John Lewis to pay compensation after closure of Sheffield store 'this summer'
Compensation paid by John Lewis after the closure of their Sheffield store is set to be agreed this summer.
As reported in last week’s Telegraph, the former Cole Brothers will not reopen, and is now owned by Sheffield Council who said the building was now in the city’s hands.
John Lewis and the council are now in discussions about the building including handing its liabilities over and compensation fees to the council due to an early termination of the lease.
The council said any compensation settlement money will be put towards the future of the site. The council spent £3.4 million buying John Lewis out of its lease and renting the building back on a much-reduced rate based on turnover as part of its attempts to keep the retailer in Sheffield.
Coun Terry Fox, leader of Sheffield Council, said: “Discussions with John Lewis Partnerships are ongoing but let me make it clear - we will be making sure a great deal is done so we can move forward with this building as soon as possible.
"Negotiations are underway in securing compensation from JLP which includes many factors such as the state of the building that is being handed back to us, and we expect compensation to be agreed over the summer period.”
Asbestos surveys, and potential removal must be completed before any works are carried out. It means deciding the future of the building is likely to take months.
The council says it will look to devise a plan of re-use for the JLP building by the end of 2021.
By October this year, the plan is to have a public engagement and consultation process that will then lead to options being put forward at the end of 2021.
Coun Fox added: “What I am clear on is that we absolutely do not want the building to be sat vacant for a long period of time, I’m focussed on attracting people back into the city centre and working with citizens is vital.
“We know that local people will be keen for plans for the building and site to be confirmed quickly but it is important that we get this right and get the right outcome for the people of Sheffield. We’ll shortly be providing opportunities for local people to feed in their ideas.”
“Money grabbing b*******” – read what one angry shopper thought of John Lewis closing for good here
The council also revealed today that it put out a tender to bring in extra capacity to give the site ‘the attention it deserves and make sure all opportunities are explored in defining a vision for the site's regeneration.’
Placemaking specialists, Fourth Street, were successful in their bid.
Coun Fox added: “In moving forward, I’m really pleased that we are now working with Fourth Street to make sure the future of the site at the heart of our city is bright, respecting the significant history it holds, with user experience and public consultation at the heart of this process.”