September the 8th, 2009
Could it be that one of Rotherham' s most intractable heritage problems is at last going to be solved? After trying for more than 16 years to persuade the borough council to use its powers to save and restore the former Three Cranes Inn, we have secured an assurance that it is going to happen.
The Three Cranes, the oldest secular building in the town centre and featured in the folk song "Sam Firth to Rotherham Stattis Went," ceased to be a pub in 1907. It later housed Wakefield's Army Stores but has been almost completely unoccupied for a good many years and has been allowed to fall into a serious sate of disrepair despite its status as a Grade IT listed building.
Over the years, our society has made many approaches to the borough council with suggestions about how the pnJblem could be tackled, using compulsory purchase powers and collaborating with a tmst or commercial company, but we never achieved a positive response.
Now our hopes are high that this important old building - or what remains of it - is going to be saved. At a recent well-attended meeting, the COlIDCil's conservation officer Peter Thornborrow, gave a lecture on timber framed buildings and, when pressed by us at question time, gave a frrm assurance that the Three Cranes building will be saved and restored with the use of cash from the Townscape Heritage Initiative, a scheme which our society has strongly supported.
Letter to Mr. Peter Thornborrow, Urban Design and Conservation Officer of Rotherham Council.
There is a matter concerning the former Three Cranes Inn on which we should welcome some clarification.
We were, of course, very pleased with the firm assurance you gave, at the meeting you addressed on the subject of timber framed buildings, that this very important building would be restored with the aid of THI money.
However, the matter must be somewhat complicated by the fact that the present owner, who apparently paid a hugely inflated price for the building, is in some difficulty with his company in receivership. As you will know, this Society has tried several times during the last 17 years or so to persuade the Council to take effective action, with the use of CPO powers if necessary, to secure the restoration of the building.
We should be grateful if you would let us know, in terms as precise as possible, what urgent steps are now being taken to deal with this matter in the light of the "priority" status provided in the Conservation Area Management Plan. The future use of the building must, of course, be an essential component of any restoration scheme and, in that connection, we must assume that representatives of either the receivers or the local authority are making approaches to an appropriate commercial company or trust.