Old Town Hall: historic Sheffield building fails to sell at auction after attracting no bids

Sheffield’s Old Town Hall failed to sell at auction despite a sale figure of £750,000 - a big drop on its original £1.35m asking price.

By Rob Hollingworth
Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 8:42 am

The historic building on Castle Street was due to be sold by Allsop auctioneers but attracted no bids – prompting the Friends of the Old Town Hall to demand action to save it.

“It’s disappointing that no-one came forward to take this amazing building on,” said Valerie Bayliss, chair of the Friends group.

"In some ways we aren’t surprised. We know the potential costs of restoration are high, and in the present climate that’s a challenge. But only a few months ago the agents were saying there was a lot of interest. Where did it all go? We thought then that the original asking price of £1.35m was unrealistic. But even with an auction guide price of £750,00 there were no takers.”

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The Old Town Hall on Waingate and Castle Street.

The Grade 2 listed building was put up for sale in the summer by receivers appointed after the collapse of Aestrom OTH Ltd, the company set up to restore the building.

Planning consent was granted for conversion to upmarket short-let apartments, hotel rooms, an indoor market and office space. Aestrom collapsed into administration before work could start on conversion.

But the problem posed by the Old Town Hall is significant, says the Friends group, becvause it is part of Castlegate, which has just won cash for redvelopment from the Government’s Levelling-Up Fund.

"We know – after seven years’ hard work on assessing the condition of the building, and what could be done with it - how critical it will be to the future of the whole area,” said Valerie.

"If Castlegate is to be revived the Old Town Hall has to be sorted, and if the Old Town Hall is to be sorted then Castlegate has to be sorted. The two are interdependent.

“It’s time for some serious thinking,” said Valerie. “We call on the council to do just that and to seek out partners to develop a practical and feasible solution. It won’t be a quick or easy ask, but the city can’t afford to leave the building to rot any longer.”