To receive any questions or petitions from the public relating to the issue to be discussed.
Robin Hughes attended the meeting and asked the following question: I hope that this committee agrees that Sheffield's best chance of winning the confidence of investors and funders is to show a united front in pursuit of achievable goals. Some recent statements to the media have unfortunately appeared to be based on partial information or misunderstandings and have risked showing disunity.
Hasty attempts to reverse new protections can only delay and deter. Raising the listing in Parliament is unlikely to have a happy outcome. The Council's own application has resulted in the listing, and the Secretary of State’s response may well refer to this fact. The statement to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport recently made public seems likely to antagonise them when we need them the most. There is no such thing as a “pause”. The building is listed now and will remain so unless delisted. This would be unwise to attempt: for Castle House the review took 15 months, and failed.
Instead, will this committee:
· Confirm that Historic England have been consulted to understand the nature and extent of acceptable change;
· Convene a group of elected members and other knowledgeable stakeholders, such as Historic England, Sheffield Property Association and Sheffield Society of Architects, to find a positive way forward on the opportunity provided by this national asset and how to make it deliver for Sheffield;
· Seek a meeting with the DDCMS, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Arts Council England, and others to explore potential support for a cultural use such as the Library-based Sheffield Story House, complementing the National Gallery of the North proposed for the Graves building;
· Prioritise adopting a strategic approach to culture and heritage in order to maximise the potential for central funding in these areas.
The Chair thanked Mr Hughes for his question and invited him to observe the debate on the issue at this meeting, which would respond to the issues raised.