Wednesday, 5 October 2011

News - Blue plaque plan set to be history (Sheffield)

PLANS for a blue plaque scheme for historic buildings in Sheffield were today set to be shelved – after being branded ‘unnecessary’ by the city’s Rotary Club, which already operates a scheme of its own.

The charitable organisation revealed it has worked with officers from the council to install more than 25 bronze plaques on buildings around Sheffield over the last 25 years.

Sheffield Council’s opposition Lib Dems proposed a motion calling for a city-wide blue plaque scheme after one of the signs was installed by the Hallamshire Historic Buildings Society at the ancestral home of chocolatiers the Thornton family in Norfolk Park.

Two other blue plaques exist, on the home of Victorian choirmaster Sir Henry Coward in Nether Edge and one commemorating 18th century steel pioneer Sir Benjamin Huntsman on Handsworth Road, Handsworth, where his old home once stood.

But after the Lib Dems proposed expanding blue plaques citywide, David Pollard, of the Rotary Club of Sheffield, revealed there is already a successful scheme fitting bronze plaques on historic buildings at no cost to the taxpayer.

He said: “This scheme is ongoing, with another plaque due to be installed this month in the city’s Paradise Square celebrating the life of the Blind Fiddler. Plaques already adorn most of the city’s most prestigious buildings, including the Cutlers’ Hall, and feature details of the history being celebrated.

“The service is undertaken by the Rotary Club of Sheffield and works in conjunction with English Heritage. These plaques are cast bronze and are not as invasive on the eye as the blue plaques. The other benefit is that Sheffield Council has not been asked to pay towards any of the plaques to date. Each plaque installation has been funded by a sponsor.”

Sheffield Council’s Labour group was due to pass an amendment to the Lib Dems’ motion at today’s full council meeting giving support to the bronze plaque scheme.

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