Bid to open real ale venue in time for music festival

A BREWERY is hoping to open a real ale bar and live music venue in Sheffield city centre in time for the Tramlines music festival at the end of next month.

But first it must convince the council that residents in the West One complex will not be unduly disturbed if the former Budgens supermarket in the plaza facing Fitzwilliam Street is converted into The Hop.

Ossett Brewery is asking for an early decision on its application in the hope of being ready for Tramlines, which will have a main stage on Devonshire Green, opposite West One.

The concept of the venue, which combines real ale, live music and comedy, has already been rolled out in Wakefield and Leeds. One of the shareholders in The Hop is Michael Heaton, drummer with the West Yorkshire band Embrace, who acts as a music consultant.

The West One plaza is home to numerous bars and restaurants but council officers say the latest venture “could well have a harmful impact” on neighbours, especially when live music is being played and at closing time.

“The premises were not designed to host live music events and the applicant has not included enough information to show that noise and vibration transmission through the building to residents above can be satisfactorily addressed,” says a report to councillors.

The adjoining East One noodle bar is also “likely to be affected”.

The brewery says it will provide information on addressing the issues “as a matter of urgency”, in time for a council meeting on Monday.

“Whilst this is not an entirely satisfactory approach, it has been agreed on this occasion due to the timescales for fit-out that the proposed occupier is anxious to achieve,” adds the officers’ report.

Ossett Brewery has the support of the West One residents’ committee, which says the unit, which has been empty for four years, has become an eyesore, and it believes the issue of soundproofing is being addressed.

The committee says: “In this economic climate, it is unthinkable that those responsible would not approve a venture that will bring vibrancy to the complex, more jobs, more money and furthermore will have a positive effect on other commercial units within West One who badly need help in raising footfall in order to survive.”

Eight other letters of support have been received, and two from objectors, who say pubs and bars create much more noise than restaurants, pointing out: “This is a residential area”.

The council granted permission for a Tamla Motown-themed restaurant to replace the former supermarket last year but the project failed to materialise.

Last month it approved an application for a restaurant in the former Prego interior design shop.

The authority initially set a limit of 30% of units in the West One plaza being used for food and drink, but it has now exceeded 70% after the developers failed to attract shops and other occupiers, saying the complex is too far off the beaten track for passing trade.