Chapel Walk scaffolding FINALLY comes down – but people aren’t happy with the results

Controversial scaffolding which has blighted Sheffield city centre for years has finally come down.

By Robert Cumber
Tuesday, 17th November 2020, 8:03 am

But the results of the work on Chapel Walk and Fargate, which took more than three years to complete and was blamed by angry shopkeepers for a drop in trade, have left many observers underwhelmed.

While people are glad to see the back of the ‘eyesore’ scaffolding which first appeared in 2017, some are less than impressed by the facade of the new block of 78 student flats above Paperchase on Fargate which its removal has revealed.

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The new apartment block in Sheffield city centre has been revealed after scaffolding was finally removed from Chapel Walk and Fargate (photo: Adam Murray)

Critics have branded the building ‘soulless’ and compared it to a ‘site cabin’, with one commenting that it ‘looks like Alexanderplatz in East Berlin not a flagship site in Sheffield city centre’.

Reacting to a photo on Twitter, one user wrote: “At least the scaffolding, which I hated, had some character to it. Let Chapel Walk go back to its 60s look.”

Another said: “It looks like a site cabin. I can't quite believe it's been allowed or that it took so long.”

And a third commented: “That building is so underwhelming.”

Chapel Walk in Sheffield city centre with the scaffolding gone

Others, however, focused on the positives.

One person wrote: “Hopefully the start of better things for Chapel Walk and Fargate.”

And another commented: “Love to see Chapel Walk attract more independents. I doubt many major retail brands will show much interest in the type of units available on Chapel Walk, which I think long term could be a good thing. Vintage clothing/furniture stores or maybe cafes/micro bars/restaurants.”

The scaffolding on Chapel Walk itself came down a few months ago and that on Fargate was removed last week, finally bringing to an end what has been a sorry saga.

headoffice3, the principal contractor, took over the project after it ran into problems.

Its chief executive, Glen Harding, said: “We’ve worked very closely with the tenants on Chapel Walk and Fargate, and it’s brilliant to see they’re happy again now the scaffolding’s down. This is good for us, good for them and good for the city of Sheffield.

"We stepped in and helped get the work done, taking a hit ourselves. Otherwise that building would have been repossessed by the banks and bought for a pittance, and there would have been years more wrangling with the council.”

Mr Harding admitted that the cladding was ‘a bit uninspiring’ but said it had been approved before his firm became involved and the last thing anyone wanted to do given how long the scheme had already taken was to begin a new planning process.

“We need a new tenant in H.Samuel in the next year and if we can get an inspiring frontage on that it could be really good for the city centre,” he added.

Businesses on Chapel Walk had reported a big downturn in trade while the scaffolding was up. They said there had been more break-ins, drug use and other anti-social behaviour on the historic shoping parade during that time, while the scaffolding blocked shoppers’ views of the narrow street from Fargate.