Historic Sheffield cottage goes to auction

Cobnar Cottage, Cobnar Road, Sheffield
Cobnar Cottage, Cobnar Road, Sheffield

The sale of a historic but rundown cottage at a Sheffield park is set to go ahead - after the city council rejected alternative plans to use the land to create a garden.

Plans to sell the 17th century Cobnar Cottage, on Cobnar Road, Norton Lees, for £80,000 were put on hold for a year to allow the Friends of Graves Park group to come up with other uses.

Members drew up a business plan suggesting the site of the cottage be turned back into parkland and used as a memorial garden.

But the council has instead decided to sell the Grade II listed building at public auction, with a view to it being used as a residential property.

Public notices have been put up giving people until February 20 to raise concerns.

The park’s buildings belong to the JG Graves Charitable Trust, of which the council is trustee.

Caroline Dewar, chair of the Friends of Graves Park, said the society will ‘strongly oppose’ the sale, while Ian Auckland, Liberal Democrat councillor for the Graves Park ward, said it was ‘absolutely the wrong decision’.

“The total cost of our business plan is £23,000 - none of this is to be paid by the council,” said Caroline.

“We have considerable experience of raising funds successfully for projects in the park and are prepared to match funding where requested. All of Graves Park’s land should be retained as an asset for the park.”

She claimed the sale would ‘break the binding covenants’ of the charity.

The house has been empty since 2006, and in 2013 the council said its rundown state had attracted some complaints.

Paul Billington, the council’s director of culture and environment, said the sale would create a ‘significant investment fund’.

“The charity would be bound by charity law to invest all the proceeds in improving the park. The group’s plan involved demolishing the cottage and creating a garden at a cost of £23,000 – no funding has been secured for this by the group.

“The group’s proposal of demolishing the cottage, incurring a significant cost to the charity and not having confirmed funding to meet these costs, was not regarded as a viable option or satisfactory alternative.

“As a result, plans to sell the cottage are in progress.”