Sheffield City Council: don’t sell off Birley Spa Bath House!
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Birley Spa is a grade 2 Listed Victorian Bath House situated in a wooded ravine with a garden, large pond and grounds in Hackenthorpe, Sheffield. It is also part of the Shirebrook Valley nature reserve. It has in the past received £500,000 in funding from the Heritage National Lottery and South Yorkshire Forest Partnership. This funding allowed for the renovation of the Spa building in order that it’s large hall could be used by the local community and the Victorian plunge pool would be available for public heritage tours.
Local people have happy memories of attending wedding receptions, events and a wide variety of activities at Birley Spa. The grounds are a haven for wildlife and a quiet, peaceful place to visit in a bustling city. People spent their childhood here playing there.
Local schools are wanting to visit the site and view the plunge pool as part of educational visits.
In recent years, Sheffield City Council, who own the building, have allowed it to fall into disrepair and lie unused.
On 14th June 2018, a concerned member of the public wrote to Sheffield City Council about the poor state of the building and grounds. He received the shocking reply that the council were preparing to sell it privately.
On 16th July 2018, after another enquiry to Sheffield City Council, the head of Regeneration and Planning confirmed that Birley Spa was not up for sale, nor had it already been sold.
On 20th July 2018, local councillor fails to respond to our request to view the building and our offer to negotiate.
On 25th July 2018, the councillor responsible for the city’s heritage, states that a developer may be involved with Birley Spa.
Sheffield City Council have not consulted the public over the proposed sell-off or assessed the impact on the Shirebrook Valley Nature Reserve. No thought had been given as to how public access to the site may be affected.
Local people are very upset about the possible sale of Birley Spa and want to see the community room brought back into use and the site properly maintained.
The Friends of Birley Spa want to negotiate with the council with a view to bringing the building back into use for the local community and to see the public heritage tours restart.
This is an unique site with grounds that could be restored and has potential for all kinds of activities, old and new. It is also part of a Nature Reserve which should be protected for public use.
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