New use for old Polish club

Sheffield's former Polish Ex-servicemen's Social Club is being put up for sale by Knight Frank.
Sheffield's former Polish Ex-servicemen's Social Club is being put up for sale by Knight Frank.

A former social centre for Poles who settled in Sheffield after the war could be turned into a private members’ club.

Plans have been drawn up for a venture called Java Joe in the old Polish Ex-Servicemen’s Club in Dover Road, off Ecclesall Road, near Hunters Bar.

The premises have been empty since they closed five years ago after the club ran into financial difficulties.

“The building remains in a good state of repair and there is now an opportunity to bring it back into viable use,” says a submission to the council by Sheffield-based planning consultants DLP on behalf of the applicants.

“The application seeks the lawful use of this site and premises for a private members’ club with licensed bar, restaurant and self-contained manager’s accommodation.”

Residents in the Ecclesall Road area keep a close watch on schemes for clubs, bars, cafes and restaurants, concerned about saturation and potential problems with traffic, late night noise and other disturbance.

In this case, the applicants say they are continuing a use, not creating a new one, and they are looking to continue similar licensing hours, serving alcohol up to midnight and offering live and recorded music up to 12.30am.

The proposed club would only be open to members and their guests and, “as such the use will continue as it has done since 1953”, the council is being told.

Rooms will be available for hire for private functions.

The building is next to the Polish Catholic Centre’s Millennium Hall, facing Ecclesall Road, which is a separately run venture.

The ex-servicemen’s club was run by the Polish Ex-Combatants’ Association, the SPK. Despite the loss of some of the older members, there were about 200 Poles and non-Poles on its books when it closed. An influx of younger Poles into Sheffield failed to revive its commercial fortunes, and its committee decided to sell up.