Dear Messenger

St Hilda's Church, Windmill Lane
St Hilda's Church, Windmill Lane

Residents campaign for St Hilda's

The campaign’s website at also has details of the church’s history.

Dear Bishop Steven

I am a local resident in Firth Park and am writing to you with regards to the planned demolition of St Hilda’s Parish Church on Windmill Lane. I would like to express my genuine concern at the plan to knock this incredible building from our horizon. Not only is it a domineering and impressive structure but the building is part of the heritage of an area not blessed with many buildings of note.

It is only coincidental that I heard that the building is planned to be demolished and I can only hope that the process is not too far down the line to not have some chance to be averted. I am an active member of the local community and can say I have heard of no public consultation process or dialogue locally to gauge the feelings of local people for the building and have heard nothing in the Burngreave Messenger or the Sheffield papers.

I would be interested to find out a little about the process that the church has gone through in order to come to this sad conclusion. Whether there is any chance of finding an alternative destination for such a fine structure? It seems the physical position of the church would make for a rather awkward site for redevelopment. I don’t know how the Anglican Church feels about churches being given new use and a conversion to another purpose. I do strongly feel this is a valued local site and perhaps the local community have not been able to show their appreciation of it. Now that it faces demolition and the matter has been brought to light I see there is some considerable disappointment. A petition and website have been established to enable people to let their feelings be noted. We have already over 30 local families that feel strongly that an alternate use for this building should be found and that it should survive.

In a society where faith is not practiced to the extent it once was – the church as a building exudes a powerful message that reminds us that faith embraces us irrespective of the passing of time or change of use. I truly believe that a church put to other use is still speaking a message for faith.

This building symbolises an element of the heritage of this area and represents the community regardless of faith. An area, as I mentioned, not blessed with the many sites of note that perhaps the more affluent areas have. I see this neighbourhood, despite apparently not appreciating its value, bring robbed by its destruction.

Not only is the building one of considerable merit, it remains in extremely good tact and structurally sound. Vandalism seems to have caused only superficial damage to the interior. Raised to the ground nothing is left of the story this church tells – it is a strong and powerful building that I find hard to believe cannot be found a proper and fitting use. Even a private sale and redevelopment of some sort would be better than demolition, storage or workshops perhaps – ideally community use that engages the local people and works to re-establish lost values. The energy put into its build and that which is required for its demotion cries out for an alternative.

Once gone it is lost forever I implore you to reconsider this decision and put brakes on this process.

With respect and kind regards

Hendrika Stephens and Family

Dear Mike and Hendrika

Thank you for your email and recent telephone conversation. I have now managed to speak with the Diocese of Sheffield, look at your website and have also read yesterday's article in the Sheffield Star.

I would like to confirm the current situation and status of the building:

St Hilda's was formally closed for regular public worship since October 1st 2007. Following closure a marketing campaign was undertaken by the Diocese which resulted in their acceptance of an offer for the re-development of the site for residential use, subject to the publication of a draft Pastoral (Church Buildings Disposal) Scheme by the Commissioners.

A draft Scheme empowering the Diocese to demolish the building and sell or lease the site of the building and annexed land was issued by the Commissioners and notification of these proposals were published in the Sheffield Star on 15 August 2011.

Notifications of the draft Scheme were also issued to our statutory consultees and a notice was placed on the door to the church.

No representations were received against the draft scheme.

St Hilda's is an unlisted church in poor condition caused by severe damp penetration and regular attacks of vandalism. The interior of the church has been largely destroyed and burnt out including the organ and its case.  English Heritage have not considered this building worthy of listing and the Commissioners' own Statutory Advisory Body (SAC), that Advise the Commissioners on the Architectural and Historic importance of Church of England church buildings agreed it would not raise objections to the demolition of this building.

The Commissioners are satisfied that the Pastoral Measure Procedures have been followed and see no reason why the Scheme should not be implemented as an offer on the property has been accepted.

I understand this may be disappointing to you,  but I am sorry to say that your interest in this building has come at the very end of this process, after public consultation, and after an offer has been accepted by the Diocese.

I am happy to notify you of any further developments regarding this case and please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

Yours sincerely

Ross Brazier, Closed Churches Division, Church Commissioners

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The content on this page was added to the website by Kate Atkinson on 2012-02-03 21:33:08.
The content of the page was last modified by Douglas Johnson on 2012-02-05 20:16:13.

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