Reader letter - Consultation, conviction and courage need to be demonstrated at every level

It’s some time since I wrote with a personal view regarding the future of the site of Sheffield's lost Castle.

Tuesday, 15th September 2020, 2:16 pm
Archaeologists at work on the site. Image: Marie Caley

Nancy Fielder's recent editorial, the first comprehensive archive regarding what was never Camelot, produced under the auspices of the University of Sheffield a truly significant and welcome engagement with the city whose economy and image it boosts in a shrinking world (as Sheffield Hallam also does). I'll try to avoid cliches and previously made points.

The widespread publicity across the British press regarding the importance of this enigmatic structure and a forthcoming public consultation on its future, a consultation previously stopped in its tracks at the last minute, requires that Sheffield City Council has the courage and conviction to facilitate (not easy in these strange times) an adequate consultation not only of the heritage community but the people of Sheffield as a whole.

And appropriate redevelopment of the Castle site, the limited but extremely valuable recent excavation by Wessex Archaeology, has not only uncovered post-Castle early industrial activity but the origins of the Norman activity on the site.

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The problem ever since the Castle was demolished post Civil War is the commercial potential of the site, as demonstrated in the 1920's and late 1950's onwards.

In these days of ever-shrinking Council funds the attraction of business rate potential may again colour the Council proposals for the site, despite the considerable support inside and outside the Council, both at Officer and Political level, for an outstanding quality development.

I hope and pray that the Castlegate Partnership, the University of Sheffield, the Friends of Sheffield Castle and Sheffielders by and large raise the profile of both the consultation and the archive.

Consultation, conviction and courage need to be demonstrated at every level. Sheffield's image deserve no less.

Ron Clayton