Whirlow Brook Hall: Council chief apologises after advert sparks alarm over 'sale' of historic hall

The chief executive of Sheffield City Council has denied one of the city’s best loved building is up for sale after a newspaper advert sparked a furore.

Kate Josephs was forced to take to Twitter to quell growing fears Whirlow Brook Hall was being ‘disposed of’.

The advert was in the Public Notices section in the Sheffield Telegraph and issued by Gillian Duckworth, director of legal and governance.

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It stated: “The land to be disposed of is Whirlow Brook Hall.”

Whirlow Brook Hall

Concern the authority was determined to sell one of the city’s crown jewels was further raised by it stating plans could only be viewed in person at the Moorfoot building.

And with a closing date for objections of January 6, some feared Christmas was being used to limit potential opposition.

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Historic Whirlow Brook Hall sits in landscaped gardens off Ecclesall Road South and is used for functions and weddings.

On Twitter on Friday an account called Vernon Oak posted: “Very bad news, I think! Sheffield Council has put Whirlow Brook Hall and grounds up for sale. Notice that the objections have to be in by Jan 6th. That won’t escape the attention of the thousands of Sheffielders who love this ‘open space’. What a disgrace!”

The post quickly attracted more than 100 likes and retweets.

There were hints that all was not as it seemed. The advert was titled an ‘Open Space Notice’ and stated the authority intended to dispose of ‘an area of land’.

But by Saturday afternoon council chief executive Kate Josephs was forced to investigate and clarify.

She posted: “Neither Whirlow Brook Hall nor the park itself will be sold or 'disposed of' - the consultation relates to the proposal to turn derelict toilets into a new cafe.

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“I’ve asked that the consultation be extended to 20th January and intend to make the plans viewable online.”

She added: “I apologise for the confusion that the wording on this notice has caused. It was never our intention to cause concern. This is a fantastic opportunity to further develop this beautiful park.”