Proposed housing development at Sheffield heritage site puts two traditional businesses in jeopardy
Two traditional Sheffield businesses face being squeezed out of their workshops if a proposed property sale and housing development go ahead at a famous heritage site.
Tenants Paul McCarthy Cabinets and Chris Perry’s Silversmiths – both based at The Cottages, on Alma Street, at Kelham Island Sheffield - face a costly move after their landlord at nearby AW Tools aims to sell the property where they are based to developer Citu who have earmarked the area for a housing development.
Mr McCarthy and Mr Perry said a move will leave them struggling to relocate and even if the Little Kelham housing scheme goes ahead a compensation payout from developer Citu would still not be enough to guarntee their future.
Kelham Island is one of the city’s oldest manufacturing sites boasting historical remnants from its proud cutlery and steel works and after it has already undergone redevelopment Mr McCarthy and Mr Perry feel allowances should be made to ensure traditional businesses which have contributed to the site’s success can remain.
Mr Perry said: “A lot of pressure has been applied to us to just literally move out. It’s an awful situation that our council and Government seem to allow people in these circumstances to have to just move their businesses out.”
Award-winning Chris Perry Silversmith’s has been based at Kelham Island for over 20 years and Paul McCarthy Cabinets has been at the location for nearly 15 years.
Sheffield City Councillors visited the silversmith’s and the heritage element was discussed, according to Mr Perry, because the building which is part of the old Globe Steel Works dates back to 1804.
Both Paul McCarthy Cabinets and Chris Perry Silversmith’s feel they have contributed to Kelham Island’s success and they survived the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic only to face further uncertainty as endangered tenants.
Mr Perry said compensation would only be twice the rateable value of the property which he described as “laughable” against the time-consuming and logistical cost of relocating.
He added he has been placed in a “perilous position” and has looked for alternative places but said finding somewhere suitable will be very difficult.
Mr Perry said: “There is pressure to be put on the council and Citu about their handling of the situation and what the law allows them to get away with.”
Both Mr McCarthy and Mr Perry hope that Citu and the council might be able to consider an arrangement where their businesses could remain if the housing development goes ahead.
Mr McCarthy said: “Both our businesses fit in with Kelham Island and more businesses would help the area and improve the image.”
He added: “We are determined to keep carrying on even if we have to move.”
AW Tools director Sam Walker said Kelham Island has become a place for people to live and it has become more difficult for them to operate in a costly old building with big containers arriving in pedestrianised areas.
He added AW Tools has had a good relationship with Mr McCarthy and Mr Perry and tried to reach an amicable solution with compensation but their offers were turned down.
A Sheffield City Council spokesman said they would consider Mr McCarthy and Mr Perry’s concerns. Developer Citu was given two days to comment but was unable to provide a statement.