Sheffield Council make historic spa an '˜asset of community value'

A community group are '˜jumping for joy' at the news Sheffield City Council decied to make an at risk Victorian spa an '˜asset of community value', after months of disputes.

Birley Spa Bath House, in Hackenthorpe, is a 176 year old, Grade II-listed building that over the years has been used for guided tours, community meetings, a playground for children and wedding receptions.

But the council put it up for sale when it was left derelict for almost a decade.

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Since, the Friends of Birley Spa have campaigned to keep it in the communities hands, and gained the support of MPs, councillors and more than 200 local residents.

The auction was postponed for further talks with the community and in the meantime, the council have approved a request to make it an '˜asset of community value'.

Abby Beckett-Smith, leader of the Friends of Birley Spa, said: 'It's absolutely marvellous news. When we told one of the members who works in a shop they were jumping for joy.

'It's quite overwhelming after a long period of bad news.'

It means that if the council put it up for auction again, the community are given six months notice to raise money and bid for the spa.

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This right to notice will last for five years from tomorrow, Thursday 8 November.

Councillor Jim Steinke, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, made the decision.

He said: 'We have been very encouraged and impressed by the Friends of Birley Spa and their high-profile campaign to preserve this building. There is no doubt that the building holds a special place in the local area and their campaign has attracted the supported of MPs and other leading voices.

'I am happy to agree with the recommendation that it be registered as an asset of community value which gives campaigners an opportunity to put together their own bid to secure a viable and alternative use for the spa and its associated grounds.

'This is further evidence of the council's commitment to register assets that the local community feel are of value.'