Sheffield Council are at it again; having trashed the fine ’60s Castle Market last year they are now pleading lack of funds to repair the imposing 1920s Central Library. Even before the budgetary cuts they ignored both buildings for 30 years, and now want to maximise the income from the library site. Even they realise pulling it down might cause a ripple (it is listed, not that they’ve let that stop them in the past – pulling down a medieval Corn Mill in the ’60s to avoid paying £2K to mend the roof), so instead they are selling it to a Chinese funded consortium to turn into a posh hotel, and promise ‘some’ space will be kept for the library and art gallery. They are too dumb to realise that round the corner, Sheffield’s first 4 star 1960s hotel (where anyone who was anyone stayed) has just been raised to the ground and would have been much easier to upgrade.
After an outcry they now say they’ll let us have a bit of room for a “new” library in their Town Hall. When I was in there last year, their own building seemed in an even worse condition than the library! Anyway, given this Council’s terrible record on art and history and culture I don’t see them budging on this one; they can do a PFI deal to get our road network resurfaced, but not a relatively tiny sum to fix the library. Some less cynical people are up for fighting though, and there is a petition to sign which might provoke a debate if enough people sign it.