The Castlegate Preservation Trust, set up in 2017, is looking for new board members and advisers to help it preserve the heritage of the city.
The Trust is focused on improving the heritage of buildings in the Castlegate area of Sheffield, but its top priority is to save the city’s neglected and deteriorating Old Town Hall and Courthouse, in Waingate.
The group’s chairman, Valerie Bayliss, described 2018 as a “critical year”.
She said: “The Old Town Hall is in a bad state and getting worse. It’s owned by a London-based private company who don’t appear to have any plans for its future. We want to rescue it and turn it into the asset for the community that it ought to be. And this is the year we really want to start putting our rescue plan into operation.”
The owners, G1 London Properties Ltd, put the building up for sale a couple of years ago, says Valerie, and the last advertised price was £3m.
She added: “They don’t seem to have had any offers to pay that, which is no surprise as we’ve had a professional valuation that it’s worth nothing at all in its current state because of the big repair bill.”
So the Trust was set up by the Friends of the Old Town Hall as a body that would have the ability to acquire the building and bring it back into use.
“This will be a big task,” Valerie added, “Involving fund-raising on a large scale and then a major building project, before the Trust’s ambitions for offering the place as a facility for the community can be implemented.
“We currently have three foundation trustees with experience in the heritage management, public and third sectors. They and the Friends’ organisation have done a lot of preparatory work, having won grants from among others the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Architectural Heritage Fund and Sheffield Town Trust.
“Now we need to strengthen the Board with new members with a range of skills and experience: people with property-based experience, people experienced in the kind of business we aim to operate from the building, like provision of workspace, cafes and bars.” Email email@example.com if you’re interested .