Today’s columnist, Ron Clayton: Revitalise city’s heritage

Wadsley Art Festical 2015'Jason Heppenstall with one of his recycled sculptures
Wadsley Art Festical 2015'Jason Heppenstall with one of his recycled sculptures
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There’s a 1930s song to aviator Amy Johnson – graduate of the University of Sheffield – lost in the service of her country over the Thames Estuary in 1941.It’s called Amy, Wonderful Amy.

Now Amey – the other one – is causing a few rustlings up Rustlings Road and elsewhere these days.

Trees are a key element in the green heritage of Sheffield’s urban environment – which is part of its attraction and makes up – to a degree – for the litter blight.

What with Amey also coming round with ‘new lamps for old’ you wonder if we have a bit of a pantomime on our hands.

Some trees do pose problems and it’s good to note at first glance the issue on Dodd Street in S6 has been tackled.

I had a very pleasant couple of days at the Wadsley Church Arts Festival recently relaxing in the oasis of what was a country churchyard – great to meet with folk making a statement about community and identity – in this case – Wadsley.

The same thing is happening here in Malin Bridge where there are plans to restore St Polycarp’s War Memorial for July 1, 2016 – a very poignant date in the history of Sheffield and the UK, as the centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme.

We’ve had a Sheffield Urban Design Festival which included looks around the city centre as regards how you build communities in a Sheffield that’s changing faster than you realise.

To my mind that’s by keeping as much of the heritage as you can and revitalising it – ’gentrification ‘ to a degree.

Sometimes that means people feeling alienated but people sometimes feel alienated for other reasons.

Part of the process are those buzz words public engagement – proper public engagement starts with communication and disclosure.

It would be interesting to hear more detail from the council and university regarding what they have in mind for the Castle Market site – also as to whether the former St Philip’s and St George’s vicarages at Brook Hill are going to remain part of the citycape.

This was going to be my last column (how many times have I said that).

I’m finding them harder to write – a book to finish, a website to update and other pressures (three cheers for frontline NHS staff). but writing , even if only letters, enfranchises the individual, where the ballot box end product usually fails.

At the end of the day you very rarely find real kindred spirits – we all have our own agenda after all.

* Ron Clayton, Sheffield Historian