A new report to Sheffield City Council has thrown further light on the parlous state of some of the 800+ buildings in the council’s estate, many of which are iconic and much loved in Sheffield City Centre. Last year, I revealed that the repairs and maintenance bill for these buildings was in the region of £200m, £48m of which is deemed ‘critical and essential’. The new report now asserts that this that bill may even be higher owing to a number of considerations . “However, it is possible that the actual costs could be higher due to a variety of factors, such as increased logistics costs, a resurgence in industry workload, and higher material expenses”.

Many of care about Sheffield’s heritage in JUHS (Joined Up Heritage Sheffield) and some of the buildings are those such as the Sheffield, Central Library, Graves art gallery, and other iconic buildings which are important to our heritage. Yet, I see none of this being discussed in the draft Development Plan for the City Council, nor in any of its draft City Goals which is the strategy document to lead our City’s future. Why does this matter? Well because as the report says “Neglecting maintenance can lead to financial burdens, health and safety hazards and legal liabilities”. I would go further and say that, witnessing some of our iconic buildings being neglected like this affects our very sense of health and well-being, individually and collectively in the city. I’m extremely distressed by this state of affairs and knowing that the sum allocated for this is only £8m. These are issues which the city goals should be considering and which are vitally important to the people of Sheffield.

Andy Kershaw