Cllr Brian Holmshaw
Cllr Brian Holmshaw at Weston Park Museum

In a debate on Sheffield’s Heritage Strategy Green Councillors have called for more action to promote and support the rich cultural heritage of Sheffield.

Councillor Brian Holmshaw, Green Councillor for Broomhill and Sharrow Vale said,

“Sheffield needs heritage for the ordinary people of Sheffield. For its social, economic and environmental impact, for retrofitting and re-use of historic buildings. It is good for the city and it makes people feel good about themselves. And our council’s heritage policy and practice should be cross-party and established by consensus. 

Its grassroots campaigning from ‘Joined Up Heritage’ and the dozens of heritage organisations they represent that’s made the difference! Not the council, who frankly should have been working with heritage already. ‘Joined up Heritage’ must be immensely proud of what they have done – and finally, finally persuaded the council to listen.

The city has been missing out on funding for years due to a backward view of heritage. A few examples. Statistics show that the southeast Sheffield area is chronically underfunded by the Heritage Lottery Fund – we could be supporting Birley Spa and others there. In the city the Old Town Hall, the Salvation Army Citadel and others. 

We have no Heritage Action Zones in the city. Other cities do. Why – because the council messed it up. We underfunded officers to be able to deliver heritage funding applications. 

Another example. We have one conservation officer for more than 600,000 residents and over 2000 listed buildings and precious few enforcement resources. It’s not enough, 

Cllr Angela Argenzio, Chair of the Adult Health and Social Care Committee said,

Heritage is not solely in tangible assets; heritage is culture and, how we promote and champion our rich and diverse cultures in Sheffield, is paramount to how we flourish as a city and how we evolve, preserving the past by looking at the future.

Music has always been a huge part of my life and Sheffield has such a wonderful musical history. I want to highlight two musical heritage assets in the city that are so important and whose future is in the balance:

First up is the Organ at City Hall which belongs to the Council.  It was built by Henry Willis & Sons at a cost of £12,650 and is now the only remaining example in the world still unaltered from the original construction.  Its original 1935 hairline wiring & relays (state of the art at the time) are still intact. It is now valued at around £1m. The reason why the organ is untouched is that the Council has never done anything to it unlike what has happened to other organs in the country…

 Second up is Red Tape Studios where so many amazing artists went through their musical journey and the rumours circulating about its long-term future.

 We cannot lose either of these heritage assets: we must do all in our power to preserve and champion them to ensure they are still here for future generations to use and enjoy. We need to do this cross-party, working together because heritage is about all of us.”