More than 600 people sign petition to keep Sheffield’s Birley Spa for the community

More than 600 people signed a petition in just one week to guarantee that a historic Victorian bath house is kept for the community.

By Molly Williams, Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 20th August 2021, 3:07 pm

The Friends of Birley Spa launched the petition as part of its ongoing fight to save the Grade II listed bath house in Hackenthorpe, which is the only one of its kind left in South Yorkshire.

The group has fought to bring it back to the community since Sheffield Council tried to auction it off in 2018, following years when it laid derelict and disused.

It has been opened for events by the Friends group who look after the site and the grounds but the building is still in much need of repair.

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Birley Spa.

In a petition statement, Fiona Milne, of the Friends, 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.”

Birley Spa.

Commenting on the petition, Christine Yeardley, one of 626 people who have signed it so far, said: “I believe this is an asset for the community and surrounding areas. I used to walk from Occupation Lane to the woods and look at the baths in my childhood. We need to save it.”

Kath Birch, who also signed the petition, commented: “We need to save and renovate historic buildings for future generations to enjoy and learn about their history.”

Margaret Wilson added: “It is and should be the lovely history for people everywhere to come and see it all the time.”

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.

Residents have signed a petition to keep Birley Spa for the community.

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

The site.
The site.