Sheffield's 'most haunted' pub could become a 'quirky' bar or café

Sean Fogg outside Carbrook Hall in Attercliffe
Sean Fogg outside Carbrook Hall in Attercliffe
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The new owner of one of Sheffield's most historic and reputedly most haunted pubs says it could become a 'quirky' café or bar.

Carbrook Hall in Attercliffe closed last month as it was sold by Punch Taverns to West Street Leisure.

A plaque on the wall of Carbrook Hall

A plaque on the wall of Carbrook Hall

The Grade II*-listed building, which was used as a meeting place by the Roundheads during the Civil War, is now being advertised to lease.

Campaigners fighting to preserve the building as a pub have applied to get it listed as an asset of community value (ACV) by Sheffield Council, amid fears it could become a supermarket or housing.

But West Street Leisure, which also owns the buildings occupied by Bar & Beyond, in West Street, and The Clubhouse, in London Road, insists that will not happen.

Sean Fogg, the firm's director, says the changing nature of the area means the premises are no longer sustainable as a traditional watering hole.

Carbrook Hall is reputed to be one of Sheffield's most haunted buildings

Carbrook Hall is reputed to be one of Sheffield's most haunted buildings

But he believes the unique property opposite Meadowhall Retail Park could be the perfect spot for someone looking to launch a 'quirky' café or bar.

"Punch Taverns disposed of it because it wasn't working as a pub. The surrounding area has changed and it doesn't fit into that market any more," he said.

"It's one of the oldest buildings in Sheffield, where Dick Turpin stayed, and one of the most haunted so you couldn't get better advertising than that, but it still wasn't getting the foot traffic as a pub.

"However, with the historical value and content of the building, which we're looking to retain, a quirky café or bar would work well there. If someone comes along with the right vision, it has massive potential."

Wooden panelling in the Oak Room at Carbrook Hall

Wooden panelling in the Oak Room at Carbrook Hall

Mr Fogg added that the building was in a 'fantastic' location, being close to the arena and shops, but most people drove through the area so whoever takes it on could not expect to balance the books through alcohol sales alone.

He said he wanted Carbrook Hall to remain open to the public and housing or a supermarket were off the cards.

He claimed he was keen to work with the new occupier - whoever that may be - to help make the building a success, as he had done with the tenants at The Clubhouse after WSL bought that venue in 2013.

"The tenants there came along, spent a bit of money turning it into a great venue which was the first pub in the city with unisex toilets, and they've made a roaring success of it," he said.

The Clubhouse, in London Road, which is owned by West Street Leisure (Google)

The Clubhouse, in London Road, which is owned by West Street Leisure (Google)

Mr Fogg added that Carbrook Hall required investment as it had been allowed to become run-down since it was generating too little money as a pub.

He said WSL had secured the site and would continue to maintain the building until a leaseholder had been found.

Brian Holmshaw, of Sheaf Valley Heritage, has lodged an application with Sheffield Council to register Carbrook Hall as a community asset.

If successful, that would mean the building cannot be knocked down or converted without planning permission, and if it goes up for sale the community is given six months in which to put together a bid.

Mr Holmshaw said the pub was an valuable piece of local history and also played an important role in the community.

He claimed it had suffered from a recent lack of investment but could be revived by a local brewer.

Dave Pickersgill, of the Sheffield branch of the real ale lobbying group CAMRA, which supported the ACV application, said: "Carbrook Hall is one of very few Grade II* listed buildings in Sheffield. As such, it is rated among the top 8 per cent of listed buildings in the UK. It is also one of only 20 Sheffield pubs to be listed on the CAMRA inventory of pub interiors.

"It has been a pub for almost 200 years, but has been allowed to become run-down. We expect the new owners to work with the heritage aspects of the building to create a vibrant and welcoming business. This could be a traditional pub, it could be a quirky bar: either way, quality beer would be a key part of such an offering.

"We wish them luck in this new undertaking."

A building has stood on the site since the 12th century and was used as a Roundhead meeting place during the siege of Sheffield Castle. The Oak Room, believed to date back to around 1620, features intricately carved wooden wall panelling and an ornate ceiling.

The pub regularly features on lists of South Yorkshire's most haunted buildings, with reports of drinks mysteriously going flying and ghostly faces appearing in mirrors.

Carbrook Hall is advertised to let through Newbould Commercial at £30,000 a year. The sales brochure describes the premises as a historic house 'steeped in history'.

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