Letter: We could well end up with a city that we neither like nor want

This letter sent to the Star was written by Howard Greaves, Chairman, Hallamshire Historic Buildings

Wednesday, 30th October 2019, 10:39 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 7:09 am
Sheffield skyline

I read with horror Sheffield Council’s proposals to slash specialist jobs in the Planning Department, (Star, November 4). The repercussions if this goes ahead don’t bear thinking about and we could well end up with a city that we neither like nor want.

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Developers will move in for the free for all which will ensue and it will be like a turkey shoot for them. The worst of them will be able to plonk what they want, where they want and in whatever design they want. If the Council’s thinking is to attract developers then yes it would work, but at what cost? We would not only end up with eyesore buildings, which could be any shape or size, but also eyesore extensions in the private household sector.

The loss of specialist groups such as Access Officers and the Urban Design Team would be absolutely tragic. Both have a massive influence on the shape our city and help the Planning Officers to make rational decisions. The biggest cost to the city’s heritage would be the loss of the Conservation Team which has already been pared to the bone as it is. They too do fantastic work advising the Planning Officers and trying to preserve our city’s built history. If demolitions were allowed carte blanche, then our city would be so much the poorer for it.

It would also see the end of the Conservation Advisory Group, a body of experts who voluntarily give up their time, free of charge, once a month just for the love of Sheffield’s historic past. This Group costs ten or fifteen cups of tea and a bit of electric light, can the Council really not afford this for what they get in return? I would implore the Council to think again before they implement these cuts as the long-term consequences could be far reaching and disastrous.