Sheffield's dilapidated Old Town Hall 'could be transformed into flats'
The owner of Sheffield's Old Town Hall is drawing up plans to convert the historic building into flats, it is understood.
The news has sparked concerns about what will happen to the once grand interior of the Grade II-listed premises, which were home to the city's courts but have fallen into derelicition.
The derelict building is still listed for sale but it is understood the freeholder G1 London Properties now hopes to develop the landmark itself, following a lack of interest from potential buyers.
Speaking at the group's AGM yesterday, chairwoman Valerie Bayliss said: "It seems the owners, after years of neglect, have appointed architects and surveyors, presumably with a view to submitting a planning application.
"The building is apparently to be turned into apartments, and this will take two years.
The friends group is working on its own plans to buy the building and restore it for the community, with various uses including restaurants and performance spaces being considered.
It hopes to help fund the purchase by inviting members of the public to buy shares in the building, though it estimates full restoration would require 'well north' of £10 million which would have to come largely from grants.
The response was overwhelmingly in favour of the latter.
Ms Bayliss said: "The story of the last 14 years since G1 bought the Old Town Hall is not encouraging for the future of the building.
"The council and the city have been messed about royally by the owner and we think it's time for this to stop."
Monday's meeting also heard how despite recent activity at the site, the owner had still failed to supply the council with a key so urgent repairs to the roof could be carried out.
It is understood the council is pressing ahead with legal action to gain access to the building.
The friends group hopes to persuade the council to use compulsory purchase powers to force the owner to sell up, so the group can proceed with its plans to take over the building.