Delayed and dismantled – Sheffield Shipping Containers run aground

Shipping Containers

In November, an article surrounding the changes in Sheffield’s nightlife economy was published, looking at the growing variety of events, mixed-use spaces and quirky developments being experienced by those visiting Sheffield city centre. Since then, one of the main developments mentioned, the Steel Yard Shipping Containers, has been closed and is being dismantled due to a series of controversies, a lack of profit and Council errors in the erection of the containers.

The previous article detailed the optimism and excitement we felt for this the new, mixed-use, alternative development in the city centre. Steel Yard planned to utilise steel shipping containers to ensure sustainability – steel being synonymous with the city and a more sustainable alternative to brick and cement. It was envisaged that the development would boost the regeneration of the Fargate area with initial investment into the development intended to help the recovery of the post-pandemic economy in the city centre, driving footfall and providing a boost to the night time economy.

Consisting of eight units, the pop-up spaces would help independent businesses gain a foothold and raise their profiles within the city centre, together with introducing green infrastructure, outdoor seating, food vendors, a sports bar and much needed city centre public toilets.

However, the development was hit with controversy. The opening was delayed by 3 months, from July 2022 to October due in part to the discovery of underground water pipes on the site. This exacerbated existing problems. There were unplanned relocation costs to maintain sewer access, which raised total costs to £420k from the original £300k. Additionally, the council were spending £17k a month on top of £10k to cover fuel and hire a generator because mains power cables were removed. This led to further building work being paused, unfilled units and the bar on the first floor never opening. By early 2023, businesses were told they had less than 3 weeks left to trade as the whole park was to be closed by January 30th.

In light of the decision to dismantle the Steel Yard Shipping Containers, the Strategies and Resources Committee at Sheffield City Council are discussing three options for the future of the containers, including; relocation to an area near the Sheffield Train Station, reuse within the community or sale of the units. With the dismantling of the containers expected to take until March to complete, organisations will be able to submit an application for the future of the units ahead of the Council’s decision on the proposals in April. The preferred option for the containers is for use within the community, with a recommendation to move them to a city centre park to provide public toilet facilities and a café. This will allow local community groups to improve facilities and improve a local park to create a longer-term positive use for the city.

The dismantling and removal of the Shipping Containers will make way for the £15.8 million revamp and redevelopment of Fargate as a whole. This focusses on renewing and reshaping the city centre in a way that drives growth, improves experience and ensures future sustainability. This will be completed with funding from the Future High Streets Fund to implement landscaping, green planting, seating areas and landscaping.

We look forward to watching how Fargate can develop into a sustainable, enjoyable and transformative landscape within the city centre, as well as discovering the positive future for the relocated Shipping Containers.

With an office at Park Hill we have a close connection with Sheffield with numerous clients and projects in the region. Please get in touch for advice on any planning issues or potential projects.

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