Friends of Birley Spa launch petition to keep historic Victorian bath house for public
The Friends of Birley Spa has launched a petition to ensure a historic Grade II-listed building is kept for the community.
The friends group has fought to bring a Victorian bath house – the only one of its kind left in South Yorkshire – in Hackenthorpe back into public use since Sheffield Council tried to auction it off in 2018 with a guide price of up to £100,000.
Fiona Milne of the friends group launched the petition which has gathered more than 230 signatures within the first 18 hours.
In their petition statement, the group said: “It has an incredible history and we, the Friends of Birley Spa, recognise it as a hidden gem that should be restored and adored for future generations. Most of all it is a community asset that should remain at the heart of the community. It is surrounded by an area of immense natural beauty and biodiversity.
“With continued love, hard work and the right investment it could be a wonderful community hub, providing access to local heritage and nature for people of all ages from Sheffield and beyond.
“In troubled times we see it as key to providing physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.
“Birley Spa Bath House is currently owned by Sheffield City Council. We passionately believe [Sheffield Council] must guarantee Birley Spa House remains a public, community asset.”
The building was made an asset of community value in 2018 which means if the council put it up for auction again, the community will have a six month notice to raise money and bid for it. This right to notice lasts for five years from Thursday, November 8, 2018.
The friends group has been in talks with the council about the future of the site but progress was delayed by Covid-19 and no plans have yet been settled.
The Friends ultimately want part of the site to be used as a cafe and for the building to be open for public visits and learning about history. Upstairs they hope could be turned into a wellbeing studio or something else that could help generate a sustainable income to keep the building maintained.
This is a link to the petition: https://www.change.org/p/sheffield-city-council-guarantee-birley-spa-bath-house-remains-a-community-asset?recruiter=24210098&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_message&utm_term=share_email_responsive&recruited_by_id=039feb40-a07f-0130-edc4-3c764e04dd47&share_bandit_exp=message-30279596-en-GB