Sheffield is currently the proud possessor of a rare and unbroken long run of Victorian commercial streetscape on Pinstone Street running all the way from Barkers Pool down to the bottom of Cambridge Street.
The decision to demolish has been taken despite revelations of the hotel’s important history which includes historic sporting and political links. This is obviously outweighed by the powers that be salivating at the thought of lots more juicy rates from the new shops and flats. (Providing that the new tenants and shoppers can afford the new parking charges!)
I was present at a meeting when the developers stated categorically that they could only create two flats out of the upper floors of the Athol so it was not a financially viable proposition to restore it. This is absolute tosh and, although I am not a qualified builder, I have seen the vast interiors of the building which could easily be converted into several period apartments. Stand outside and look up for yourself; you don’t even need to go inside to see the great potential. Frequent requests to the remove the 1920’s mock Tudor cladding to expose the Athol’s Victorian splendour have been brushed aside for fear of a Jim Bowen Bullseye type response of “here’s what you would have won” (or in this case – lost)
Sheffield Council has once again proved to the world its Philistine attitude to its heritage. Even Historic England (previously English Heritage) has frowned upon this scheme and their views were as follows; “The demolition of the Athol Hotel and 78-82 Pinstone Street and the height and bulk of the proposed 8 storey new-build will cause harm to the City Centre Conservation Area.” After all they’re only a national body of experts who have made their opinions clear, so let’s just ignore ‘em eh?
So well done Sheffield Council. The Luftwaffe would have been proud of you.
Hallamshire Historic Buildings