Topic

Heritage Buildings

13 petitions

Update posted 3 weeks ago

Petition to Sheffield City Council

Sheffield City Council: don’t sell off Birley Spa Bath House!

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.        

Friends of Birley Spa
1,000 supporters
Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to UK government

Give automatic interim protection to buildings proposed for listing

Our built heritage is irreplaceable, and most people recognise its cultural and economic value. Listed buildings are given special protection by law, and it is a criminal offence to damage them, but current UK legislation offers no automatic interim protection to buildings which are under consideration for listing. As a result, over many years a long string of historic buildings have been destroyed or deliberately vandalised in order to prevent them being listed. Most famously the art Deco Firestone building in West London was bulldozed over a bank holiday weekend. Since then the same fate has befallen buildings ranging from important industrial heritage to ancient country pubs. More recently a rare and beautiful Jacobean ceiling in a former restaurant in Bristol was ripped out before it could be assessed for listing. It had survived the civil war. It had survived the industrial revolution. It had survived the Blitz and the depredations of 1960's town planning - only to be smashed to pieces as soon as it was put forward for listing.  If a local authority considers a building to be at special risk, they can choose to serve a Building Preservation Notice. But local authorities are reluctant to issue Building Preservation Notices, and often there is no prior reason to suspect that the owner will damage the building. Only a handful of BPN's are issued each year. Numerous organisations including The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, The Victorian Society, Bristol Heritage Forum and The Twentieth Century Society are calling for change to provide interim protection. In Wales buildings under consideration for listing are automatically given interim protection while their status is decided. But the UK parliament has failed to support similar legislation, which was previously proposed in 2008. If this legislation had been introduced when first proposed, many historic buildings might have been saved. The longer it takes to close this planning loophole, the more of our history and culture we will loose. I urge the UK government to amend the law to ensure that vulnerable historic buildings in the rest of the UK have the same protection as those in Wales. https://www.apollo-magazine.com/is-the-system-for-protecting-historic-buildings-working/ Draft 2008 Heritage Protection Bill: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/22858205/7349.pdf Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016: http://cadw.gov.wales/historicenvironment/policy/historicenvironmentbill/?lang=en Firestone building: http://www.richmondandtwickenhamtimes.co.uk/news/626950.25_years_on___the_end_of_Firestone/ Sittingbourne Paper Mill and Blue Boys Inn:     https://cprekent.org.uk/news/standing-kents-built-heritage/ 15 Small Street, Bristol:             http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/01/historic-england-hits-roof-400-year-old-ceiling-torn-day-inspectors/ Carlton Tavern: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/11525262/Bulldozers-level-historic-pub-the-day-before-it-is-due-to-be-listed.html  

Neil McKay
7,301 supporters