Please tell us what’s going on

Valerie Bayliss

Thursday, 28th February 2019, 06:06 am
Updated Thursday, 28th February 2019, 06:07 am
Castle Market site

Muskoka Avenue, S11 

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In May last year the City Council published for consultation a new draft plan for Sheffield’s City Centre. There were many good things in it: notably a commitment to the reuse of empty heritage buildings in Castlegate, which would be ‘supported by the designation of a Castlegate Quarter Conservation Area which brings statutory protection and potential access to additional resources’ for restoration of such buildings.

Silence then fell, and remains, on the consultation on the draft plan. But those of us concerned with Castlegate’s future were given to understand that there would be public consultation on the proposed conservation area before the end of 2018, such consultation being a legal requirement. There was no sign of this process until a few weeks ago when its imminence was made known. It was to include a public drop-in exhibition and consultation in the former Post Office in Fitzallan Square, on Thursday 21 and Friday, February 22. When people turned up to visit they found a notice on the door saying the consultation had been cancelled, a message reinforced on the Council’s website. I understand the cancellation was at very short notice. What on earth is the Council up to? No reason for the cancellation appears to have been given. And it’s cancellation that has been mentioned, nor postponement. We deserve some communication and explanation. Has the Council abandoned its plan for a conservation area? Is there some other reason for a delay, even though ‘cancellation’ has been mentioned? Those of us concerned with the regeneration of the area, and trying to work with the Council to improve it, would very much like to know, as I’m sure would many other Sheffielders. Over to you, City Council; tell us what’s going on, please.