adapt, we hark back to a recession for preventing its revitalisation in the 1990s and, while few wanted a hotel gallery, the energy put into fighting that plan never emerged as a driving force to actually help the building.

Ready to move on and change? I sincerely hope so.