The campaign to save Portland works is entering it's last days now. The planning meeting will be some time between now and 18th February.
Portland is the first place in the world where stainless steel was made into cutlery, probably more people in the world today use stainless cutlery than speak the English Language, it could be argued to be our most widespread cultural export. The works is still being used by a range of traditional Sheffield metalworking trades including forging tools, making traditional pocket knives and engraving and die making. Portland was bought a few years ago by a property speculator and the planning application would result in the eviction of all the 20 or more businesses that use the works and conversion to flats.
There is a nice piece in the Sheffield Telegraph here
It is frustrating that the living heritage of a site like this is not yet recognised by any government agencies. There are very good safeguards in place to protect the fabric of the building but having visited several cutlery works that have been converted, and this last one which has not, then I can say the loss of character is nothing short of catastrophic.
We can only hope that the rapidly building public opposition to the proposal will have an effect on the soon to face re-election councilors who have to make the decision. It is doubly frustrating that if the application is approved it will almost certainly be public money via HLF and English Heritage that subsidises the conversion yet the benefit will be to the pocket of the developer.
If you have not already done so you can join the save Portland facebook group http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78074317552&ref=ts
Visit the blog http://portlandworks.blogspot.com/
Or for those that want to become more involved by writing an opposition letter or joining the campaign group visit the website http://www.portlandworks.co.uk/