£2.3m lifts bill at Sheffield Council

Sheffield Council is to spend more than £2million replacing a set of lifts in its city centre headquarters.

Councillors have approved a £2.3m scheme to install nine new lifts in the Moorfoot building, where a large number of the authority’s staff are based following a centralisation programme.

A report to the cabinet committee said the building’s existing machines were ‘old and experiencing failure on a regular basis’ and it would be more cost-effective to buy new ones – despite it not being a legal requirement to offer lifts.

The spending comes at a time of more cuts to the council’s budget.

Last month the authority voted to abolish free access to post-16 transport services for families of pupils with special needs, saving £184,000 per year.

At the time the council said it was ‘between a rock and a hard place’.

The report claimed maintenance costs for the lifts would ‘only increase further’ as the equipment aged and parts became more scarce.

“Nine of the lifts are now beyond economic repair,” said the document.

Specialists will be appointed to supply modern lift cars, gears and controls with ‘better automation’ and a 25-year lifespan.

“While not a legal requirement to have lifts, industry standards suggest a minimum number for a building of Moorfoot’s size and occupancy. This supports our requirement for replacement, as should more lifts suddenly fail, not only would the facilities provision in the building reduce, the standard would not be met.”

Coun Ben Curran, cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “We moved our staff to Moorfoot as part of work to reduce building costs which has saved the council more than £31 million. Unfortunately, the lifts have come to the end of their lifespan and are regularly faulty. We need to do this essential work to ensure the safety of staff and visitors to the building.”

In 2014 it was revealed the council had spent £26,000 on furniture at Moorfoot in a single year.