A campaign group set up to save a crumbling Sheffield landmark has hit out after the listed building was mysteriously withdrawn from sale.
The Old Town Hall in Waingate was listed for sale at £2 million just over a week ago as a ‘residential development opportunity’ – but is now no longer for sale despite having apparently attracted several enquiries.
Valerie Bayliss, chair of the campaign group Friends of the Old Town Hall, said: “Exactly the same thing happened a year ago, when a sale brochure appeared on a different agent’s website for a couple of weeks and then vanished.
“Clearly no sale took place then and it seems unlikely there’s been a sale now.
“We wonder what the owners are playing at.
“As far back as 2008 they advertised the building as for sale by auction, but it never got as far as the auction room.
“That happened after the Victorian Society included the Old Town Hall in its annual list of the country’s most endangered buildings.
“There’s a pattern here, and it isn’t one that helps the city.”
The former town hall and courthouse was once a cornerstone of Sheffield’s democracy and justice but it has lain dormant since 1996.
The Friends group has also commissioned a professional appraisal of potential options for the Grade II listed building’s future use.
Group member Brian Holmshaw added: “We expect the results of the study by the end of the year, and that it will open up the building to many more opportunities than simply residential conversion.
“Just look around the country. There are many town hall and courthouse conversions, as restaurants, offices and museums as well as housing.
“Places like Guildford, Oldham and Coventry have found imaginative new uses for them, often a mix of uses.
“In fact, while housing may be a possibility the layout of the Old Town Hall, with its two huge, top-lit Victorian courtrooms, makes it a challenge.”
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