Sheffield Council take enforcement action on Chapel Walk scaffolding

Sheffield Council has taken enforcement action on developers for failing to remove scaffolding on Chapel Walk, which has been blighting the shopping arcade for almost two years.

By Molly Williams
Friday, 09 August, 2019, 14:29
Scaffolding on Chapel Walk in Sheffield city centre. Picture Scott Merrylees

Head Office 3 now have until September 4 to remove the scaffolding before the council will take it down themselves and force developers to pay costs.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment, said: “I know how challenging this prolonged period of work has been for retailers and we share their frustrations over the lack of progress developers have made.

“We served notice on the developer for the scaffold and compound to be dismantled and removed, because they have not progressed the work or met our request to prove that it will be completed as planned.”

Councillor Mazher Iqbal – cabinet member for business and investment.

The scaffolding has blighted businesses on the popular street since September 2017, which some say has resulted in a huge loss in trade.

Carl Dunne, owner of Cards and Gifts on Chapel Walk, said he was ‘over the moon’ at the news.

He said: “I’m over the moon. It looks like we might get a good Christmas trade for the first time in three years.

“I’m still far from happy with the council, we’ve had to fight and fight and my stress levels have been really high. I don’t think the council has done everything they could have.

Carl Dunne.

“It’s been hell but hoping now we can start climbing the ladder, it’s looking more positive.”

The scaffolding was put up for a £4.6 million scheme to build apartments but has progressed at snail’s pace.

Head Office 3 were last week given a 35-day notice to remove it.

Coun Iqbal added: “We have allowed time for plans to make the building safe and work within restrictions due to access arrangements and public safety.

“We will update retailers and partners with full details once removal plans have been confirmed.”

The entrance from Fargate is covered in scaffolding and boards, leaving the walkway in darkness but for a run of fairy lights, which have been up since Christmas 2017.

Although the scaffolding will have to be removed within the next month, it will eventually have to go back up while the development is completed.

But Mr Dunne said he had been told a condition put in place meaning it cannot go up for longer than a month at a time.

Speaking earlier this year, Fargate Evolve Developments Limited apologised to traders and shoppers for the disruption caused by the scaffolding, blaming the delay in building work on ‘asbestos and other costs’.

Mark Mitchell, the managing director of Fargate Evolve Developments Limited, said: “Fargate Evolve Developments Limited would like to sincerely apologise for the disruption that the development on Chapel Walk has caused.

“Delays caused by asbestos and other costs beyond our control has necessitated a financial restructuring of the project which we are trying to complete in the very near future.

“Our current plan is to get the scaffold down early in the new year with a push to get the Chapel Walk scaffold down as soon as possible once the building has been made fully watertight.”

Coun Iqbal said: “At some point, the scaffold will need to go back up to allow the works to be completed as originally planned and we will make sure those affected are kept informed throughout.”