Sheffield City Council has been successful in its fifth attempt to sell publicly owned land belonging to Graves Park, the biggest public park in the city.
On the 26th January 2016, the 17th century cottage on the edge of Graves Park was sold at auction for £152,000 to a private buyer.
One of the conditions of the sale was the full renovation of the cottage for residential use, once used for social housing.
The sale of the Grade II listed building went ahead despite a petition signed by more than 12,500 people to protect Cobnar Cottage.
However, according to a survey conducted by Sheffield Hallam University the sale was supported by 85% of the 400 questioned.
Ian Aukland: "working with the Friends of Graves Park to protect Sheffield's largest park is far better than £152k" pic.twitter.com/woIBX6gkes
— Kurtis Crossland (@KurtisCrossland) February 3, 2016
The cottage, and Graves Park itself, belongs to the people of Sheffield after being gifted to them by J G Graves in 1925.
The council said it was acting as charitable trustees, saying it has written confirmation from the Charity Commission of the council’s power to sell the cottage.
“Whilst there are restrictive covenants contained in the Conveyance of Graves Park to the Council, there are not any that prevent or restrict our ability to sell Cobnar Cottage”, said a Sheffield City Council statement.
The money raised from the sale is to be spent on the up keeping of Graves Park so it complies with conditions laid out in the Charities Act 2011 in relation to the sale of charity land.
Caroline Dewar, chair of Friends of Graves Park, said: “This is an attack on Graves Park. I think the council will promise that the money will be put to grand schemes in the park. But it won’t.”
Friends of Graves Park hoped the money would be spent on buying replacement land to benefit the park, and have started proceedings to obtain written assurance that no more of Graves Park will be disposed of.
You can become a member of Friends of Graves Park, and make a donation to help pay the cost of legal procedures here.