by Joanna Fawcett Jones
A 150- year-old church had gone up for sale with a pricetag of £1.4m sparking fears the at risk building could be turned into flats.
Once the hub of Sheffield’s Irish community, St Vincent’s church on Solly Street, has been lying unused for 20 years and has become a target for vandals.
The Victorian Society recently added the historical site to its list of Sheffield’s most at risk buildings along with the Old Town Hall.
They are now campaigning to keep the church as a space for the community.
The two acre site is currently used as a city centre car park and storage for the St Vincent’s Charity which distributes second hand furniture to those in need.
Valerie Bayliss, chairman of The Victorian Society’s South Yorkshire Regional said: “The diocese have been trying to sell the building for years.
“I imagine it will go for apartments or student flats, like all the other sites in the area.
“The Presbytery up the hill from the church was sold off and has planning permission for residential conversion.”
In 2004 plans were made to turn the church site into a community green space through the St Vincent’s Quarter Action Plan but no progress has been made.
Valerie Bayliss said: “It would have been good if St Vincent’s could have been kept for community use but if the diocese is insistent in taking a very strict view of its responsibilities as a charity to maximise what it gets, which I am told it is, then that won’t happen.
“Of course if they still fail to sell they might be persuaded to change their position.”
Tom Garrurd Property Manager for the Diocese of Hallam said: “At present we are unable to enter into any discussions about the former St Vincent’s church and the site at Solly Street as we are in negotiations for the sale of the site.”
The church remains on the market.